Genetics & Hearing Loss: What You Should Know

There are many possible factors that can contribute to hearing loss, including both genetic and environmental ones. Genes carry instructions for our cells, telling them how to grow and how to function. Many genes work together to help us hear, but they don’t always do so in an expected manner. When this happens, it is called a genetic mutation.

How Common Is Genetic Hearing Loss? 

The CDC reports that approximately 50-60% of babies born with hearing loss are due to genetic causes. Of these, roughly 30% are syndromic, meaning they have other accompanying symptoms, while 70% are non-syndromic, meaning there are no other associated symptoms.

Non-Syndromic Hearing Loss

Non-syndromic cases of hearing loss are categorized based on how they are inherited.

  • Autosomal dominant means a mutated gene is inherited from one parent who may or may not have hearing loss. There are more than 30 genes that have been linked to autosomal dominant hearing loss.
  • Autosomal recessive means the hearing loss is caused by an inherited mutated gene from each parent, likely neither of whom have hearing loss themselves. This is the most common cause of non-syndromic hearing loss, and there are 60 known genes that can cause it.
  • X-linked hearing loss means a mutated gene on the X chromosome is passed from the mother to her son. Four X chromosome genes have been linked to this type.
  • Mitochondrial hearing loss is caused by DNA mutations. Very few mutations that cause mitochondrial hearing loss have been identified.

Syndromic Hearing Loss

There are more than 400 genetic syndromes that list hearing loss as a possible symptom. Causes may be autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive, X-linked or mitochondrial. A couple syndromes commonly linked to hearing loss include:

  • Usher syndrome, the most common syndrome caused by autosomal recessive gene mutations, is associated with hearing loss and vision loss. There are three subtypes of Usher syndrome, each associated with different types of hearing problems.
  • Wardenburg syndrome, the most common type of autosomal dominant syndromic hearing loss, can cause sensorineural hearing loss in one or both ears, variations in pigment, fused eyebrows, widely spaced eyes, high nasal bridge and under-developed nose tip.

Consult with the Hearing Experts at Kenwood Hearing Center

If you or a loved one would like to get your hearing checked, we would be happy to help. Please contact us via our website in order to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced hearing care professionals.

Speak with a Specialist

Ready to start your journey to better hearing? Let our hearing care professionals find the right solution for you.

Schedule an Appointment

© 2024 Kenwood Hearing Center . All right reserved. | Privacy Policy

The purpose of this hearing assessment and/or demonstration is for hearing wellness to determine if the client(s) may benefit from using hearing aids. Products demonstrated may differ from products sold. Test conclusion may not be a medical diagnosis. The use of any hearing aid may not fully restore normal hearing and does not prevent future hearing loss. Testing is to evaluate your hearing wellness, which may include selling and fitting hearing aids. Hearing instruments may not meet the needs of all hearing-impaired individuals. One offer per customer. Insurance benefit, including Managed Care or federal reimbursements, cannot be combined with any of our promotional offers, coupons or discounts. Other terms may apply. See office for details.