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It Takes Two: New Hearing Loss Study Has NIDCD Scientists Doing Double Duty
Twin volunteers relax in the
NIDCD sign-up booth before
having their hearing tested.
For a fifth consecutive year, the NIDCD took part in the world's largest annual gathering of twins, this time to learn more about the genetics behind age-related hearing loss, or presbycusis. Nearly 2,000 sets of twins, triplets, and perhaps higher multiples attended the legendary Twinsburg, OH, festival—Twins Days—which celebrated its 31st anniversary this past August. The study is the first to address definitively an observation that most hearing health professionals and researchers have made but have yet to prove: that people tend to lose their hearing as they age and that this type of hearing loss seems to run in families.
"Hearing can decline over the years from a variety of factors, including noise, chemotherapy, ear infections, head injuries, and overall health," said Carmen Brewer, Ph.D., NIDCD's chief of audiology and lead investigator on the study. "And hearing loss can also occur in families. We want to obtain a more precise picture of the role heredity plays in hearing loss as a person ages."