Have you found yourself wondering if hearing loss is a hereditary condition? Whether you have hearing loss and are planning for a family or are experiencing signs of hearing loss and are simply curious, it’s natural to question if (and how) genetics factor into hearing loss.
Understanding how hearing loss can come about and the causes can help empower those with hearing loss, allowing them to make more informed decisions regarding their treatment plan.
Follow along with El Dorado Hearing to get the answers you’re looking for related to hearing loss and genetics.
Hearing Loss and Genetics
For those considering having children, it’s essential to consider the various health conditions that can be passed on to your offspring through genetics. Hearing loss is one of those health conditions you may be wondering about being passed on through genetics. While not all hearing loss is genetic, hearing loss caused by a mutated gene can be passed on from parent to child.
Hereditary hearing loss results from a mutated gene that a child can inherit.
Of those born with hearing loss, approximately 50% to 60% of those babies inherited a mutated gene from a family member. Hereditary hearing loss can vary from mild to profound. Some children can hear most sounds and only experience difficulty deciphering soft sounds, while others may not hear any sound at all.
When hearing loss is present at birth, about 30% of the cases are syndromic. This means that the baby will also experience health issues, such as balance, vision, or heart problems. The other 70% of cases are considered non-syndromic, meaning that hearing loss is the only health concern for the individual.
Along with hearing loss being passed down through genetics, the gene mutation can be passed down. As a result, a child may not exhibit signs of hearing loss but is a carrier of the mutated gene — meaning their future offspring has a chance of experiencing hearing loss.
A child can also present signs of hearing loss at birth due to bacterial or viral infection during the mother’s pregnancy. These non-genetic causes of hearing loss can sometimes be misdiagnosed as hereditary hearing loss.
One thing to remember is that hereditary hearing loss does not always present at birth. Although late-onset hearing loss is more commonly caused by noise exposure, medications, or health conditions damaging to the auditory system, many studies have found a connection between late-onset hearing loss and genetics.
Signs of Hearing Loss in Children
If you suspect that your child may have hereditary hearing loss, be mindful of these warning signs:
- Delayed speech
- Behavioral changes
- Not responding when talked to or called on
- Increased frustration or withdrawal from socializing
- Red ears
- Tugging at their ears
- Mispronunciation of words
- Inability to decipher words in noisy environments
Hearing loss in children can present itself in a variety of ways which is why you need to keep an eye out for any of these signs.
Have Your Hearing Tested by a Professional
If you think you or a loved one may be experiencing hereditary hearing loss, it’s best to schedule a hearing test immediately. By undergoing a hearing exam with a trained professional, you will be provided with an appropriate treatment plan to prevent further hearing loss and make it easier for you to hear — allowing you to interact more easily with the world around you.
Schedule an appointment with El Dorado Hearing to get your hearing tested if you:
- Have a family history of hearing loss
- Are regularly exposed to loud noises
- Have difficulty engaging in conversations
- Are constantly turning up the volume
If our hearing evaluation concludes that you or a loved one is experiencing hearing loss, our team of skilled audiologists can get you fitted for hearing aids or provide you with another solution to improve or restore your hearing.
If you’re experiencing hearing loss, the skilled audiologists at El Dorado Hearing can perform a diagnostic evaluation and provide the recommended treatment and hearing devices. Contact our experienced team to schedule your hearing evaluation.