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Hearing & Balance Doctors is currently open. We are taking special measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including offering a curbside service for hearing aids. Please call 435-688-8991 for more information. Utah: 435-688-8991 | Nevada: 702-896-0031
Hearing & Balance Doctors is currently open. We are taking special measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including offering a curbside service for hearing aids. Please call 435-688-8991 for more information. Utah: 435-688-8991 | Nevada: 702-896-0031

Gene Therapy Could One Day Prevent Adult-Onset Hearing Loss


Have you ever looked at a child and found that they strongly resembled one of their parents?

Whether the child inherited the mother’s button nose or the dad’s eyes, it’s no surprise that these physical traits can be passed along through genetics. But were you aware that hearing loss can also be passed down to offspring through genetics?

Although it has been known for a while that there is a high heritability behind adult-onset hearing loss, the cause has never been understood — unlike early-onset deafness, which has 118 identified genes that cause it.

Until now, the actual gene that impacts adult-onset hearing loss has remained unknown. Recently, researchers discovered a common inherited genetic variant responsible for adult-onset hearing loss — which might make it possible to prevent or minimize hearing loss through gene therapy!

Adult-Onset Hearing Loss Study Findings

A recent study led by the team at Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen, Holland, used family and cohort studies that featured families with known hearing loss. Researchers found a connection between 39 of the 40 family members with hearing loss — a single genetic variant, RIPOR2, that was discovered through exome sequencing and characterization of the hearing phenotype.

In the study, researchers found that the “RIPOR2 variant is estimated to be present in more than 13,000 individuals who are therefore at risk of developing hearing loss (HL) or have developed HL already due to this variant”.

What Does This Mean for Those with the RIPOR2 Gene?

Because this genetic variant is quite common, many people from families with hearing loss are at risk for this type of adult-onset deafness. However, now that researchers have identified the specific genetic variant, gene therapy can be completed to prevent or minimize adult-onset hearing loss.

While this study’s results provide hope for those who have this specific gene, research needs to be done before successful gene therapies are developed to prevent adult-onset hearing loss. If hearing loss runs in your family, preventative measures like regular hearing evaluations with a hearing and balance doctor should be taken. Without gene therapy, your hearing is likely to worsen. If that happens, a trained audiologist can help you determine the best form of treatment for your specific hearing loss.

Contact Our Team for Hearing Aids

Many types of hearing loss can be treated medically, and nearly all types are treatable with hearing aids — which will help you amplify the world around you. As licensed hearing healthcare professionals, Hearing & Balance Doctors can work with you to determine if it’s time to improve your hearing with hearing aids. Our goal is to help you feel comfortable with your treatment plan and help you receive the many benefits hearing aids can provide. If you’re ready to learn more about your treatment options or get fitted for hearing aids, contact our team to schedule an appointment today.

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