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Posted on Monday, March 30, 2015

Virus Causes Hearing Loss in Children

A common global virus, experienced by up to 80% of the population, called Cytomegalovirus (CMV) can cause hearing loss among children. The CMV virus is related to chicken pox and mononucleosis. In addition to hearing loss the virus can cause other serious health problems.

CMV can be passed in the womb to an unborn child or it can be contracted during or immediately after birth. CMV is passed to an unborn child through the placenta and during or after birth through the birth canal or breast milk. Children born with it at birth, compared with those who catch during birth or shortly after, are more likely to develop hearing loss and other serious health problems. Over ten percent of babies born with CMV will develop hearing loss. Unfortunately, this virus does not always present with symptoms, so it's hard to diagnose when a child has it until they begin to experience problems.

According to the Mayo Clinic Online, "Babies with congenital CMV who are sick at birth tend to be very sick. Signs and symptoms include:

Yellow skin and eyes (jaundice)
Purple skin splotches or a rash or both
Small size at birth (or low birth weight)
Enlarged spleen
Enlarged and poorly functioning liver
Pneumonia
Seizures"

A mother can unwittingly passes this virus onto her baby in the womb if she becomes sick with CMV for the first time during pregnancy. If she has had the virus before pregnancy the antibodies will already be present. An expectant mother experiencing signs of CMV should alert her physician. Symptoms of this condition include swollen glands, sore throat, fatigue, diarrhea, and fever.

CMV at birth is not common enough to have sparked universal testing by hospitals--although there is a movement to have this testing done. The hope is that by testing babies and discovering this condition--though it has no cure--measures can be taken to limit its impact. Make sure to talk to your doctor about this virus and testing for it. If your child is born with any signs of hearing loss fit them as soon as possible for a hearing aid to avoid delays in language and speech development.

If you'd like to learn more about how hearing aids can help children with hearing loss, see your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

References

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Infection by Mayo Staff/Disease and Conditions Taken on March 31, 2015 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cmv/basics/definition/con-...

Virus Present at Birth Causes More Than 10 Percent of Hearing Loss Cases. By Steven Reinberg. Taken on March 31, 2015 from: http://www.webmd.com/children/news/20141027/virus-present-at-birth-cause...

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