A comprehensive study
has identified genes that are associated with age related problems like hearing loss
, osteoarthritis and retinal degeneration
related hearing loss is a common condition that is noticed among senior
citizens. The condition occurs in one third of people in the age group of 65 to
74 years while more than half the people above 75 years suffer from this
‘Screening for genes for age related hearing loss will help identify risk’
Related Hearing Loss
Age related hearing loss
presbycusis. The diminishing ability to hear properly is acknowledged as a part
of growing older and many older adults are faced with difficult and
uncomfortable situations where they haven't been able to hear instructions.
This affects their quality of life and can result in
Inability to hear instructions given by doctors
Inability to hear traffic noises or cars honking
Inability to hear announcements at railway stations or at
Inability to hear the doorbell ring.
The extent of hearing
loss varies from individual to individual but some people suffer from
considerable hearing loss that leaves them unable to hear friends and family
from certain distances. This leads to a feeling of isolation that can slowly
result in feeling of despair and depression.
The loss in hearing
could occur due to
1. Changes in
the inner and middle ear
2. Changes in
the nerve pathways that extend from the ear to the brain.
medical conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes
could lead to partial or complete hearing
medications could affect the quality of hearing.
of Hearing Loss
Most people do not
realize that they suffer from hearing loss as the process is very gradual. The
Hearing Handicap Inventory for Adults by Newman et al aids in identifying
hearing loss in adults by administering a series of questions. Here are a few
of those questions,
Based on the questions
from The Hearing Handicap Inventory for Adults [HHIA]: Psychometric adequacy
and audiometric correlates by Newman, C.W., Weinstein, B.E., Jacobson, G.P.,
& Hug, G.A. (1990). Ear Hear, 11, 430-433
1. Are you
embarrassed about meeting new people as you cannot hear them well?
2. Is there
difficulty in hearing when visiting neighbors, family or even friends?
3. Is there any
difficulty in hearing while watching a movie in theatre?
4. Is there
difficulty in listening to the radio or TV when it is at a good audible level
for the others?
5. Is there
frustration while talking to members of the family as you are unable to hear
There are many questions
in the handbook that help people understand the extent of their hearing loss.
Age related hearing loss can be a
difficult condition to get accustomed to, spiraling age related complications.
Scientists from the Medical Research Council, Harwell, carried out a study to
identify the genes associated with hearing loss.
Associated with Age Related Hearing Loss
Mice with specific
mutation were studied for the development of age related conditions. When mice
with age related hearing loss was detected, the gene that was mutated in the
mice was checked.
The study found that the
gene Slc4a10 was mutated in mice with age related hearing loss. This Slc4a10
gene was already associated with age related eye problems; however, this is the
first study to find an association between this gene and hearing loss.
The study in mice could
pave the way for identifying similar genes in humans that will aid in better
understanding of age related hearing loss in humans.
of the Study
The study finds a
conclusive association between gene mutations and age related hearing loss.
People with these mutations will be at a higher risk of impaired hearing as
their age advances.
"Our study is an
important springboard for a better understanding of which genes in humans are
involved in age-related conditions, and how changes in those genes influence
this. This is a first and vital step in developing new therapies," says
Dr. Paul Potter of MRC Harwell.
There are many age
related conditions that can affect people as they grow older. Screening for
genes associated with age related hearing loss will help in identifying people
who are at risk "As we get older, we have an increased risk of developing
many conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hearing loss and
dementia. The genes that we carry can influence this, but it is hard to know
which do, or how. This study increases our understanding of the genes related
to ageing and ill-health and may ultimately help us to identify new
treatments," says Dr. Lindsay Wilson, from the Genetics and Genomics
department at MRC.
People at risk of
getting age related hearing loss can
Get hearing aids that will
help them hear better
- Reduce the risk for noise related hearing loss. Listening to
very loud music, especially using headphones or inside a car can result in
permanent damage to the ear drums, compounding age related hearing loss.
- Get support from friends and family
- Attach amplifiers to phone speakers to be able to hear
- Age-Related Hearing Loss - (http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2016/06/29/ajcn.116.134403.abstract)
- About Age-related hearing loss - (https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001045.htm)
- Age-related hearing loss - Presbyacusis -