About one-fifth of children who have a particular type of hearing loss also have visual disorders, according to a recent study. An estimated one to three children per 1,000 has some degree of sensorineural hearing loss, which occurs as a result of abnormalities in the inner ear or in the auditory center of the brain. Half of all cases in children result from environmental causes and half from genetic causes; one gene accounts for a large proportion of sensorineural hearing loss cases in Caucasian patients. Because children with hearing loss rely heavily on their other senses, undiscovered visual problems could have further harmful effects on their development. Eye examinations for all children with sensorineural hearing loss can lead to early diagnosis and to help minimize visual problems.

This article reprinted with permission from the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeSmart™ campaign (www.geteyesmart.org).

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