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Definition of Deafness, congenital

Deafness, congenital: Loss of hearing present at birth.

Congenital deafness contrasts to acquired deafness which occurs after birth.

The distinction between congenital and acquired deafness specifies only the time that the deafness appears. It does not specify whether the cause of the deafness is genetic (inherited).

Congenital deafness may or may not be genetic. For example, it may be associated with a white forelock and be caused by a genetic disease called Waardenburg syndrome. Or congenital deafness may be due to something such as the rubella virus to which the mother was exposed during pregnancy.

Acquired deafness may or may not be genetic. For example, it may be a manifestation of a delayed-onset form of genetic deafness. Or acquired deafness may be due to damage to the ear from noise.


Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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