Understanding Genetic Hearing Loss


While some forms of hearing loss occur later in life, such as age-related hearing loss or noise-induced hearing loss, others can onset when we are young. More often than not, hearing loss that occurs at a young age is a form of genetic hearing loss. 

Let's take a moment to understand how genetic hearing loss can be inherited, diagnosed, and treated.

What Types of Hearing Loss Can Be Genetically Inherited?

Essentially, all types of hearing loss can be genetic. There are various medical terms which help us to understand the causes of different hearing losses. These can include sensorineural and conductive hearing loss, as well as syndromic or nonsyndromic hearing loss.

Sensorineural hearing loss involves damage to the inner ear, particularly the area called the cochlea, a spiralled tube where sensitive hair cells live. Conductive hearing loss involves damage to the outer ear area. Both forms of hearing loss can be associated with genetics.

How Is Genetic Hearing Loss Diagnosed?

The causes of all types of hearing loss can be very difficult to diagnose. However, an accurate, professional diagnosis is crucial for finding the right treatments. If an accurate diagnosis is found, the sufferer will be significantly more likely to cope with their symptoms and to live a high quality of life.

Genetic forms of hearing loss can often be distinguished from non-genetic (or acquired) causes of hearing loss. Usually, genetic forms are diagnosed via otologic, audiologic, and physical examinations. A doctor may also undertake ancillary testing or molecular genetic testing. In addition to this, the doctor may request the sufferer's family history. 

How Is Genetically Inherited Hearing Loss Treated?

Once specialists have identified the specific type of hearing loss and its causes, they will be able to identify the specific type of treatments and coping strategies that are likely to be most effective. As there can be a variety of causes and symptoms for genetic hearing loss, there is no single treatment that will be effective for all cases.

The good news is that, for most hearing loss types, hearing devices can help. For example, long-term treatments, such as cochlear implantation, can sometimes be considered for children over 12 months old, who are experiencing and diagnosed with severe-to-profound hearing loss. Vibrotactile devices can also help some people to cope with symptoms. 

For most people with hearing loss, however, hearing aids can make a significant difference. Hearing aids can be an especially great choice for those who do not want to undergo interruptive and severe treatment, or spend a surplus of money.  

Since 1996, Advanced Affordable Hearing has been sending reasonably priced hearing aids to the doors of customers like you. To get started, simply visit our Online Hearing Check, or call us at 1 (800) 804-0434, to get a general sense of your level of hearing loss. Pretty soon, you'll have your brand new hearing aids in hand!

If you have any further questions, contact us now.  

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