Auditory and olfactory findings in patients with USH2A-related retinal degeneration—Findings at baseline from the rate of progression in USH2A-related retinal degeneration natural history study (RUSH2A)


Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) is characteristic of Usher syndrome type 2 (USH2), but less is known about SNHL in nonsyndromic autosomal recessive retinitis pigmentosa (ARRP) and olfaction in USH2A-associated retinal degeneration. The Rate of Progression of USH2A-related Retinal Degeneration (RUSH2A) is a natural history study that enrolled 127 participants, 80 with USH2 and 47 with ARRP. Hearing was measured by pure-tone thresholds and word recognition scores, and olfaction by the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT). SNHL was moderate in 72% of USH2 participants and severe or profound in 25%, while 9% of ARRP participants had moderate adult-onset SNHL. Pure-tone thresholds worsened with age in ARRP but not in USH2 participants. The degree of SNHL was not associated with other participant characteristics in either USH2 or ARRP. Median pure-tone thresholds in ARRP participants were significantly higher than the normative population (p < 0.001). Among 14 USH2 participants reporting newborn hearing screening results, 7 reported passing. Among RUSH2A participants, 7% had mild microsmia and 5% had moderate or severe microsmia. Their mean (±SD) UPSIT score was 35 (±3), similar to healthy controls (34 [±3]; p = 0.39). Olfaction differed by country (p = 0.02), but was not significantly associated with clinical diagnosis, age, gender, race/ethnicity, smoking status, visual measures, or hearing. Hearing loss in USH2A-related USH2 did not progress with age. ARRP patients had higher pure-tone thresholds than normal. Newborn hearing screening did not identify all USH2A-related hearing loss. Olfaction was not significantly worse than normal in participants with USH2A-related retinal degeneration.

Publication Title

American Journal of Medical Genetics, Part A