Primary Care Physicians

What are the risk factors for late-onset and early childhood hearing loss?

The Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (JCIH) recommends in the JCIH Position Statement 2007 that infants who have a risk factor for late onset hearing loss should have at least one comprehensive audiologic evaluation by 24- to 30- months of age. Testing should also occur any time there is parent, caregiver or professional concern regarding communication development. 

Here is a list of the JCIH 2007 Risk Indicators Associated with Permanent Early Onset and or Late Progressive Hearing Loss in Childhood:

(* Indicates risk indicators are of greater concern for delayed onset hearing loss): 

  • Parent or caregiver concern* regarding hearing, speech, language or developmental delay.
  • Family history* of permanent childhood hearing loss.
  • Neonatal intensive care of >5 days, which may include extracorporeal membrane oxygenation* (ECMO) assisted ventilation, exposure to ototoxic medications (gentamicin and tobramycin) or loop diuretics (furosemide/lasix), and hyperbilirubinemia requiring exchange transfusion.
  • In-utero infections such as cytomegalovirus*, herpes, rubella, syphilis, and toxoplasmosis.
  • Craniofacial anomalies, including those involving the pinna, ear canal, ear tags, ear pits, and temporal bone anomalies.
  • Physical findings such as white forelock, associated with a syndrome known to include sensorineural or permanent conductive hearing loss.
  • Syndromes associated with hearing loss or progressive or late onset hearing loss* such as neurofibromatosis, osteopetrosis, and Usher syndrome. Other frequently identified syndromes include Waardenburg, Alport, Pendred, and Jervell and Lange-Nielson.
  • Neurodegenerative disorders*, such as Hunter syndrome, or sensory motor neuropathies, such as Friedreich's ataxia and Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome.
  • Culture positive postnatal infections associated with sensorineural hearing loss*, including confirmed bacterial and viral (especially herpes and varicella) meningitis.
  • Head trauma, especially basal skull/temporal bone fracture* requiring hospitalization.
  • Chemotherapy*.
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