How are genes involved in a developing hearing loss?
Hearing loss can develop due to a number of reasons. The loss can be caused by age, injury or exposure to loud sounds. However, another common cause is genetics.
What is genetic hearing loss?
Genetic hearing loss can be present at birth (also known as congenital hearing loss) or can be delayed onset, meaning the loss occurs over time but the root cause is still genetic.
Hearing loss caused by genetics can be related to other hereditary conditions. Other conditions that are related to hereditary, congenital hearing loss:
- Usher Syndrome
- Down Syndrome
- Waardenburg Syndrome
Progressive vs. Non-Progressive
Genetic hearing loss can be progressive or non-progressive.
Progressive hearing loss relates to the loss that develops, becoming progressively worse, over time. The level of loss and progression can vary in each ear.
Non-progressive hearing loss is when the degree of hearing remains stable over time.
Congenital vs. Delayed onset
Genetic hearing loss can also impact on an individual in relation to when it started to develop. In many cases, hearing loss caused by genetics will be present at birth. This is also known as congenital hearing loss.
The UK hearing charity, Action on Hearing Loss, estimates that one in every 1,600 children are born with a moderate or profound hearing loss as a result of genetics.
Genetic hearing loss may also be delayed onset, meaning the level of hearing does not deteriorate until later on in life.
Gene Therapy Research
Hearing loss that is caused by genetics is unlike other types of hearing loss, where the hair cells in the ear may get damaged over time. Because of the nature of genetic hearing loss, DNA mutations cause the hearing loss in most cases.
Recent research into gene therapy (conducted by Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School), looked into ways in which hair cells may change because of gene mutation. As a result of the research, a virus that was genetically modified, was developed. The hope for the virus was that it corrected the genetic mutation of the hair cells.
The virus was given to profoundly deaf mice and the results found that the hearing levels of the mice improved significantly.
It was concluded after the study that the mice, although not fully deaf, did not have fully restored hearing. More research into the field is needed before human testing can begin.
What can be done?
If a child is born with hearing loss, whether due to genetics or another cause, they should receive assistance as soon as possible.
It is usually recommended that treatment should begin before a child reaches 6 months old, to ensure hearing loss does not affect their development in cognition and language skills.
There are a number of hearing solutions available for children and will mainly depend on the severity of the loss and the budgetary requirements of the family.
Delayed onset hearing loss can affect older children, teenagers and adults. Many solutions can be available to those who are older.
The use of hearing aids may benefit those who experience any type of hearing loss and can help an individual experience clearer hearing again.
Learn more about hearing loss with our selected partners, Hidden Hearing.
Latest posts by Silversurfer's Editor (see all)
- Should Londoners choose if they want to use Uber? - September 24, 2017
- Four reasons you should book a holiday in October… - September 22, 2017
- Win One of Two Food Boxes from HelloFresh! - September 20, 2017
- Living Positively With Early Onset Dementia - September 17, 2017
- Cunard Summer 2019 itineraries are now ON SALE! - September 15, 2017
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!