According to the CDC, noise-induced hearing loss affects 17% of adults in the US. Around 12.5% of teenagers are impacted.
Noise damage can come from unsafe working conditions, bad personal habits or a very loud environment. There are many things you can do to prevent this kind of hearing loss.
However, some of the potential causes are entirely outside of your control. After all, you can inherit a tendency to develop noise-induced hearing loss.
The Role of Genetics
Research shows that there is a gene that impacts your hearing health. It creates a special protein called pejvakin. The scientists observed the way this protein functioned in mice.
All the mice in this study grew up in the same location. Thus, they were all equally exposed to noise damage. But only some of the mice had noise-induced hearing loss.
Thus, it’s clear that some individuals are more sensitive to noise damage than others. When the scientists performed further testing, they found the key difference. Mice without pejvakin were much likelier to have this type of hearing damage.
In short, lacking this protein means that your inner ear cells are more vulnerable to damage.
There is a lot more research to be done about this protein. For now, scientists don’t know how widespread pejvakin problems are among humans. Additionally, there is no cure to this problem yet.
Nonetheless, testing people for this protein is very important. After all, those who are vulnerable to noise aren’t able to use hearing aids safely.
But there is another concern too. Pejvakin levels depend on your genetics. Hence, studying this disease could lead to a better understanding of hereditary hearing problems.