Blame your genes for decline in hearing: Experts

hearing-lossIf you've been wondering what's causing your fall in hearing ability, ask your parents if the had a similar problem too.

In a path-breaking research which may have implications for those suffering from a decline of their cognitive and hearing abilities, Indian and American experts have established the role of a specific gene in triggering such conditions. Experts of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital and University of Louisville School of Medicine stated that the MMP-9 gene plays a major role in causing decline of cognitive and hearing functions and removal of the said gene decreases Hyperhomocysteinemia-induced cognitive and hearing dysfunctions.

Hyperhomocysteinaemia (HHcy) is a medical condition arising due to an abnormally high level of homocysteine in the blood, experts said. 'There is a role of MMP-9 in decline of cognitive and hearing functions. The ablation of MMP-9 decreases Hyperhomocysteinemia-induced cognition and hearing dysfunction. This research was carried out on mice but has large implication for humans,' said Dr Seema Bhargava, lead author of the research and Senior Consultant, Department of Biochemistry, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. (Read: Revealed how the noise around you is making you deaf!)

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MMP-9 gene is a matrix metallopeptidase which helps in wound healing, cell migration, learning, memory and various other functions. Currently, 45 per cent of adults in India between 45-92 years of age suffer from hearing impairment. Deficiency of Vitamin B-12 and folate (another form of vitamin) and high homocysteine levels have also been associated with impaired hearing in women. 'It is important to identify individuals at risk for HHcy (e.G. Elderly people)... To reduce homocysteine levels, adequate vitamin supplements should be given. However, if HHcy is already present, vitamins will take several months to reduce the concentration of homocysteine. 'Our study has advocated the role of MMP-9 inhibitors by pharmaceutical companies as a therapeutic option,' Bhargava said. (Read: How hearing loss can affect your brain)

The research was published in the May edition of Journal of Molecular Biology Reports.

Here are some facts about hearing loss

Chronic ear infections are a leading cause of hearing loss: The global prevalence of chronic otitis media (COM) ranges from 1 to 46% in developed and developing countries. COM leads to hearing loss and can cause life-threatening complications and mortality. The most astonishing thing is that COM is largely preventable. It can be managed effectively through medical and surgical means.

Noise is a major cause of hearing loss, it is also a very easily avoidable: Noise is a cause for concern in both, developed and developing countries. In many countries, excessive noise has become the most compensated occupational hazard. The risk of social noise, such as, music and entertainment devices, is increasing globally among young people.

Hearing loss can be due to the use of ototoxic medications: Some commonly used medications (such as aminoglycosides, anti-malarial drugs) can lead to irreversible hearing loss. Ototoxicity can be prevented through awareness amongst health-care providers and rational use of drugs. Read more about Hearing loss or deafness: 7 facts you ought to know

With inputs from PTI

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