Hereditary / Genetic Hearing Loss Explained

Hearing loss is usually associated with ageing or we focus a lot on noise-induced hearing loss; however, hearing loss can also be something you are just born with. Both hearing loss and deafness can be passed down genetically, that is what hereditary hearing loss is. Hereditary hearing loss is also be referred to as congenital hearing loss or genetic hearing loss. There are some genetic factors that can put some people at risk for hearing loss. This doesn’t always mean that they are born hard of hearing or deaf but in some cases will be more susceptible to noise-induced hearing loss or losing their hearing as they age.

How Common is Hereditary Hearing Loss?

Wikipedia details how common hereditary hearing loss is.

  • About 75 – 80% of inherited hearing loss is in recessive genes. This is called non-syndromic hearing impairment.
  • 20 – 25% of inherited hearing loss is from dominant genes. This is called syndromic hearing impairment. It means that the hearing loss is attributed to other clinical abnormalities.
  • Only 1 -2% of inherited hearing loss is inherited by X-linked patterns.
  • Less than 1% is from a mitochondrial inheritance.

Examples of Hereditary Hearing Loss

Hereditary hearing loss can be caused by a genetic mutation. When certain types of genetic mutations occur, they can affect the hair cells of the inner ear which are responsible for hearing. Even though someone could be born with this type of gene mutation, hearing loss may not appear until later in life. Scientists are actively working on gene mapping to help with diagnosis, research, treatment and a cure.

Hereditary hearing loss can also be a side effect of certain conditions including:

  • Otosclerosis
  • Usher’s Syndrome
  • Pendred Syndrome

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If you have any questions about aural rehabilitation or hearing loss, please contact us at Hearing, Balance & Speech to schedule a hearing assessment with one of our experienced hearing care professionals today. We are here for you, to help with all aspects of your hearing health.

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