Hearing loss (HL), both syndromic (SHL) and non-syndromic (NSHL), is the most common sensory disorder, affecting ~460 million people worldwide. More than 50% of the congenital/childhood cases are attributable to genetic causes, highlighting the importance of genetic testing in this class of disorders. Here we applied a multi-step strategy for the molecular diagnosis of HL in 125 patients, which included: (1) an accurate clinical evaluation, (2) the analysis of GJB2, GJB6, and MT-RNR1 genes, (3) the evaluation STRC-CATSPER2 and OTOA deletions via Multiplex Ligation Probe Amplification (MLPA), (4) Whole Exome Sequencing (WES) in patients negative to steps 2 and 3. Our approach led to the characterization of 50% of the NSHL cases, confirming both the relevant role of the GJB2 (20% of cases) and STRC deletions (6% of cases), and the high genetic heterogeneity of NSHL. Moreover, due to the genetic findings, 4% of apparent NSHL patients have been re-diagnosed as SHL. Finally, WES characterized 86% of SHL patients, supporting the role of already know disease-genes. Overall, our approach proved to be efficient in identifying the molecular cause of HL, providing essential information for the patients' future management.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Oct 22 2020


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