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J Genet Couns. 2018 Jun;27(3):597-607. doi: 10.1007/s10897-017-0149-9. Epub 2017 Oct 4.

"My Plate is Full": Reasons for Declining a Genetic Evaluation of Hearing Loss.

Author information

1
Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Michigan Health System, CW-5-702 SPC 4241, 1540 East Hospital Drive, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109-4241, USA. lesperan@med.umich.edu.
2
Genetic Counseling Program, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
3
Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Michigan Health System, CW-5-702 SPC 4241, 1540 East Hospital Drive, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109-4241, USA.
4
Department of Human Genetics, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

Abstract

The aim of this study was to obtain patient and parent perspectives on genetic evaluation of hearing loss, in order to identify motivators, expectations, and barriers. Three focus groups were conducted following a semi-structured discussion guide, led by an independent moderator. Participants were hearing parents of children with permanent hearing loss or deaf adults. Qualitative content analysis was used to develop a codebook and identify major themes and subthemes. Participant views were compared to national guidelines. The 28 participants comprised 23 parents representing 21 unique families and 5 deaf adults. 13/21 families and 0/5 adults reported comorbidities, 4/21 families and 3/5 adults had a positive family history, and 12/21 families versus 0/5 adults had utilized genetics services. A common theme among adults and parents was a curiosity as to the cause of hearing loss. Parents were motivated to detect comorbidities and optimize care for hearing loss. Some parents felt overwhelmed by the hearing loss and unprepared to pursue early genetic evaluation as recommended in guidelines. Several reported positive experiences following genetics consultation, while others reported unease and unmet expectations. Notably, both parents and adults expressed ambivalence regarding the desire for genetic knowledge. Financial concerns and difficulties obtaining a referral were cited as extrinsic barriers. For parents of children with hearing loss, both the presence of comorbidities and a positive family history were drivers of genetics consultation and/or genetic testing. We identified educational opportunities for both patients and providers that would improve informed decision-making and increase access to genetic services. Consideration of the patient/family perspective and their decision-making processes, along with flexibility in the approach to genetics evaluation and its timing, will optimize both the development and implementation of guidelines.

KEYWORDS:

Autonomy; Comorbidities; Deafness; Genetic services; Hearing loss; Patient preferences

PMID:
28980162
DOI:
10.1007/s10897-017-0149-9

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