Can a baby inherit deafness from parents

Genetic hearing loss

Genes are chemical units that are present in all cells in the human body. In the cell, the genes form specific structures, the so-called chromosomes, which make up our DNA and contain our hereditary properties. Every single cell in the human body consists of around 30,000 genes.

Genetic hearing loss can manifest itself in both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.

Ear cells are made up of genes

The ear cells also consist of genes, and some of them are important for hearing and determine, among other things, how sounds are translated into signals that the brain can understand.

Sometimes changes happen in DNA that affect the way the genes work. When these changes, also known as mutations, occur in a gene that contains important information about hearing, it can lead to hearing problems and, in the worst case, deafness.

Genetic mutations can cause hearing loss in a number of ways.

A mutation in the sensory cells of the inner ear, which are very important for human hearing, can cause the hair cells to not function normally. This can result in loss of hearing.

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Examples

Examples of this hereditary form of hearing loss are Pendred syndrome, Usher's syndrome, and otosclerosis.

Genetic abnormalities can cause deformation of the inner ear, which can also affect the sense of hearing irreparably within the first few years of life or become deaf from birth. This is the case with Pendred syndrome, for example.

Genetic factors can also make people more prone to hearing loss by increasing their sensitivity to noise, inflammation and other influences.

Inherited from parents

Both father and mother pass 23 genes on to their child. In every human cell there are two copies of the “blueprint of life”. The risk of inheriting hearing loss, for example, depends on whether a possible mutation in the gene is dominant or recessive. A dominant mutation causes hearing loss when only one of the two copies of the parent's gene is damaged. Recessive mutations only assert themselves if both copies contain the error - i.e. both parents are carriers of the gene mutation.

Different types of hearing loss

It can be very difficult to pinpoint the genetic causes of a particular hearing loss. Many different genes can cause the same type of hearing loss, and the same genes can be responsible for different, different types of hearing loss. Ultimately, two people with the same gene mutation can have completely different hearing abilities.

Have your hearing checked

If you think you may have genetic hearing loss, we recommend that you get a professional hearing test.