Education in the genetics of hearing loss: A survey of early hearing detection and intervention programs

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Abstract

Purpose:

Permanent hearing loss at birth or in early childhood is common and has many genetic and environmental causes. Advances in the identification and characterization of genetic forms, combined with the early identification of children through the implementation of state-based Early Hearing Detection and Intervention programs suggests the need for education about the causes of hearing loss among professionals who work in these programs.

Methods:

An online survey was directed to state program coordinators of Early Hearing Detection and Intervention programs to identify gaps in knowledge about the genetic causes of hearing loss and to assess interest in continuing education on this topic.

Results:

The study identified clear gaps in respondents' knowledge about genetic causes of hearing loss. Twenty percent of respondents indicated that they had received no training in genetics. When asked to rate their knowledge about the genetics of hearing loss, most rated their knowledge as “not adequate.” Respondents expressed interest in genetics training through several modalities, including a distance learning format.

Conclusion:

This study provides documentation of the need for education of health care professionals involved in the early identification of hearing loss. Suggestions for suitable educational formats based on respondent needs and interests are provided.

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