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I think it is well to review briefly the clinical characteristics before starting to talk about the histopathology of hydrops, because in my experience there is still a good deal of confusion as to how to make the diagnosis. We will start by mentioning some of the auditory characteristics—the classical auditory characteristics that would indicate hydrops.
For an early case of hydrops—found in a person in his 30's or 40's or earlier—some of the classical auditory findings are shown in Figure 1. This chart shows a number of hearing tests made on the same patient at different times. The seven air-conduction threshold curves show a wide variation. The hearing threshold has fluctuated up and down at varying periods.
This is the usual fluctuation seen in an early case of hydrops. The bone-conduction threshold fluctuates along with the air-conduction one. It is classically a low-tone hearing loss. Along with this,
LINDSAY JR. Hydrops of the Labyrinth. AMA Arch Otolaryngol. 1960;71(3):500–510. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/archotol.1960.03770030142027
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