While the two most common causes of hearing loss are old age and noise exposure, another common cause is viral infections. It can be all too easy to pick up a virus at Downtown Silver Spring Freshfarm, which is why it’s important to practice social distancing and handwashing whenever possible.
Some viruses are linked to congenital hearing loss, which means hearing loss is present at birth, while others cause hearing loss that is acquired later in life. Some viruses fall into both categories. Below we review some of the viruses linked to hearing loss.
Viruses that Cause Congenital Hearing Loss
German measles, also known as Rubella, is an RNA virus that is transmitted through fluids like phlegm or saliva. If a mother contracts Rubella during pregnancy, the child is at risk for obtaining the virus as well. Hearing loss can occur six to 12 months after birth.
Cytomegalovirus is a DNA virus responsible for most non-genetic cases of sensorineural hearing loss in infants. Cytomegalovirus belongs to a group of viruses, TORCHS, that frequently causes hearing loss in children. Hearing loss tends to present after infant hearing screenings, which is why it’s important to stay vigilant.
Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) is not transmittable via human-to-human contact, but rather through contact with rat feces, urine and saliva. Hearing loss in those infected with LCMV is not common, but it is well-documented.
Viruses that Cause Acquired Hearing Loss
West Nile virus is related to both yellow and dengue fever and is transmitted through insects, usually mosquitos. Hearing loss caused by West Nile virus is rare, and most who do contract hearing loss spontaneously recover.
Measles (Rubeola) is an RNA virus that once accounted for 5-10% of all cases of profound hearing loss in the U.S. Vaccinations rendered this virus nearly extinct, though there are outbreaks in places where measles vaccines are not widespread.
Mumps belongs to the same family as measles, and sensorineural hearing loss is one of the many side effects. While in some cases the hearing loss is permanent, it can sometimes be reversed.
For more information about the viral causes of hearing loss or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, call Hearing Center Silver Spring today.