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July 1989

Sensorineural Loss in Chronic Otitis Media: Is It Clinically Significant?

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Otolaryngology (Drs Shelton and Sheehy) and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (Dr Berliner), University of Southern California School of Medicine; Otologic Medical Group Inc (Drs Shelton and Sheehy); and Clinical Research, House Ear Institute (Dr Berliner), Los Angeles. Mr Levine is a medical student at the University of Southern California School of Medicine.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1989;115(7):814-816. doi:10.1001/archotol.1989.01860310052021

• Charts of 161 patients with unilateral chronic otitis media were reviewed for evidence of sensorineural hearing loss, defined as the difference in preoperative bone conduction thresholds between diseased and normal contralateral ears. Mean bone conduction differences were small but statistically significant, ranging from 5.6 to 12.8 dB across the frequencies. Approximately 45% of the subjects had differences greater than 10 dB for high frequencies, but less than 12% had a difference greater than 20 dB for the pure-tone average. Significant relationships were found between sensorineural hearing loss and the presence of acquired cholesteatoma in the middle ear, diseased mucosa of the promontory and hypotympanum, and diseased ossicles. These findings suggest that more severe middle ear disease may result in sensorineural hearing loss. However, for the majority of subjects, the amount of sensorineural hearing loss was judged not to be clinically significant.

(Arch Otolarygol Head Neck Surg. 1989;115:814-816)