Why are Some People Born Deaf?

Sadly, there are still quite a number of  incidences of babies born deaf or with hearing problems.

A baby can be born deaf for non-genetic and genetic reasons.

Some non-genetic causes are as follows:



When the baby gets caught in difficulties during birth, when the brain loses oxygen it could lead to a condition called Anoxia which causes loss of hearing.


Viral Infections

Herpes, Rubella, Cytomegalovirus, Toxoplasmosis, and Syphilis are some of the infections that can cause hearing loss in babies if their mothers had them during birth.



High levels of bilirubin in the bloodstream caused by a liver that does not function properly, can lead to sensorineural hearing loss if not treated.


Preterm labor

Babies who have low birth weight or born before the pregnancy reaches full term are susceptible to birth injuries that lead to loss of hearing.

Newborns who weigh less than 1500 grams (3 pounds, 5 ounces) at birth have an increased risk of hearing loss


Genetic factors associated with hearing loss on the other side, have this for an explanation:


Autosomal Dominant

This rare condition accounts for 15% of babies with hearing loss. This happens when one parent carries an abnormal gene. Even if the gene from the other parent is normal, the abnormal gene will still cause hearing loss.


Autosomal Recessive

This happens when both parents are carrying the recessive gene and pass it on the baby. Parents are usually not aware that they carry these genes so when the mother gives birth to a deaf baby, everyone will be surprised. 70% of incidences of hearing loss among babies are attributed to this inherited trait.



This is the rarest genetic cause of hearing loss. X-Linked  inheritance happens when an abnormal gene is lying on the X chromosome. Girls have two X chromosomes while boys only have 1 but even so, there are more cases of this among boys than that with girls.


While genetic causes are completely unavoidable, much can be done to avoid child hearing loss by making sure all the non genetic factors will stay as far away from both the mother and the baby since these situations are mostly within human control.


Keeping fit and religiously following doctor’s advice can minimise the incidence of child hearing loss. Being on a constant watch with what is happening to both the mother and the baby is a proactive move that can ensure accidents and birth difficulties have lesser  chances of happening.



If you think you need a hearing aid, make sure to get a hearing aid prescription. For more details of our hearing test & assessment, and hearing aid services, please contact HK Hearing & Speech Centre.




HK Hearing & Speech Centre

Specialist of Hearing test & assessment,

and Hearing Aid Prescription


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HK Hearing & Speech Centre
Rm 02, 5/F.,
Kai Seng Commerical Centre,
4-6 Hankow Road,
(near Kowloon Hotel)
Tel: (852) 3100 0555
Fax: (852) 3100 0556