Is your child’s hearing loss genetic?

>>Why is genetics important
for children with hearing loss? Our bodies composed of trillions
of tiny cells and within every one of those cells, we have thousands of genes. Genes act like instruction manuals that tell
our bodies how to grow and develop properly and help determine what makes us unique. Some of our genes tell us how tall we
will be or what color our eyes will be. We also have many genes that tell our bodies
how our ears should grow and function. The human ear is complex and is made up of many
small pieces that work together to help us hear. There are hundreds of genes whose job is to
help these parts of the ear develop and function and when one of those genes isn’t
working properly, hearing loss can occur. There are many reasons that someone can
have hearing loss including being exposed to loud noises over time or
having certain serious illnesses. But we also know that changes
or mutations in genes that affect our ears are often
the cause of hearing loss. Genetic mutations are the cause of hearing
loss about 50% of the time for children who have hearing loss at
birth or early in childhood. Hearing loss can have a genetic cause with or without hearing loss in
a family’s health history. Knowing if there is a genetic cause for a child’s hearing loss is
important for managing a child’s health. Sometimes hearing loss caused by a genetic
mutation can have other associated health complications including vision
loss or heart problems. Identifying some types of
mutations can also help predict if hearing loss will stay
stable or get worse over time. Understanding if there is a genetic reason for hearing loss can help providers make the
best plan for your child now and in the future. And a geneticist can be another helpful
doctor on your child’s healthcare team. Genetic testing can help rule in or rule
out certain genetic conditions related to hearing loss and this knowledge can help in making appropriate referrals
and planning for future care. With this knowledge, a genetics team
can work with your child’s pediatrician and other providers to help make a care
plan that best fits your child’s needs. [ Music ]


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