Usher syndrome: definition and estimate of prevalence from two high-risk populations

J Chronic Dis. 1983;36(8):595-603. doi: 10.1016/0021-9681(83)90147-9.


The Usher Syndrome (US) refers to the combined neurosensory deficits of profound hearing impairment and retinitis pigmentosa. We have obtained information on 600 cases of deaf-blindness from the registry of the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults (HKNC). Of these, 54% met the diagnostic criteria of US, although only 23.8% were so diagnosed. More extensive analysis of 189 Usher clients from HKNC showed an excess of males, some variability in audiograms, and wide ophthalmologic variation. Genetic analysis of 113 sibships showed a segregation ratio consistent with recessive inheritance. The Acadian population of Louisiana has a high frequency of US which contributes significantly to the deaf population of the state. Among 48 cases from the Louisiana School for the Deaf, there was an excess of males, more variability in audiograms than expected, and an increased segregation ratio in the 26 informative sibships. Estimates of prevalence obtained using registry data and statistics from Louisiana clearly suggest that the previous estimate of 2.4 per 100,000 is too low for the United States. Recognizing problems with ascertainment, our prevalence estimate of 4.4 per 100,000 is still considered quite conservative.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Female
  • Genes, Recessive
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / epidemiology*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / genetics
  • Humans
  • Louisiana
  • Male
  • Pedigree
  • Phenotype
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa / epidemiology*
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa / genetics
  • Risk
  • Sex Factors
  • Syndrome
  • United States