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Hearing loss testing in children and babies can involve urine tests, blood tests, thyroid function tests, electrocardiograms and imaging studies. However, these tests and not 100% accurate, expensive and take some time to produce results. Also, CT scans require sedation and thus pose further risks. Researchers have been developing a gene-based diagnostic test which can diagnose and even predict genetic hearing loss. This tool will remove the need for other testing method in about 80% of cases resulting in a huge cost saving and better results. Furthermore, studies revealed that standard tests failed to diagnose hearing loss in up to 80% of cases. The testing is expected to be available in 2005. More than 50% of hearing loss cases is due to genetics with the rest caused by such things as infections, medications, metabolic disorders, illegal drug use and premature birth. In the US, inner hearing loss (often associated with ear infections) is the most common birth defect with 1.2 per 1,000 children being afflicted with mild or moderate form of the condition. Hearing loss in children is usually not diagnosed until they are about two and a half but early diagnosis and treatment can reduce developmental and behavioral difficulties.
Source: summary of medical news story as reported by Eurekalert
About: Genetic testing improves hearing loss diagnosis in children
Date: 15 December 2004
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