Part 18 – Referring to other specialists upon hearing loss diagnosis.
By the Oklahoma Newborn Hearing Screening Program & Oklahoma Audiology Task force
Most medical home providers acknowledge that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) requires referring a child with confirmed permanent hearing loss to an otolaryngologist. However, did you know that the AAP recommends referring for ophthalmologic and genetic medical evaluations to determine etiology and identify related conditions? Additional referrals may be needed for some children including developmental pediatrics, neurology, cardiology and nephrology. However, according to Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices of Physicians in Oklahoma study, only 78.5% otolaryngologist, 8.9% to a geneticist and 0.9% to the ophthalmologist.
PARENT & PROVIDER RESOURCE:
When a child is diagnosed with hearing loss, parents may have many questions for their Medical Home provider. To assist with these efforts, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed several tools for parents as they learn about ways to help their child who has hearing loss. One of those resources is the Questions you May Want to Ask Your Child’s Medical Professional handout. This two-side document provides questions about medical services for children with hearing loss and identifies additional specialists in which their child may be referred to by their medical professional. The document can be located at https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/hearingloss/freematerials/medical-professional_questions_eng.pdf
As the coordinator for all areas of a child’s medical care, medical home providers should be aware of additional specialists who will look at the child’s specific health needs. These specialists may look at eyes, language or speech needs, genetics, or other areas. As a child’s medical professional, you will help decide which specialists a child should see and when to see them.
As a medical professional, you may send your child to some or all of the following specialists:
Ophthalmologist: A doctor who specializes in eyes.
Otolaryngologist: A doctor who specializes in the ear, nose, and throat. This professional is often called an ear, nose and throat doctor or ENT.
Geneticist: A professional who specializes in genetics and the different medical conditions (including hearing loss) that might be related to genetics.
Audiologist: A professional trained to test hearing.
Speech-language pathologist: A professional trained to test and work with children with speech and language problems.
Early intervention provider: A person who provides support services for families and children from birth to 3 years of age, who have or are at risk for developmental delays.
To learn more about the Oklahoma Newborn Hearing Screening Program, gather resources for families, or receive a copy of the previous articles in this series, please send an email to NewBornScreen@health.ok.gov.