Gene linked to old-age hearing loss

04 November 2012
Posted by Kat Arney.

Researchers at the University of South Florida have tracked down a genetic change linked to old-age hearing loss - something that affects many millions of people around the world every year - publishing their findings in the journal Hearing Research. Thanks to a 9-year-long study of nearly 700 people, the scientists discovered that a certain variationS in a gene called GRM7, short for glutamate receptor metabotropic 7, were linked to a higher risk of hearing loss later in life - the first time a gene has been linked to old-age hearing loss. GRM7 helps to convert the sounds we hear into nerve signals that go to the brain, where they're decoded and interpreted.

The researchers suggest that it might be possible one day to test people for the presence of the risky gene variations, so they could choose to take extra precautions to protect their hearing if they wished.

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