Hearing loss, like most physiological conditions, has both genetic and environmental factors. Researchers don’t fully understand the connection between genes and hearing loss, but studies show that hearing loss can, in some cases, be hereditary.
Non-syndromic Hearing Loss
Non-syndromic hearing loss is classified as hearing loss that is not associated with any other syndrome; rather, it presents all on its own. Non-syndromic cases of hearing loss can be traced back to specific gene mutations. Non-syndromic hearing loss is more difficult to identify in babies since there are no other symptoms present that could indicate a problem. Geneticists hope to someday have the ability to formulate medications that neutralize those genes and slow changes in the inner ear associated with non-syndromic hearing loss. About 70 percent of cases of hearing loss are said to be non-syndromic.
Syndromic Hearing Loss
Syndromic hearing loss is hearing loss that is a side effect of another condition, such as Treacher-Collins syndrome, Usher syndrome, DiGeorge syndrome, Pendred syndrome or otosclerosis. These syndromes are genetic and inheritable, meaning that the associated hearing loss can also be inherited. Around 30 percent of hearing losses are syndromic.
Researchers agree that while hereditary factors can play a significant role in both syndromic and non-syndromic hearing loss, not all cases of hearing loss can be blamed on genetics.
Are You or Your Offspring at Risk for Inherited Hearing Loss?
Unfortunately, hereditary hearing loss can be difficult to test for before symptoms arise. However, there are some clues that could help you identify whether inherited hearing loss is possible for you or your children:
- If you have relatives with hearing loss that doesn’t have an obvious environmental cause, you or your children may be at risk.
- Learn about what syndromes are associated with hearing loss. Even if there is no one in your family with hearing loss, if any of your relatives have a syndrome that is associated with hearing loss, you or your other relatives may also have the condition.
The Good News
While it can be scary to be faced with the possibility of experiencing hearing loss, there is a lot of technology available to treat mild to profound hearing loss. To learn more about hearing loss and treatment options, contact an audiologist at Hearing Center of Lake Charles today!