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The severity of deafness can obscure the presence of other disabilities that may accompany genetic anomalies, such as occur in Alport and Usher syndromes. Recent advances in genetics have heightened attention to various disabilities and dysfunctions that may coexist with deafness. Failure to recognize these additional disabilities when they occur can misguide educational planning; may open the afflicted deaf person to failure to identify, diagnose, and manage potentially serious health conditions; and in some instances may even lead to loss of life. Of the many genetic conditions that have been identified, a few examples are cited to illustrate the need to inform parents, educators, and other care-givers about the importance of obtaining genetic information.