Genetic Testing for Hearing Loss

  • Benefits of Genetic Testing

    The Ear and Hearing Center at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center provides answers to frequently asked questions about the benefits of genetic testing for hearing loss.

  • Q&A

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    + Which patients benefit from genetic testing?

    Individuals with sensorineural hearing loss of early onset and of unknown etiology may benefit from genetic testing.

    + What is the standard practice of care in regard to genetic testing of patients with sensorineural hearing loss?

    The American Society of Human Genetics recognizes that genetic testing is an integral part of the evaluation of a child with nonsyndromic hearing loss and has developed specific guidelines for incorporating genetic testing into your clinical practice [Genet Med 2002:4(3) 162-171].

    + What are some of the major benefits of genetic testing?

    Genetic test results may provide:

    • Accurate determination of the etiology of the patient's hearing loss
    • Reduction or elimination of the need for further invasive and costly diagnostic tests
    • Basis for prognostic information about future hearing and potential medical complications
    • Guidance regarding treatment and long-term medical management, particularly in the young infant
    • Definitive information on which to base genetic counseling of families

    + Is genetic testing too costly for my patients?

    Most insurance companies cover genetic testing of patients with hearing loss. Genetic testing early in the evaluation process may actually reduce costs related to the diagnostic evaluation [Otology and Neurology (2005) 26:610-615].