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April 1968

Congenital Luetic Hearing Impairment: Treatment With Prednisone

Arch Otolaryngol. 1968;87(4):378-382. doi:10.1001/archotol.1968.00760060380008

THE PROGRESSIVE sensorineural hearing impairment that may develop as a late manifestation of congenital lues is treatable. Only a high index of suspicion will enable the otologist to diagnose these cases and institute appropriate therapy.

The purpose of this paper is to review the diagnostic criteria and treatment of congenital luetic hearing loss and to present the results of treatment in four cases.

Despite availability of treponemicidal agents, infectious syphilis remains with us. An alarming increase in incidence has occurred in recent years. In the United States in 1965, 23,250 cases were reported, the largest number in 15 years. Public health statisticians estimate the true incidence to approach at least 100,000 cases each year.

A concomitant increase in congenital lues seems inevitable, since the greatest increase in incidence is the younger age group, who may transmit the disease to their offspring.

The otologist is obligated to recognize and treat luetic