BTN.com staff, November 21, 2014
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Approximately one in 500 children is born with some form of hearing loss, according to Dr. Richard Smith, a professor of otolaryngology at the University of Iowa. Moreover, by the time people reach 80 years of age, about half of them will require medical assistance to hear effectively.
For many of these people, genetics play a role in the loss of hearing. The OtoSCOPE test, developed by Smith?s team at Iowa, is a new method for determining how genes can cause auditory loss over time. It?s more comprehensive and cost-effective than any previous method. Given the same amount of time and cost that it used to take to test one gene, the OtoSCOPE exam can assess all 70 genes known to cause nonsyndromic hearing loss.
The team?s work is bringing a lot of attention - and hopeful students like Joseph Chin - to campus.
?I?ve always been curious about why exactly I had hearing loss,? said Chin, who?d completely lost his ability to hear by the fourth grade. ?I?d gone through dozens of tests. Nobody had been able to figure out why.?
[btn-post-package]?I came to the University of Iowa to perform research at one of the best labs in the world,? he added. ?Through [the OtoSCOPE] test, I was able to figure out the specific gene and the specific mutation related to my hearing loss. When I found out what the cause of my hearing loss was, I was relieved. I finally found an answer. I?ve been searching for years.?
Watch the video above to learn more.