(1/48) Early diagnosis of Usher syndrome in children.

PURPOSE: To screen severe to profound, preverbal hearing-impaired children for Usher syndrome by ophthalmologic examinations, including electroretinographic testing. These patients are especially good candidates for early cochlear implants, which will improve listening and spoken language skills. METHODS: Consecutive patients over 2 years of age, given a diagnosis of severe to profound, preverbal hearing loss, were screened for Usher syndrome by a complete ophthalmologic examination including an electroretinogram. RESULTS: Five of 48 patients screened (10.4%) were diagnosed with Usher syndrome and received cochlear implants. CONCLUSION: All children with severe to profound, preverbal sensorineural hearing loss should be screened for Usher syndrome by ophthalmologic examination including electroretinogram.  (+info)

(2/48) Effective management of the elderly hearing impaired--a review.

In the United Kingdom, two and a half million people over 70 are thought to have hearing impairment that would benefit from an aid. Only one-third of these will possess one, and as many as 10 per cent probably never use their aid. Although it is important to examine the relative merits of different aids, there is also a need to look at how audiological services may reduce the unmet need that results from underuse of aids. This review examines the important question of 'what is the most effective way of providing hearing aids for the elderly affected by presbyacusis?' Extensive searching of four electronic databases and hand searching of relevant journals revealed the paucity of evidence to guide audiology practice. In particular there is little consensus on the best outcome measures for evaluating audiological rehabilitation or hearing aid fitting. Audiological services for the elderly are another example of an area where there is a need to fund research and development rather than continue to commission services that are variable and poorly evaluated.  (+info)

(3/48) Medicaid program; provider qualifications for audiologists. Final rule.

This final rule will revise the requirements for audiologists furnishing services under the Medicaid program. As a result, the requirements will create consistency with the Medicare program's definition of a qualified audiologist by recognizing State licensure in determining provider qualifications. These revised standards will expand State flexibility in choosing qualified audiologists.  (+info)

(4/48) A dominantly inherited progressive deafness affecting distal auditory nerve and hair cells.

We have studied 72 members belonging to a large kindred with a hearing disorder inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern. We used audiological, physiological, and psychoacoustic measures to characterize the hearing disorders. The initial phenotypic features of the hearing loss are of an auditory neuropathy (AN) with abnormal auditory nerve and brainstem responses (ABRs) and normal outer hair cell functions [otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) and cochlear microphonics (CMs)]. Psychoacoustic studies revealed profound abnormalities of auditory temporal processes (gap detection, amplitude modulation detection, speech discrimination) and frequency processes (difference limens) beyond that seen in hearing impairment accompanying cochlear sensory disorders. The hearing loss progresses over 10-20 years to also involve outer hair cells, producing a profound sensorineural hearing loss with absent ABRs and OAEs. Affected family members do not have evidence of other cranial or peripheral neuropathies. There was a marked improvement of auditory functions in three affected family members studied after cochlear implantation with return of electrically evoked auditory brainstem responses (EABRs), auditory temporal processes, and speech recognition. These findings are compatible with a distal auditory nerve disorder affecting one or all of the components in the auditory periphery including terminal auditory nerve dendrites, inner hair cells, and the synapses between inner hair cells and auditory nerve. There is relative sparing of auditory ganglion cells and their axons.  (+info)

(5/48) Self-reported tinnitus and noise sensitivity among adolescents in Sweden.

It seems to be a common opinion among researchers within the field of audiology that the prevalence of tinnitus will increase as a consequence of environmental factors, for example exposure to loud noise. Young people are exposed to loud sounds, more than any other age group, especially during leisure time activities, i.e. at pop concerts, discotheques and gyms. A crucial factor for the prevention of hearing impairments and hearing-related symptoms in the young population is the use of hearing protection. The focus of the present study is use of hearing protection and self-reported hearing-related symptoms, such as tinnitus and noise sensitivity in a young population of high-school students (N=1285), aged 13 to 19 years. The results show that the prevalence of permanent tinnitus and noise sensitivity, reported in the total group, was 8.7% and 17.1% respectively. Permanent tinnitus was not significantly related to level of socio-economic status, but age-related differences in the prevalence rates of experienced tinnitus and noise sensitivity were found to be significant. Older students reported such symptoms to a greater extent than younger students did. Those who reported tinnitus and other hearing-related symptoms protected their hearing to the highest extent and were the ones most worried.  (+info)

(6/48) Parents' of deaf children evaluative accounts of the process and practice of universal newborn hearing screening.

This article presents results from a narrative interview study of 45 parents/caregivers whose infants were correctly identified as deaf through Phase 1 of the Newborn Hearing Screening Programme in England. It concerns the period from the first screening event to the point of referral for audiological assessment. It focuses on the meanings parents attribute to the inconclusive message that the screen delivers and analyzes what it is that differentiates parents for whom such an outcome raises little concern from those who express dissatisfaction. Parents' evaluations of specific features of screening practice and process such as communication style and manner are also considered. It ends with a discussion of the status and validity of parents' accounts within the context of an evaluation of a national screening program and the further development of professional practice.  (+info)

(7/48) Pathogenetic role of the deafness-related M34T mutation of Cx26.

Mutations in the GJB2 gene, which encodes the gap junction protein connexin26 (Cx26), are the major cause of genetic non-syndromic hearing loss. The role of the allelic variant M34T in causing hereditary deafness remains controversial. By combining genetic, clinical, biochemical, electrophysiological and structural modeling studies, we have re-assessed the pathogenetic role of the M34T mutation. Genetic and audiological data indicate that the majority of heterozygous carriers and all five compound heterozygotes exhibited an impaired auditory function. Functional expression in transiently transfected HeLa cells showed that, although M34T was correctly synthesized and targeted to the plasma membrane, it inefficiently formed intercellular channels that displayed an abnormal electrical behavior and retained only 11% of the unitary conductance of the wild-type protein (HCx26wt). Moreover, M34T channels failed to support the intercellular diffusion of Lucifer Yellow and the spreading of mechanically induced intercellular Ca2+ waves. When co-expressed together with HCx26wt, M34T exerted dominant-negative effects on cell-cell coupling. Our findings are consistent with a structural model, predicting that the mutation leads to a constriction of the channel pore. These data support the view that M34T is a pathological variant of Cx26 associated with hearing impairment.  (+info)

(8/48) Potential barriers and facilitators for implementation of an integrated care pathway for hearing-impaired persons: an exploratory survey among patients and professionals.

BACKGROUND: Because of the increasing costs and anticipated shortage of Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) specialists in the care for hearing-impaired persons, an integrated care pathway that includes direct hearing aid provision was developed. While this direct pathway is still under investigation, in a survey we examined expectations and potential barriers and facilitators towards this direct pathway, of patients and professionals involved in the pathway. METHODS: Two study populations were assessed: members of the health professions involved in the care pathway for hearing-impaired persons (general practitioners (GPs), hearing aid dispensers, ENT-specialists and clinical audiologists) and persons with hearing complaints. We developed a comprehensive semi-structured questionnaire for the professionals, regarding expectations, barriers, facilitators and conditions for implementation. We developed two questionnaires for persons with hearing complaints, both regarding evaluations and preferences, and administered them after they had experienced two key elements of the direct pathway: the triage and the hearing aid fitting. RESULTS: On average GPs and hearing aid dispensers had positive expectations towards the direct pathway, while ENT-specialists and clinical audiologists had negative expectations. Professionals stated both barriers and facilitators towards the direct pathway. Most professionals either supported implementation of the direct pathway, provided that a number of conditions were satisfied, or did not support implementation, unless roughly the same conditions were satisfied. Professionals generally agreed on which conditions need to be satisfied. Persons with hearing complaints evaluated the present referral pathway and the new direct pathway equally. Many, especially older, participants stated however that they would still visit the GP and ENT-specialist, even when this would not be necessary for reimbursement of the hearing aid, and found it important that the ENT-specialist or Audiological Centre evaluated their hearing aid. CONCLUSION: This study identified professional concerns about the direct pathway for hearing-impaired persons. Gaps exist in expectations amongst professions. Also gaps exist between users of the pathway, especially between age groups and regions. Professionals are united in the conditions that need to be fulfilled for a successful implementation of the direct pathway. Implementation on a regional level is recommended to best satisfy these conditions.  (+info)