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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

Ask the Audiologist: Can Hearing Loss Be Hereditary?

Can Hearing Loss Be Hereditary?There are many ways hearing loss can occur—from age-related hearing loss to acquired hearing loss due to loud noise exposure. But do genetics play a role in hearing loss?

Well, according to our doctors of audiology, there some cases where hearing loss is a hereditary issue. However, there are many factors involved that can influence if you will deal.

Hearing Loss Can Have A Genetic Component

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 50-60% of hearing loss in infants is triggered by genetics. In the case of hearing loss in infants, health care professionals look to see if the loss is syndromic or non-syndromic.

If an infant has syndromic hearing loss, that means there are other health triggers for their hearing loss. For infants with non-syndromic hearing loss, there are no other health issues, which infers that the hearing loss is tied to a genetic component.

As for adults who develop hearing loss in life, there can still be a genetic component. There are gene mutations—recessive and dominant—that can contribute to hearing loss later in life. So, if you have a family member with hearing loss, it may indicate that you have a risk of hereditary hearing loss.

Hereditary Hearing Loss And Different Types Of Hearing Loss

The type of hearing loss that your family member has can also help predict whether or not you may have hearing loss later in life.

Conductive hearing loss – With this type of hearing loss, the hearing issue generally occurs around the outer or middle ear, preventing sound from reaching the inner ear, which is in good working order. Typically, conductive hearing loss has been linked to genetic hearing loss and can be treated surgically or with medications.

Sensorineural hearing loss – For those with sensorineural hearing loss, the damage has taken place to the inner ear, often to the hair cells that transmit sounds. This kind of hearing loss is generally associated with acquired-hearing loss that doesn’t have a genetic component, though that is not always the case. In most cases, hearing aids are the preferred method of treatment.

Mixed hearing loss – As the name implies, mixed hearing loss means that the individual has both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. For those with mixed hearing loss, genetics and environmental factors are influences on their hearing impairment.

There is generally no way to tell what kind of hearing loss you have without professional help. So, if you are serious about determining what type of hearing loss you have, it will require a diagnostic hearing evaluation with our audiologists.

What To Do If You Have A Family Member With Hearing Loss

If you have a family member with hearing loss—particularly if they are in your immediate family—it is important that you are proactive with your hearing health.

While yearly hearing evaluations generally aren’t recommended for those who are under 55 years old, if you have a family history of hearing loss, you may want to start having annual hearing evaluations by the time you are 40 years old. That way, your hearing loss can be detected as early as possible and treated by our audiologists.

When you are ready to come in for your diagnostic hearing evaluation, please contact us to set up your appointment. We look forward to helping you enjoy better hearing!

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