Genetics are responsible for many things, such as our height and eye color. Our genes can also play a part in determining our risk for various health conditions, including hearing loss.
Genetics, Hearing Loss and Infancy
Most newborns are tested for hearing loss shortly after their birth during universal hearing aid screenings. While newborn hearing loss can be caused by various factors, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that “50% to 60% of hearing loss in babies is due to genetic causes.”
Causes of Genetic Hearing Loss
The majority of genetic hearing loss is not accompanied by other symptoms and is called non-syndromic. This happens when one or both parents pass on genes that can cause hearing loss. Most non-syndromic genetic hearing loss is caused by recessive genes, meaning it was passed down by both parents.
Other times, genetic hearing loss is associated with certain syndromes. While not an exhaustive list, some syndromes that can affect hearing include:
- Pendred syndrome
- Stickler syndrome
- Alport Syndrome
- Treacher Collins syndrome
- Usher’s syndrome
- Norrie Disease
If A Parent Has Hearing Loss, Will You Have It Too?
Just because you have a parent with hearing loss does not mean you will develop it as well. There are many other factors that can cause hearing loss, such as certain medications or spending a lot of time in a loud environment like a construction site.
However, if you know that you are at a higher risk of hearing loss due to genetic factors, schedule an appointment with a medical provider to assess your risk and see if they think a hearing test is in order.
Knowing The Signs of Hearing Loss
Regardless of the cause of hearing loss, early identification and treatment is always beneficial when it comes to your hearing health. Keep an eye out for any of the following signs:
- Frequently asking others to repeat themselves
- Having trouble understanding conversations in loud environments, like when out to dinner with your spouse at Sages Restaurant
- Needing to turn the volume up on the TV louder than you used to
- Difficulty following phone conversations
- Experiencing a ringing or buzzing in your ear (tinnitus)
If you have experienced any of the above or have had loved ones express concerns about your hearing, schedule an appointment for a hearing test. Treatment options like hearing aids can help make it easier to process speech and other sounds and let you navigate your life with confidence.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Evergreen Speech and Hearing Clinic today.