The severity of vestibular dysfunction in deafness as a determinant of comorbid hyperactivity or anxiety
Antoine MW, etc Journal of NeuronScience,
This study examines the biological rather than socio-environmental reasons why hyperactivity and anxiety disorders occur at higher rates in deaf individuals. Using conditional genetic approaches in mice, the authors show 1) that inner ear dysfunction due to either Tbx1 or Slc12a2 mutations cause hyperactivity, 2) that it is vestibular dysfunction, which frequently co-occurs with deafness but often remains undiagnosed, rather than auditory dysfunction that causes hyperactivity and anxiety-related symptoms, and 3) that the severity of vestibular dysfunction can predict whether hyperactivity or anxiety co-exist with inner ear dysfunction. These findings suggest a need to evaluate vestibular function in hearing impaired individuals, especially those who exhibit hyperactive and anxiety-related symptoms.