Essential to the formation of horizontal top connectors between outer hair cell stereocilia. Defects in STRC are the cause of deafness autosomal recessive type 16 (DFNB16). DFNB16 is a form of sensorineural hearing loss. Sensorineural deafness results from damage to the neural receptors of the inner ear, the nerve pathways to the brain, or the area of the brain that receives sound information. Defects in STRC are a cause of deafness-infertility syndrome (DIS). DIS is characterized by deafness and infertility and is caused by large contiguous gene deletions at 15q15.3 that removes both STRC and CATSPER2 genes. Belongs to the stereocilin family. Note: This description may include information from UniProtKB.