Vestibular diagnosis as prognostic indicator in sudden hearing loss with vertigo

H M Park, S W Jung, C K Rhee
Acta Oto-laryngologica. Supplementum 2001, 545: 80-3
The majority of episodes of sudden hearing loss are caused by inner ear disorders, often accompanied by vertigo. The patterns of hearing loss usually influence the prognosis. The purpose of this study was to analyze vestibular diagnoses in sudden hearing loss with vertigo, and to correlate them with the recovery of hearing loss. The clinical records of 125 patients with sudden hearing loss were reviewed. Various vestibular evaluations were performed in 36 patients with vertigo. The vertigo in these patients was classified as normal, unilateral hypofunction, directional preponderance, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), non-specific or irritative. The initial and final pure-tone audiograms of these patients were compared. The distribution of vestibular diagnoses was unilateral hypofunction in 30.6% of patients, BPPV in 25.7%, normal in 19.4%, non-specific in 11.1%, directional preponderance in 8.3% and irritative in 8.3%. The recovery of hearing in patients with vertigo was significantly worse than in those without vertigo. The recovery of hearing in patients with spinning vertigo did not differ from that of patients with non-spinning vertigo. The recovery of hearing was worst in the BPPV group, especially in the high frequency range, followed by the unilateral hypofunction group, who showed hearing thresholds between those in the BPPV group and those in the normal vestibular function test group. This study suggests that the diagnostic classification of vestibulopathy is a useful prognostic indicator of hearing recovery in sudden hearing loss with vertigo. We conclude that otolithic and semicircular canal involvement may cause poor hearing results, especially in the high frequency range.

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