Purpose: To estimate the genetic contributions to presbycusis. Method: Presbycusis was assessed by audiometric measurements at 3 waves of the population-based Epidemiology of Hearing Loss Study (EHLS). Measurements from the most recent hearing examination were used, at which time the subjects (3,510 participants from the EHLS study) were between 48 and 100 years of age. Heritability of presbycusis was estimated using maximum likelihood methods in 973 biological relative pairs from 376 families. Familial aggregation was also evaluated by tetrachoric correlations, odds ratios, and lambda statistics in 594 sibling pairs from 373 sibships. Results: The prevalence of presbycusis conformed to previous research, increasing with age and male sex. Heritability estimates for presbycusis adjusted for age, sex, education level, and exposure to work noise exceeded 50%, and siblings of an affected relative were at 30% higher risk. When stratified by sex, estimates of familial aggregation were higher in women than men. Conclusions: There is evidence that genetic factors contribute to age-related hearing loss in this population-based sample. The familial aggregation is stronger in women than in men.
- Age-related hearing loss
- Familial aggregation