What are the causes of congenital hearing loss at a population level in Queensland?

Dr Karen Liddle1, Dr  Rachael Beswick1

 1Children’s Health Queensland, South Brisbane, Australia


In Queensland, children identified with a hearing loss are referred to the multidisciplinary Childhood Hearing Clinic, located in Brisbane and Townsville, for thorough investigation and management of the hearing loss. Aetiological outcomes of this clinic were presented at the 2017 ANHS Conference, and a coding system for aetiology of childhood hearing loss to be used in real time clinical practice was modelled. A modified version of this coding system has since been included in the National Guidelines for Investigation of Childhood Hearing loss. This presentation builds on previous work and provides a state-wide profile of children identified with a congenital hearing loss over a 4 year timeframe. Preliminary outcomes indicate that the primary aetiology for bilateral hearing loss is genetic and unilateral hearing loss is structural causes and that 40% have no identified aetiology. This is the first time state-wide data of this nature has been collected and analysed and gives an idea of causes of congenital hearing loss at a population level.  Challenges and lessons learned will be described and implications of this information for current and future clinical practice and research directions will be discussed.


Karen Liddle is a paediatrician who has been working in the Childhood Hearing Clinic in Brisbane for the past 7 years.  She also works in and has an interest in Indigenous Health.  She enjoys supporting families in their journeys through this fascinating area.