American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics guideline for the clinical evaluation and etiologic diagnosis of hearing loss

Genet Med. 2014 Apr;16(4):347-55. doi: 10.1038/gim.2014.2. Epub 2014 Mar 20.


Hearing loss is a common and complex condition that can occur at any age, can be inherited or acquired, and is associated with a remarkably wide array of etiologies. The diverse causes of hearing loss, combined with the highly variable and often overlapping presentations of different forms of hearing loss, challenge the ability of traditional clinical evaluations to arrive at an etiologic diagnosis for many deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. However, identifying the etiology of a hearing loss may affect clinical management, improve prognostic accuracy, and refine genetic counseling and assessment of the likelihood of recurrence for relatives of deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. Linguistic and cultural identities associated with being deaf or hard of hearing can complicate access to and the effectiveness of clinical care. These concerns can be minimized when genetic and other health-care services are provided in a linguistically and culturally sensitive manner. This guideline offers information about the frequency, causes, and presentations of hearing loss and suggests approaches to the clinical evaluation of deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals aimed at identifying an etiologic diagnosis and providing informative and effective patient education and genetic counseling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Genetic Testing
  • Hearing Loss / diagnosis*
  • Hearing Loss / etiology*
  • Hearing Loss / genetics
  • Hearing Loss / pathology
  • Humans
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • United States