JOURNAL ARTICLE

[Is recurrent loss of low frequency tone perception—without vertigo—a precursor of Meniere disease?]

H Schaaf, B Seling, N K Rienhoff, A Laubert, M Nelting, G Hesse
HNO 2001, 49 (7): 543-7
11486588

PURPOSE: Recurrent low-frequency sensory hearing loss is one characteristic sign of Meniere's disease. It is therefore often assumed to be a prodromal sign of Meniere's disease.

METHODS: We report on 81 patients with recurrent low-frequency sensory hearing loss who did not previously suffer from vertigo. All patients underwent a follow-up examination after at least 1 year up to more than 10 years after the onset of the disease [average: 64.65 months (SD 56.33)].

CONCLUSIONS: Only 3.7% of these patients developed the typical signs of Meniere's disease with labyrinthine vertigo, whereas 25.9% suffered from recurrent hearing loss and an unspecific vertigo, which could be diagnosed and treated as psychogenic vertigo; 3.7% showed a typical benign positional vertigo. We can thus conclude that although almost every patient with Meniere's disease suffers from recurrent hearing loss, only a few patients with recurrent hearing loss will develop Meniere's disease. However, many patients with low-frequency sensory hearing loss develop anxiety and psychogenic dizziness in expectation of "imminent" Meniere's disease. Therefore, it is important to counsel the patients carefully that the probability of this occurring is not very high.

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