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EHDI: Early Hearing Detection & Intervention | NTRC: National Technical Resource Center

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Webinar: Genetics and New Developments in Screening and Testing for Hearing Loss

When: May 18, 2023 | 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm MDT


Seismic changes are happening in the field of genetics that are going to be affecting many people. Over the past 30 plus years significant progress has been made in the provision of services leading to the early identification of hearing loss. Early identification allows for a rapid response to limit, if not prevent altogether, any periods of time where a child does not have access to language. It is important to recognize that from a medical perspective, hearing loss is a symptom on an underlying alteration in the peripheral auditory system and sometimes the central auditory system; a symptom of an underlying pathogenic mechanism.

Hence, in addition to identifying the presence of a hearing loss, clinical treatment can be informed by knowing what has caused the hearing loss. Genetic testing provides one very valuable way to do this. In some cases, for example, a child may be found to have a condition typically associated with a progressive hearing loss. This additional genetic diagnosis can informs the need for ongoing testing and refines other types of intervention that may be considered. The study of genetic linkages to hearing loss has now lead to the availability of gene therapy as a mean for treating hearing loss. And the potential of this is only starting to become understood.

Topics for the webinar include:

Part 1: Genetic Testing

  • What is genetic testing for hearing loss?
  • Why is genetic testing performed?
  • Who should receive this testing?
  • How does a clinician order this testing?

Part 2: Genetic Newborn Hearing Screening

  • What is the rationale for adding a genetic portion to the existing newborn hearing screening protocol?

Part 3: Gene Therapy for Hearing Loss

  • What are the new development in gene therapy for hearing loss and what is on the horizon?


Eliot Shearer, MD, PhD