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Child infection link to hearing

Monday October 20th, 2014

People who suffered common infections in childhood face an increased risk of hearing loss later in life, British researchers say today.

The study in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK, links tonsillitis, ear infection, bronchitis and severe respiratory infections to hearing loss.

Researchers say the findings highlight the benefits of treating and preventing childhood infections.

The findings come from a study of 1,142 people born in 1947.

They are reported in the journal Ear and Hearing.

Researcher Dr Mark Pearce, of Newcastle University, said: "Our findings show that those who suffered from infections as a child were more likely to have a hearing loss in their 60’s. Reducing childhood infection rates may help prevent hearing loss later in life."

Dr Ralph Holme, from Action on Hearing Loss, said: "Hearing loss affects as many as one in six people across the UK and is often seen as just another sign of getting old, however the study shows that this is not necessarily the case; illnesses in childhood could have long-lasting consequences for hearing in later life.

"These findings remind us that it’s never too early to think about protecting your hearing."

The Effect of Childhood Infection on Hearing Function at Age 61 to 63 Years in the Newcastle Thousand Families Study. Ear and Hearing 20 October 2014; doi: 10.1097/AUD.0000000000000094 [abstract]

Tags: Child Health | Flu & Viruses | Hearing | Respiratory

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