Many factors can contribute to hearing loss. Most factors can be placed in one of the two following categories:
- Acquired. Acquired causes of hearing loss are those that occur after birth at any time during a person’s life, usually due to a disease, condition or injury.
- Congenital. Congenital causes of hearing loss are those that are present at birth. Congenital causes may include genetics, intrauterine infections, anoxia and conditions passed on from the mother during pregnancy.
Family history-related hearing loss falls under congenital causes. To better understand the connection between family history and hearing loss, let’s examine both genetic and overall health as contributors to hearing loss.
Hearing Loss Passed On Through Genes
Genetic factors are thought to cause more than 50% of all congenital hearing loss in children. Genetic causes are categorized into one of the following groups:
- Autosomal recessive hearing loss. Occurs when both parents carry the recessive gene for hearing loss but have normal hearing themselves. With autosomal recessive hearing loss, the child has a 25% chance of having hearing loss.
- Autosomal dominant hearing loss. Occurs when one parent carries the dominant gene for hearing loss and typically has hearing loss themselves. In this case, there is a 50% chance that the child will have hearing loss. If more than one parent has the dominant gene for hearing loss, there is a higher chance that the child will have it.
- X-linked hearing loss. Occurs when the mother carries the recessive gene for hearing loss on the sex chromosome. In this case, hearing loss can only be passed on to male children.
In addition to the previously listed genetic causes, genetic syndromes, which include hearing loss as one of the characteristics, may increase the chance of family history-related hearing loss. Some of these syndromes include but are not limited to:
- Down syndrome
- Usher syndrome
- Treacher Collins syndrome
- Crouzon syndrome
- Alport syndrome
Testing during pregnancy may be available to determine the likelihood that your child will have hearing loss. If you have established a possibility, consider contacting an audiologist or hearing specialist to discuss ways you can prepare.
Family History Health Contributors
Certain overall health factors can be passed on through family members. For instance, if your family has a history of high blood pressure, you may as well.
High blood pressure can be responsible for speeding up the degeneration of the hearing apparatus, leading to hearing loss. Because genes and common environmental factors shared by family members may play a role in high blood pressure, managing your blood pressure through exercise and diet is crucial. Try adding extra fruits and vegetables or a walk through Piedmont Park to lower your blood pressure.
High blood pressure and other poor health contributors should be monitored and prevented through a healthy lifestyle and regular doctor’s visits.
Contact Advanced Hearing today to discuss hearing loss management with one of our trusted audiologists.