Hearing impairment can be genetic

Today marks the start of Mitochondrial Disease Awareness Week. While many people have never heard of mitochondrial disease (often referred to as mito), this genetic disorder affects one in 5,000 people, making it the second most commonly diagnosed, serious genetic disease after cystic fibrosis. In fact, every 30 minutes, a child is born who will develop a mitochondrial disease by age 10. Everyone has mitochondria in their cells – it provides 90% of the energy needed to sustain life. But the disease, for which there is yet no cure, robs the body’s cells of energy, often causing multiple organ dysfunction. The parts of the body that need the most energy, such as the heart, brain, muscles and lungs, are usually the most affected by mitochondrial disease, linking it to other conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, cardiac issues and some cancers. Hearing impairment is also common in people with mitochondrial disorders – it’s thought to affect over half of those with the disease.

Is it mito or not?

Mitochondrial disease can appear at any age. Many people may reach late middle age without a proper diagnosis. Some may never be diagnosed, or are misdiagnosed – after all, mito can be the cause of many different health problems. That’s why awareness is so important – indeed, many landmarks around the world are often lit up green at this time each year to raise awareness of mitochondrial disease. This year’s Light Up for Mito will take place on 25th September.  If you have hearing loss and it’s something that runs in your family it’s possible that you may have mito, so it’s important to speak to your doctor. While there’s no cure, it is possible to pre-empt and manage the conditions related to this disease.

Here to help

The Hearing Clinic supports hearing impaired clients who are living with a range of different health challenges. We’ll work with you to find a tailored hearing solution that meets your precise needs and enables you to hear at your best. To find out more, please call us on 01923 372101 (Radlett) or 01462 506074 (Hitchin).

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