Table 5

Take home messages

(1)Genetic counselling should be available to all families with children with permanent hearing impairment. The only exceptions would be the relatively few families with children with a definite environmental cause, for example, meningitis, congenital rubella.
(2)Families given access to genetic counselling do have negative experiences which should be addressed.
(3)Approximately half of families with hearing impaired children not offered genetic counselling would like to have been.
(4)Children should be investigated systematically, in particular to exclude a syndromal aetiology. There should be an agreed national standard for such an investigation protocol.
(5)Genetic counselling should be an ongoing process with the opportunity for follow up appointments and review.
(6)There is a need for education about the significance of genetic factors in childhood hearing impairment, both of the public and health care professionals involved in providing services for such families