Symptoms depend on the type of Usher syndrome. There are several types and many sub-types of the syndrome. Symptoms of the syndrome may include:
- Problems with hearing or deafness
- Problems with balance
- Problems with eyesight or blindness
The problems with eyesight are caused by an eye disorder called retinitis pigmentosa. This disorder includes a group of eye diseases that leads to gradual loss of eyesight.
All newborn babies are screened for hearing problems. If a hearing problem is found in the newborn, the baby will have follow-up testing. Your child's healthcare provider will test hearing, eyesight, and balance to diagnose Usher syndrome. The tests include:
- Electronystagmography (ENG). This test checks eye movements to help diagnose balance problems.
- Vision testing. Different tests are used to test the eyesight of very young children.
- Eye exam. An eye doctor will look at the retina during an eye exam.
- Electroretinography (ERG). This test checks how the retina reacts to light. It is used to diagnose retinitis pigmentosa.
- Hearing evaluation. A hearing specialist will examine the ears and do a series of tests to check your child’s hearing.
One a child is diagnosed, he or she may have genetic testing to find out the type of Usher syndrome.
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Usher syndrome has no cure. Spotting it early is very important so that support and education can begin as soon as possible. Treatment may include:
- Cochlear implants
- Hearing aids
- Hearing or auditory training
- Low vision support
- Speech, physical, and occupational therapy
- Orientation and mobility training to help with balance
- Counseling to help you and your child deal with a long-term health problem
- Usher syndrome is an inherited problem with both hearing loss and vision loss.
- Usher syndrome is passed on from parents to their children.
- If both parents are carriers, they have a 1 in 4 chance of having a child with Usher syndrome with each pregnancy.
- Hearing, vision, and balance tests are used to diagnose Usher syndrome.
- There is no known cure for Usher syndrome.
- Finding the syndrome early is important so that support and education programs can begin as soon as possible.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
- Know the reason for the visit and what you want to happen.
- Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
- At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you for your child.
- Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed and how it will help your child. Also know what the side effects are.
- Ask if your child’s condition can be treated in other ways.
- Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.
- Know what to expect if your child does not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
- If your child has a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
- Know how you can contact your child’s provider after office hours. This is important if your child becomes ill and you have questions or need advice.
May 22, 2017
Greco, Frank, MD,Sather, Rita, RN