Sensorineural hearing loss that occurs in children can be due to many conditions. The patient may be born with the hearing loss (congenital) or the hearing loss may occur after birth (acquired). Congenital hearing loss can be due to inner ear malformation, prenatal infections or exposure to toxins or certain medications, and genetic factors.
What is the Evaluation Process?
In many states, including Texas, there is a mandatory hearing screening program in place for all newborn patients, so many children with hearing loss are identified early. Parents of kids who fail their hearing screening should proceed with follow-up appointments to confirm the presence of hearing loss.
Children with possible hearing loss should undergo a full ear nose and throat evaluation in addition to testing such as audiogram or electrical testing such as ABR or OAE. Further studies such as MRI or CT may also be ordered. Kids with possible genetic hearing loss may also undergo genetic testing that is sometimes available.