Sudden deafness is not a clinical entity but a symptom complex of acute hearing impairment, tinnitus, and, in some patients, vertigo. This alarming syndrome attacks healthy adults like a bolt from the blue without any cause.
Hallberg1 described several conceivable etiological factors: (1) vascular changes such as thrombosis, spasm, or hemorrhage of the auditory apparatus; (2) toxic involvement of the cochlea or the cranial VIII nerve; (3) neuritis of the cranial VIII nerve; (4) systemic diseases such as blood dyscrasias; (5) acute rise of pressure in the labyrinth; (6) an anaphylactic phenomenon; (7) emotional factors; (8) pressure as from a tumor, and (9) trauma to the head.
In practice, it is difficult to establish the etiology, and the pathogenic process in individual patients is most often speculative.
We have recently observed a patient whose sudden deafness is likely to be associated with vascular change due to thromboangiitis obliterans cerebri
KIRIKAE I, NOMURA Y, SHITARA T, KOBAYASHI T. Sudden Deafness Due to Buerger's Disease. Arch Otolaryngol. 1962;75(6):502–505. doi:10.1001/archotol.1962.00740040517004
Coronavirus Resource Center
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.