Health issues in our family trees are cause for concern. But, while most of us worry about diseases like cancer or dementia, we overlook the fact that genes and their impacts can stretch into every aspect of our health. For instance, sight-based issues like glaucoma often pass from one generation to the next. Certain kinds of hearing loss can also pass through families.
Luckily, as with most of the conditions lurking in your lineage, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from genetic hearing problems as much as possible. Let’s put your mind at ease by looking at what exactly they are.
Step 1. Understand the problem
As with any genetic risk, understanding the problem you may face and its warning signs is essential. After all, only by knowing what you’re up against can you keep an eye out and properly protect yourself moving forward.
The main thing to note here is that passed down gene mutations can cause hearing loss in various ways. For instance, 35-55% of age-related hearing loss is believed to be gene-based. Equally, much rarer hearing problems like Pendred syndrome (a malformation of inner-ear bones) can also come from carriers.
The (in some ways) good news is that many genetic hearing conditions are spotted at birth. But, if you’re concerned about problems, do your research into your specific risk, and what that means moving forward in terms of symptoms, increasing severity, etc.
Step 2. Prevention is better than cure
Often with genetic issues, getting ahead with prevention is always the best thing you can do. After all, genetics simply means that we’re predisposed to an issue, and that’s something you can overcome with a prevention mindset.
It should go without saying that anyone at risk of genetic hearing disorders needs to visit an audiologist often to keep an eye on things. Equally, taking steps to protect your hearing every day is a must.
It may be that you simply avoid using earphones, or that you seek the best hearing protection to keep loud noises at bay. Either way, doing whatever possible to retain ear health could well see you at least keeping genetics at a distance.
Step 3. Remain positive
It can be increasingly difficult to stay positive in the face of genetic risks. Especially considering that they can often feel so far out of our control.
In reality, though, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy lasting ear health for many years to come. Even if things do slip down the line, the knowledge you acquired in the first step means that you’ll know exactly what to do to avoid worst-case scenarios!
For instance, getting hearing aids is an option that helps many people. Speaking with a specialist about what is best for you and understanding how your family members have coped effectively is important.
Genetics is undeniably frightening. That’s true.
But, when you acknowledge those risks and work with them, there’s no reason that this needs to set you back.
In fact, you could well enjoy hearing health for the rest of your days. That is if you keep the three simple steps above in mind.