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July 14, 1993

Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery

Author Affiliations

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md

JAMA. 1993;270(2):243-245. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03510020111038

Within the field of otolaryngology—head and neck surgery, the pace of technological advancement has quickened. We are witnessing rapid growth in the use of microscopic, endoscopic, and three-dimensional imaging techniques. The 1990s also seem to be a watershed for the successful application of information technologies to the communication sciences and molecular biology. Driven by these developments, otolaryngology—head and neck surgery continues to undergo sweeping change.

Heredity has long been recognized as playing an important, if not determinative, role in hearing impairment. Collaborative work in molecular genetics has now successfully mapped the genetic defects responsible for a long list of clinical hearing disorders. At least 32 genetic forms of primary human deafness have been identified.1 Consortia organized by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders have successfully linked genes responsible for Usher syndrome type I, Waardenburg's syndrome type I, and other syndromic forms of hearing impairment. Our understanding