Hearing Care Specialists - Hopkins, Glencoe, and Watertown, MN

Can hearing loss be written into your family genes? The simple response to this question is ‚ Yes. If you look at the data, genetic factors are actually the main category of hearing losses. In the developed world, hearing loss is considered the most common hereditary birth defect.

DNA, genes and inheritance. Our is DNA made up of genes, which behave like little pieces of code that, when set in a certain combination, cause all of us to look and function the way we do. More than 100 different genes have been found that relate to hearing loss. If any of these genes are modified or missing from the DNA, hearing loss is commonly the result. When a person carrying these irregular gene sequences has a child, the irregular gene or genes can be passed down to the child too.

Genetic hearing loss variations. Hereditary hearing losses can originate from defects in the outer ear, inner ear or both areas. The hearing loss can be conductive, sensorineural or mixed. The hearing loss doesn’t always begin at birth. It could have a later onset after a toddler has learned to speak (postlingual hearing loss). Usher syndrome affects over fifty percent of the deaf-blind population, making it one of the most common causes of hearing loss. Another common genetic condition is Waardenburg syndrome, a disorder in which hearing loss happens in the inner ear but outer effects such as light skin, light eyes and a white flash of hair may be also be seen.

What’s the good news? Just because a parent has hearing loss, doesn’t automatically mean the child will have hearing loss too. Most genes related to hearing loss are recessive, which means that even though an individual has an abnormal gene, that gene won’t always cause a problem so long as a normal copy is inherited from the other parent. Since there are hundreds of different genes involved in hearing loss, even if both parents are hearing impaired, their kids may not be since the parent’s hearing loss can have different root causes. Genetic screening is available for individuals who believe hearing loss is in their family genes.

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