Is Hearing Loss Genetic?
The short answer is yes. Although many factors can influence hearing loss, such as the environment, medical issues, trauma, and medications, genetics can also play a vital role, especially to those with congenital hearing loss (hearing loss present at birth).
The CDC reports that about 50% to 60% of hearing loss in babies is due to genetic causes. However, people’s genes can also make them more susceptible to age or noise related hearing loss later in life. It is estimated that 35-55% of age-related hearing loss is caused by genetics. Sometimes an individual’s genes and their environment together can cause hearing loss. For example, some people have mutations in their genes and when introduced to certain medicines can result in hearing loss. Because there are many genes involved in hearing, scientists are continually working to map out the genetic mutations associated with hearing loss and are constantly coming up with new conclusions. Therefore, it is important to always be mindful of your ear health, because you never know if genetics are working against you!
Panels to screen for genetic hearing loss have been developed if you or your healthcare provider suspect hearing loss in you or a family member.