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Newborn Screening Ontario
Hearing Loss Risk Factor Screening

Otolaryngologists

Risk Factor Screening for Permanent Hearing Loss in Children: Information for Otolaryngologists

On behalf of Newborn Screening Ontario (NSO) and the Ontario Infant Hearing Program (IHP), we would like to provide you with details of a new initiative. The Province of Ontario is expanding Universal Newborn Hearing Screening to include risk factor screening for Permanent Hearing Loss (PHL) using the dried blood spot sample routinely collected for newborn screening. The information included on this page will prepare you for the arrival of these patients in your offices and help streamline your diagnostic assessment of infant PHL.

Babies born on or after July 29 2019 whose parents consent will be screened for congenital Cytomegalovirus (cCMV) and selected DFNB1 (GJB2/6) and DFNB4 (SLC26A4) mutations associated with a high risk of early onset PHL. Infants who screen positive due to the detection of cCMV (about 730 cases/year) or presence of two mutations in GJB2/6 or SLC26A4 (about 100 cases/year) will have a priority diagnostic audiology assessment through the IHP. If PHL is confirmed, a referral will be made to Otolaryngology for further assessment. Infants with confirmed cCMV will also be evaluated by a Pediatrician to assess for symptomatic cCMV disease; symptomatic infants may be eligible for antiviral treatment and will be referred to a Pediatric Infectious Diseases specialist.

We are currently recruiting pediatric Otolaryngologists from across the province with an interest in PHL to become key partners in this program by accepting referrals for infants identified with genetic risk factors through newborn screening. While we expect these referrals to be distributed to all Otolaryngologists who see children, we can preferentially send referrals to those with a special interest in this area.

For more information about this initiaitive, please see the documents below. We ask that you kindly express interest by e-mail to nsohearing@cheo.on.ca and invite you to contact us directly with any questions.

ENT Infographic about Risk Factor Screening for Permanent Hearing Loss

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