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Is hearing loss hereditary?


Millions of people worldwide live with hearing loss. For many, it’s the result of aging. Others may experience hearing loss after an injury or accident. Even certain ototoxic medications, like large quantities of aspirin or the antibiotic streptomycin, can cause hearing loss.

But can it be hereditary? Yes it can, meaning hearing loss can then be passed on through your children. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, there are basically two ways to look at hereitary hearing loss. Non-syndromic makes up about 70 percent of hereditary cases. Syndromic hearing loss accounts for 15 to 30 percent of hereditary hearing loss. About 400 syndromes can lead to hearing loss.

According to the National Institutes of Health, there are four specific ways in which hearing loss is inherited. The first is autosomal recessive inheritance, in which an affected gene is carried by both parents. Offspring have a 25 percent chance of inheriting the hearing loss. Autosomal dominant inheritance, where the affected gene is passed from one parent, happens 50 percent of the time.

Mitochondrial inheritance deals with disorders inherited from the mother, usually due to issues with the mitochondrial DNA. The inverse is called X-linked inheritance, and involves issues with the X chromosome received from the father.

Some common ailments resulting from these genetic issues include otosclerosis, in which the ear cannot amplify sound, and Pendred syndrome, noted for hearing loss in addition to impaired thyroid gland function.

People with hearing loss may want to undergo genetic screening. This simple test, involving blood work or a swab of your cheek, can identify the 23 essential genes most frequently associated with hearing health issues.

If you are concerned about hearing loss, for yourself or someone important to you, the audiologists and hearing health care professionals at AccuQuest can help. Contact your local AccuQuest Hearing Center to schedule a hearing test and consultation.

Accuquest Hearing Centers

3077 W Jefferson Street

Suite 206

Joliet, IL 60435