National survey of the aetiological assessment service of permanent childhood hearing loss in Ireland.

Aim The Universal Neonatal Hearing Screening Programme (UNHS) was implemented nationally in 2014. All infants identified with permanent childhood hearing loss (PCHL) should have a paediatric assessment performed. This survey aimed to assess available paediatric services and to inform service development. Methods All paediatricians involved in assessment of infants with PCHL were identified. A questionnaire was developed using the BAAP standards. Results were collated on excel. Results Thirty-three paediatricians assess children with PCHL, only 18% (6/33) had received specific training. Waiting time for assessment was beyond the recommended timeframe in the majority of cases (mean 14.4 weeks, range 2-52). Timely access to services such as MRI, genetics and ophthalmology was limited. Conclusion The survey highlights significant deficits in the paediatric component of the UNHS. A model of regionalisation with recommendations to improve the paediatric skill set, resources and supporting services is suggested. © 2018, Irish Medical Association. All rights reserved.