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