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Founder Population for Hearing Loss Study

A study of hearing in Newfoundland is taking advantage of the area's founder population and large families, CBC News reports.

Many families in Newfoundland can trace their ancestry back to 17th and 18th century immigrants from England and Ireland, and many of these families were quite large — some had more than 20 siblings, it adds. The Genomics-Based R&D Centre for Health is sequencing the genomes of individuals these families and intensively testing their hearing to try to home in on variants associated with a particular type of hearing loss. This could help identify what part of the hearing process has gone awry, Anne Griffin, an audiologist, tells CBC News.

She adds that it could also enable earlier identification of individuals at risk of developing the condition. "It allows for a proactive identification of risk, and then, because of that, it allows an opportunity to manage better," Griffin says. "So you now know, OK, certain children should probably be having a standard hearing test every year, every two years until they are 20."