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You May Be Predisposed to Developing NIHL

05/01/2015

“Nothing can compare to protecting the hearing you have and preventing hearing loss in the first place.”

This quote from Rick Friedman, professor of otolaryngology and neurosurgery at Keck School of Medicine of USC appears along with the results of a new genome-wide association study on noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) he authored recently. The study uncovered evidence that some people may be more likely to develop NIHL than others due to a genetic predisposition to the condition. More specifically, Friedman and his team found that the Nox3 gene, which resides primarily in the inner ear, is very likely a marker indicating someone is at greater risk of losing their hearing due to exposure to loud noises (typically defined as 85 decibels or louder).

Why finding a genetic link is important

While further study is needed before official recommendations can be made, knowing that some of us are more susceptible to NIHL due to biology is an important step forward in the understanding and prevention of hearing loss. Once enough research has been amassed to form definitive conclusions, and testing recommendations made, guidelines for better protecting those found to be at risk will likely follow.

Protecting your hearing from noise exposure is a good idea for everyone, regardless of biological predisposition. Here are a few tried-and-true suggestions for avoiding NIHL in common situations:

Concerts

Workplace

Everyday

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