There are a number of causes of hearing loss, including exposure to loud noises like when standing too close to the speaker at The State Room or taking an ototoxic medication that damages the hair cells within the inner ear. One cause of hearing loss that is often overlooked is genetics.
What Are Genes?
Genes are chemical units inside your cells that tell your body how to grow and work. Genes form chromosomes, which make up your unique DNA. Inside every cell in your body is about 30,000 genes.
In addition to determining the color of your eyes and how tall you will grow, your genes can affect your hearing, even determining how your ears work to process sounds and turn sounds into signals your brain can understand.
If something happens and a gene does not form correctly, this is known as a mutation. Some mutations can run in families while others occur randomly.
There are a number of hereditary disorders, those that are passed down from one generation to another through mutated genes, that can cause hearing loss. Some of these include:
- Usher’s Syndrome
- Pendred Syndrome
Mutations in the hair cells within the inner ear can prevent them from functioning correctly, leading to hearing loss.
Pediatric Hearing Loss
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 50-60% of cases of hearing loss in babies are due to genetic causes, while environmental factors account for about 25% of children born with hearing loss. Environmental factors may include an infection during pregnancy or complications after birth. Some children are impacted by both environmental factors and genetics; an example of this would be a child taking a medication that causes hearing loss only in those who have a certain genetic mutation.
Understanding your family history of hearing loss is crucial to protecting your hearing. If your parents or grandparents experienced hearing loss, experts recommend getting your hearing tested every few years. This way, a hearing loss can be identified early, and treatment can begin promptly.
To learn more about hearing loss or to schedule an appointment for a hearing test, contact the experts at Bountiful Hearing Center today.