1. As children get older, they will have questions such as “Why me?” or “Why don’t my ears work?” or a number of other questions that you need to be able to answer.
2. Also, when children become adults and want a family of their own, is there any likelihood that they too will have deaf children? Or was their hearing loss an isolated case?
"As you mentioned, there are many benefits to a visit to the geneticist. But because very few people even know what a geneticist is, they are often nervous about coming to see us. A visit to the geneticist is very similar to any other doctor visit in some ways, but very different in others. For example, we spend a lot of time getting background information on your child as well as your family. Then, when I examine your child I look for very subtle things, like facial characteristics. Are the ears and nose normal in appearance? Are there unusual birthmarks, or fingerprint patterns? This is mostly done just by looking and observing, very little poking. If there is no other unusual findings, we often recommend testing for isolated hearing loss genes. However, if there are other findings we discuss what they mean, and what testing if any should be carried out. Genetic testing typically involves nothing more invasive than a simple blood draw.
All in all, most people find these visits helpful, as many questions are answered, or at least addressed.
A visit can get very emotional, and parents will often become upset because we are discussing potential health risks for their child. We always follow up each visit with a comprehensive and detailed note, as well as additional reading material as appropriate. Another often unspoken concern is if a genetic evaluation and testing is covered by insurance. The answer is almost always yes, but if that is a concern we can check before your visit.
To make an appointment with UAB's Genetic Clinic call 205-934-9528."