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Is hearing loss genetic? Yes. Hearing loss can have a genetic cause. If you look at the numbers, genetic factors are actually the main category of hearing losses. Furthermore, developmental experts consider genetic hearing loss to be the most common birth defect in developed countries.

Genetics 101. Our is DNA composed of genes, which behave like tiny pieces of code that, when set in a certain combination, cause all of us to look and function the way we do. Hearing is a complex body function that is known to involve no less than 100 distinct genes. Hearing loss can result from any one of these genes being absent or modified. Parent genes are passed to children, so any irregular gene sequences which produce hearing loss are passed down.

Various varieties of genetic hearing loss. Hereditary hearing losses can originate from flaws in the outer ear, inner ear or both areas. Conductive, sensorineural or mixed hearing loss may result. The hearing loss does not necessarily begin at birth. It could have a later onset after a child has learned to talk (postlingual hearing loss). Usher syndrome affects more than half of the deaf-blind population, making it one of the most widespread causes of hearing loss. Another prevalent hereditary condition is Waardenburg syndrome, a disorder in which hearing loss occurs in the inner ear but outer effects such as light skin, light eyes and a white streak of hair may be also be observed.

Is there any good news? While it is true that parents with hearing loss genes may pass them on to their children, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the children will have a hearing problem. Most genes linked to hearing loss are recessive, which means that even though an individual has an irregular gene, that gene will not always result in problem so long as a normal copy is received from the other parent. It’s not unusual for the children of hearing impaired parents to have normal hearing. Since there are hundreds of genes involved in hearing, it is more likely than not that the parental hearing losses don’t share the same cause. People concerned with genetic hearing loss can see a doctor for genetic testing that can help determine risks.

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