Age-related hearing loss linked to a protein-producing gene

Age-related hearing loss starts messing with the volume

Communication is key to the human experience. Laughter. Sadness. Anger. Love.

Sound is the way most of us receive life’s narrative. That is, until age-related hearing loss starts messing with the volume. High-pitched voices get harder to understand; phone calls are more difficult to decipher. The stories become muddled. Frustration grows.

 

There are many reasons why hearing loss and deafness happen. Loud noise, illness, medications such as hormone replacement therapies, all can play a part in a person’s losing the ability to process sounds. Aging, however, remains a leading contender.

“It’s really something that affects every family with older relatives,” says Dolores Madden, Audiologist and Marketing Manager with Hidden Hearing.

It took nine years to complete a University of South Florida formal study, but last month the Universities Global Center for Hearing & Speech Research linked age-related hearing loss to a protein-producing gene in the inner ear. Mutated versions of the gene make the ear unable to translate sounds into nerve impulses interpreted by the brain.

People with a family history of hearing loss now can be tested — and warned — years earlier if that one gene isn’t just right, says the USF study, published in the journal Hearing Research in October.

The research also takes a significant step past what’s already known about how aging changes the inner ear. That includes the understanding that older people should be concerned about damage or death to the tiny hairs inside the ear, which are essential to catching sound waves.

Also, this knowledge might nudge some to take more care with their hearing earlier in life. They might decide to wear headphones while mowing the lawn, or avoid standing too close to speakers at a rock concert. “If you do know, you can take more precautions,” Madden says. ” The earlier someone is diagnosed and treated for hearing loss, the better, for all concerned. Hidden Hearing offer FREE hearing evaluations and it is fast and simple to do.”

If you have any hearing loss issues contact Hidden Hearing online or Freephone 1800 370 000.

 

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