7 Things That Can Damage Your Baby’s Hearing Ability

By Chiomah Momah

Like most of us know, a baby’s hearing develops during gestation. Research has shown that some babies can hear as early as the 20th week in pregnancy! Since a child’s hearing can affect his ability to speak, it is very important that even partial hearing loss is detected and treated straight away. While in some cases children are born with hearing problems (congenital), there are also several other things that can cause or contribute to hearing problems. The goal is to be know these factors and to apply caution.

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1. Premature Birth: A baby that is born very prematurely may not have his hearing capabilities fully developed. This is because the entire hearing system matures as late as the 26th week and as a result, a baby born at that stage can have his hearing easily injured. This is why medical personnel ensure that there is a low level of noise around premises.

2. Genetics: As with many things in life, a lot of things are passed down genetically. Therefore, if there has been a history of childhood hearing problems then it’s important for you to check your babies hearing early.

3. Medication: There are some drugs which are ototoxic (harmful to hearing). If a baby ingests such drugs or a mother uses them during pregnancy they could affect the child’s hearing. Some anti-malarial drugs and antibiotics could be ototoxic. For this reason, caution should be the watchword while administering antibiotics to very young children. Ensure that no medication is administered without consulting a pediatrician.

4. Noise Pollution: Exposure to very loud sound for a prolonged period of time can affect an adult’s hearing so you can imagine what harm that can do to a baby. Ensure baby’s exposure to noise pollution is at a minimum. Due to the damage loud sounds can cause to one’s hearing, people are usually not allowed to live within a certain radius of airports or industries.

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5. Ear infection: Frequently occurring ear infection could adversely affect a babies hearing. Always observe if your baby is always touching or hitting his ear as this could signal an ear infection which should be treated immediately.

6. Illnesses: Some illnesses such as Mumps, Measles and Meningitis can cause deafness. Also, syphilis can be transmitted from a pregnant woman to her unborn child and in one out of three of such cases the babies may eventually become deaf.

7. Dangerous objects: Sharp objects inserted in a baby’s ear can be very dangerous. Even a cotton bud poked into your child’s ear could damage the sensitive eardrum. Always ensure that such objects are out of your baby’s reach.

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