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Can Birth Injuries Lead to Hearing Loss for Children?

Posted on in Birth Injury

Cook County birth injury attorney hearing loss

Even when everything goes smoothly, childbirth can be a traumatic process for both mothers and infants. Unfortunately, medical issues during pregnancy or complications during labor and delivery can lead to birth injuries, and in some cases, these injuries can have a long-term or permanent impact on a child’s health and well-being. One concern that parents may have is the possibility that their child will suffer hearing loss due to a birth injury. Understanding the potential causes of hearing loss can help parents determine the best way to respond and ensure that their child receives the proper care and treatment.

Causes of Infant Hearing Loss

In the majority of cases, children experience hearing loss because of genetic causes, either due to a mutation of the child’s genes or as part of a syndrome in which the child experiences other symptoms. If either parent has one or more family members who are deaf or who have suffered genetic hearing loss, doctors should closely monitor the child during pregnancy and ensure that parents are prepared to provide the child with the proper care.

Non-genetic hearing loss is often the result of some form of trauma experienced by the child during pregnancy or birth. Issues that can cause hearing loss include:

  • Infections - If a mother contracts an infectious disease such as toxoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus (CMV), or rubella during pregnancy, this can cause problems with the development of her child’s hearing system. Infections such as group B streptococcus (GBS) or herpes may also cause hearing loss after being passed to a child during pregnancy or birth. Some infections may lead to meningitis that causes damage to the child’s nervous system and results in loss of hearing.

  • Asphyxia - If the child’s supply of oxygen is cut off during labor and delivery, they can suffer serious damage to the brain. This can result in sensorineural hearing loss, or “nerve deafness,” due to damage to the inner ear.

  • Head trauma - A child may suffer an injury to the head during delivery, and this may occur if the child is too large to fit safely through the birth canal, in the wrong position for vaginal delivery, or due to the improper use of forceps. Birth trauma can cause central auditory dysfunction that affects the hearing pathway between the inner ear and the brain.

  • Jaundice - A child may experience high levels of bilirubin in the bloodstream if his or her liver is not functioning properly. Hospital staff should recognize the signs of jaundice after the child is delivered and ensure that the child receives the proper treatment. If it is not treated correctly, jaundice can lead to sensorineural hearing loss.

  • Preterm labor - If a child has a low birth weight or is born before the pregnancy reaches full term, they are more likely to suffer injuries during birth that could lead to hearing loss.

Contact Our Chicago Infant Hearing Loss Lawyers

If your child suffers from hearing loss, he or she may need significant care throughout his or her lifetime, including surgeries or implants to restore hearing, as well as occupational therapy and special education. The costs related to this type of injury can be high, so you will want to be sure to understand your options for receiving financial assistance. At the Birth Injury Law Alliance, we will help determine the causes of your child’s hearing loss, including whether negligence by doctors or nurses played a role in the injury. To arrange a free consultation and learn more about how we can assist you in receiving financial help, contact our Cook County birth injury attorneys today by calling 312-945-1300.

 

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/hearingloss/facts.html

http://www.raisingdeafkids.org/hearingloss/causes/

https://www.babyhearing.org/non-genetic-hearing-loss

 

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