Clinical investigations from the RACP

Why is my child deaf?

Patricia E Mutton, Hans-Henrik M Dahl, Kerryn Saunders



Definitive causes of sensorineural deafness can now be found in many children. Most cases are due to cochlear dysfunction.

Key Points

  • It is now possible to find the cause of sensorineural deafness in many children.
  • History, examination, family hearing studies and interview enable the exclusion, or establishment, of autosomal dominant and syndromic deafness.
  • High resolution CT scanning, MRI, ECG and laboratory tests (blood and genetic screening) may determine environmental, nonsyndromic autosomal recessive and mitochondrial causes of deafness.
  • A very small group of deaf children will have a nonobvious environmental determinant.