What Causes A Baby to be Born Deaf?

As unfortunate and sad as it is, babies are sometimes born deaf. According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders , about 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears. This article explains different causes of deafness and hearing loss in newborns.


Genetics are responsible for more than half of babies born without the ability to hear. Autosomal Dominant, Autosomal Recessive and X-Linked are three types of generic hearing loss babies can inherit.

Autosomal Dominant hearing loss is when one parent carries an abnormal gene while the gene from the other parent is normal. The one abnormal gene alone can be responsible for hearing loss. While this type may be more rare, it is still responsible for about 15% of babies with hearing loss.

Autosomal Recessive hearing loss is when both parents carry the recessive gene and therefore pass it onto the baby. The parents are not always aware that they carry these genes and can be shocked when they find out their baby is deaf. This inheretance is responsible for 70% of babies with hearing loss.

X-Linked inheritance occurs when the abnormal gene is lying on the X chromosome. Although girls have 2 X chromosomes while boys only have 1, boys are more likely to get the effects of this particular inheritance. This is the most rare form of the 3.

Non-Genetic Factors

Below is a list of some non-genetic factors of a baby being born deaf.

  • Premature birth- Generally children who weigh less than 1500 grams (3 poubds, 5 ounces) at birth have an increased risk of hearing loss.
  • Viral Infections- These are infections that are present in the mother and can include herpes, rubella, cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis, and syphilis.
  • Anoxia- Anoxia is when the loss of oxygen reaches the brain. If there are difficulties during the birth and the babies loss of oxygen reaches the brain, it can lead to hearing loss.
  • Birth Injuries- any number of things.

Additionally, all babies are tested with an APGAR evaluation 1 minute and 5 minutes after brith. APGAR stands for activity, pulse, grimace, appearance and respiration. The higher the scores, the healthier the baby. Lower scores can often be associated or result in a loss of hearing.


Sometimes, there are different types of treatments that can be done in order to aid in babies’ hearing. Things like hearing aids, cochlear implants, bone-anchored hearing aids and other assistive devices can help tremendously.

Babies are Babies, No Matter How Well They Can Hear!

Babies are one of the BIGGEST and most enchanting gifts in this world. Their ability to hear is just one small asset. These babies just deserve a little extra love and attention.

Natalie Aylett attends University of Texas at Arlington where she is studying Public Relations and Advertising. She works at Eosera, Inc. in Fort Worth, Texas.