Oct 20, 2014
By Helen Rae
Newcastle University research shows common childhood infections may lead to hearing loss later in life
Common childhood infections may lead to hearing loss in later life, a health study has revealed.
Ailments such as tonsillitis and ear infections can seriously damage a youngster’s hearing as they get older, Newcastle University research shows.
The findings are part of the ongoing 1947 Newcastle Thousand Families Study which monitored 1,142 Newcastle-born babies from 1947 to the present day, measuring their health, growth and development.
Now in their 60s a quarter of the “red spot” babies had their hearing tested and the results have been collated.
Dr Mark Pearce, who led the study at the Institute of Health and Society at 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.
“This study shows the importance of the Newcastle birth cohorts, with the study initially focusing on childhood infections. The study is nearly 70 years old and continues to make a major contribution to understanding health conditions, which is only possible through the continued contribution of cohort members.”
The children, born in May and June 1947, are known as red spot babies because of the way doctors marked their medical files. They have provided invaluable information for studies over the years.