Are hearing problems hereditary? Many forms of hearing loss are genetic. They are hereditary and caused by gene mutations.
Gene mutations can cause hearing loss in several ways.
Genetic factors also make some people more susceptible to hearing loss than others. Their genes make them more predisposed to hearing loss due to ageing or induced by noise, drugs or infections. It is estimated that the causes of age-related hearing loss are 35-55% genetic.
Examples of hereditary hearing loss causing hearing impairment include Otosclerosis, Usher's syndrome and Pendred syndrome. You can find more specific information about different syndromes under "syndromes of hearing loss".
Inner ear sensory hair cells play a vital role in our hearing, and mutations in these cells can prevent them from functioning properly, resulting in hearing loss.
Finally, gene mutations may cause several non-hearing related, hereditary conditions combined with a deformation of the inner ear, resulting in deafness at birth or later in life.
Scientists around the world are working to map out the genetic mutations associated with hearing loss and are frequently making new discoveries. Other scientists are experimenting with gene therapies which may become important treatments of hereditary and genetic hearing loss in the future, perhaps in combination with stem cell therapy.
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