He did not know his father and always thought he was deaf (well, hard of hearing) because of being in the infantry in the Second World War, but I have found through family history that his father (who was in the navy) also was hard of hearing, not completely deaf. Is it possible that it was hereditary?
Possible. Quite likely in fact. My Dad slowly went deaf. So did I and so did my sister (But my brother did not). It's definitely hereditary. Lots of deafness is that way. My son is being checked every year for hearing loss too (He's 6 years old).
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