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Approved Research

Development of a Polygenic Risk Score (PRS) for Age-related Hearing Loss and Tinnitus

Principal Investigator: Dr Mary Eileen Dolan
Approved Research ID: 73962
Approval date: March 9th 2022

Lay summary

Hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the absence of external stimuli) are common chronic health conditions particularly impacting older adults throughout the world. In addition to the negative impact of these health conditions on one's quality of life, they are associated with cognitive decline and dementia. The aim of our research is to identify how one's DNA predisposes an individual for age-related hearing loss or tinnitus. Identifying genes (and genetic variation) that play a role in hearing loss and tinnitus allows for the eventual development of drugs and/or personalized treatment to prevent or treat these health conditions. For a more rigorous study, we will use large datasets available to us in the United States (250,000 participants) to discover genetic variation contributing to hearing loss and tinnitus and then use the UK Biobank dataset (291,516 participants) to validate our findings. Once we establish the DNA associated with hearing loss and tinnitus, we can study whether the same DNA variation is also associated with hearing loss and tinnitus following certain chemotherapy or radiation to the brain as well as other health conditions, such as diabetes, anxiety, or Alzheimer's dementia. The project will take one year. The public health impact is that the findings can ultimately help the 430 million people worldwide who live with disabling hearing loss.