How common are hearing problems?

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How common are hearing problems?

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At birth, moderate to severe hearing impairment occurs in about three per 1000 infants born on time, but in about three per 100 (3%) of infants needing intensive care. High risk factors include: • Birth weight under 1500 grams (3lb 5oz) • Family history of childhood hearing loss • Viral infection present at birth • Any abnormality in the formation of the face or the ear • Very high bilirubin levels necessitating exchange transfusion • Infection of the fluid surrounding the brain, called meningitis • Severe lack of oxygen near the time of birth • Babies needing Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO or partial heart-lung machine) Children can also develop hearing loss after birth, during childhood.

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