Although it is more common for people to acquire hearing loss through age or exposure to loud noises, between one and six of every 1,000 newborn babies are born with congenital (or present-at-birth) hearing loss. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, more than 50% of all congenital cases are caused by genetics. There are thought to be at least three separate genetic causes of congenital hearing loss, including situations in which at least one parent has genetically caused hearing loss. In this situation, the chance of the affected gene being passed to a child is much higher (at least 50%) than in cases where neither parent has hearing loss.
In some cases, both parents may carry a recessive gene for hearing loss, meaning that although neither of them has lost their hearing, they still have the ability to pass that gene on to their children. In this case, there is about a 25% chance of the child being born with hearing loss. Finally, there is also the chance that the mother can pass a hearing loss gene to her child through the X-chromosome, meaning it can only be passed on to male children, who have just one X chromosome (females have two). Hearing loss is also a known characteristic of Down syndrome and other genetic conditions.
However, there are also several causes of congenital hearing loss that are not related to genetics. These generally include infections or toxins in the mother during pregnancy or conditions affecting the baby shortly after birth. For instance, babies who are exposed to German measles or herpes while in the womb can develop congenital hearing loss. It’s very important to talk to your True Dental Discounts hearing care plan doctor about your chances of passing on hearing loss to your child so you can be as educated as possible prior to the birth.