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Washington, October 26 : US researchers have identified a genetic biomarker for age-related hearing loss, a major breakthrough in understanding and preventing a condition of aging that millions of people and greatly diminishes their quality of life. In a nine-year study that was a collaboration between University of South Florida's Global Center for Hearing and Speech Research and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at the Rochester Institute of Technology, researchers were able to identify the first genetic biomarker for presbycusis. The genetic mutation carried by those who ultimately suffer from age-related hearing loss is linked to speech processing abilities in older people. In collaboration with the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles, the researchers discovered a gene that produces a key protein in the inner ear - the cochlea - called glutamate receptor metabotropic 7 (GRM7). Now having identified the gene, the researchers said people can be tested and takes steps earlier in life - such as avoiding loud noises, wearing ear protection and avoiding certain medicines known to damage hearing - to protect their hearing. One of the common health conditions that happen to senior citizens is the deterioration of their hearing. Talk to a psychologist or your home caregiver about how it can feel demeaning to think that you are “no longer part of the normal world.” You are part of the normal world. Both sensory impairments may be triggered by common factors, such as diabetes, atherosclerosis etc.
A recent study carried out by researchers at the University of Sydney showed that eyesight and hearing loss usually occur together in elders because both the sensory impairments are markers of biologic aging.
Australian researchers from the University of Sydney stated that the leading factors which bring about hearing and vision impairment are: atherosclerosis (the arteries are flexible no more, becoming hardened and stiffen), diabetes, exposure to oxidative stress and cigarettes smoking etc. Hearing thresholds of an individual may be assessed by both objective and subjective methods.

Objective methodsAuditory potentials reflect the electrical activity of the various neural pathways involved in the coding of sounds. Unit action potentials (experimental technique not used in humans)A micro-electrode (black arrow) records electrical activity from a single neurone in the auditory nerve.
Surface electrodes placed on the skull allow recording of 5 main waves of electrical activity through the brainstem. Oto-acoustic emissions (OAEs)They reflect the activity of outer hair cells, which are the most sensitive cells of the organ of Corti.OAEs are very useful for screening newborns, but are also widely used as as an objective test in subjects of any age.
The GRM7 protein is intimately involved in converting sound into the code of the nervous system, in the cochlea, which is then sent to the parts of the brain used for hearing and speech processing.
Please use newer version of your browser or visit Internet Explorer 6 countdown page for more information. Many people wonder how they can accept hearing loss and cope with the effects it can have on their lives.
Think about the many times in your life that you have overcome seemingly insurmountable hurdles.
The 2 conditions may also share common causes and factors, wrote Australian researchers in the Archives of Ophthalmology Journal. Results of the study showed that participants who have developed hearing loss had a 1.5 times higher chance of developing vision impairment, too.
Objective methods are based on recordings of the electrical activity at various stages along the auditory pathway, from the cochlea to the cortex, and do not need the active participation of the individual.

This auditory fibre responds to sound stimulation (red dot) by sending an action potential (AP) towards the brain. The amplitude of the CAP measured between N1-P1 is in the order of several dozen microvolts (µV). Like many of life’s changes, there is a psychological component to dealing with hearing loss aside from the hard facts of how to manage the physical disadvantages. There is a whole deaf community out there who live daily life as normally as you did when your hearing was sharp! On the other hand, subjects who presented eye sight problems were 18% more likely to suffer from hearing loss, too. On the other hand, subjective methods need the co-operation of the individual being tested, because they rely on the subject's perception of and response to sound.
After these early evoked potentials, the same skull electrodes can record later potentials from activity in the thalamocortex (middle latency and cortical auditory evoked responses).
Your income, age, and health condition will help decide what type of hearing equipment is the best fit for you.
Recording acoustic otoemissions is also an objective method, which specifically allows to check outer hair cells motile properties.

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