Minnesota Hands and Voices



Causes of Hearing Loss


  • Hearing loss can be inherited. A child can either be born with a hearing loss, experience progressive hearing loss during the first few years of life or sometimes in early adulthood.

In-utero complications:

  • Viral infections including: cytomegalovirus, rubella, herpes simplex, syphilis, toxoplasmosis (caused by a protozoan parasite), Erythroblastosis fetalis (caused by Rh incompatibility)
  • Ototoxic drugs:  about 200 drugs have been labeled ototoxic due to their ability to cause toxic reactions to inner ear structures. Aminoglycoside antibiotics such as streptomycin and cancer chemotherapeutic agents such as cisplatin and carboplatin can cause permanent hearing loss. Loop diuretics, salicylates and quinine usually cause temporary hearing loss.
  • Teratogenic drugs such as Accutane can cross the placenta to cause damage to the ear as well as the central nervous system, head and neck. 
  • Anoxia
  • Birth Trauma

Childhood illness/injury:

  • Viral infections such as: measles, mumps, chicken pox, infectious mononucleosis
  • Bacterial infections such as meningitis (Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitis, and Hemophilus influenzae type b  are the most common organisms associated with meningitis.)
  • Neoplastic disorders such as leukemia, histiocytosis X and neuroblastoma
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Head trauma
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