Dutch scientists have uncovered a gene associated with the type of deafness passed on through families - a finding which means treatments for inherited deafness are one step closer.
To come up with the finding, boffins looked at the genetics of families where several members were deaf and identified the PTPRQ gene as playing a role, reports The Daily Express.
The research has been published in the American Journal of Human Genetics.
Dr Sohaila Rastan, RNID's chief scientific adviser, said: "This research will help develop medicines that are desperately needed to prevent deafness and restore hearing."
Earlier, the Dutch team had found two other genes linked to inherited deafness. So far, about a third of 60 genes have been discovered.