July 5, 1971

Medical News

JAMA. 1971;217(1):17-26. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03190010007004

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Deafness can result from damage to inner ear membranes  Many cases of profound or total sudden hearing loss can probably be explained on the basis of mechanical damage to inner ear membranes or to the round or oval window membranes.Although about half the cases of sudden neurosensory deafness are theoretically ascribed to Meniere's disease, viral infections or vascular lesions, the medical records of most of the remainder of cases are eventually filed with the perplexing notation "cause unknown."The recent hypothesis that the unknown cause may be mechanical damage, however, provides a reasonably satisfying explanation for such cases. The hypothesis also has implications for the treatment of sudden deafness (which now. ranges from complete bed rest to surgical exploration of the ears) and for what activities may be permitted to patients who have suffered hearing loss.The concept actually had its beginnings in April, 1968 in an article