Meningitis is an illness that is started by either a virus or bacteria that causes inflammation of the protective membrane covering the brain and spinal cord.
Meningitis Can Lead To Hearing Loss
Affecting about 1500 people in the United States annually, primarily children and adolescents, meningitis is already considered to be extremely serious because of its potential damage to the brain and spinal cord. And now, new research shows that another outcome of meningitis can be hearing loss.
Children Are More Likely To Be Affected
Recent studies have shown that children who have had meningitis are five times more likely to have a significant hearing impairment. One third of children who contract meningitis will ultimately suffer from epilepsy, learning difficulties or mental health issues. Twenty percent of children will have anxiety or behavioral disorders, and younger children are more likely to have speech or communication problems.
Early Detection Means Better Recovery
More than 3 percent of children with hearing loss in the United States lost their hearing as a result of meningitis, and approximately 10 percent of those who survive meningitis will develop permanent hearing loss. Not all hearing deficiencies caused by meningitis are permanent – they can be temporary. The earlier it is detected and treated, the better the chance at recovery.
Speak To a Pediatric Audiologist
If your child has had meningitis, schedule an appointment with one of our pediatric audiologists today to book a hearing test. Our hearing professionals can help determine if there is any hearing impairment, and will work closely with you to best treat any hearing loss, and keep you hearing well for years to come.