Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
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Hearing loss and pneumococcal meningitis: an animal model.

Laryngoscope 1991 December
Clinical studies of predisposing factors in the development of hearing loss secondary to bacterial meningitis have produced conflicting results. An animal model of meningogenic labyrinthitis was developed for more precise study of these parameters. Rabbits were inoculated intrathecally with 10(5) pneumococci to induce meningitis. Hearing thresholds were measured using auditory-evoked responses to 1 kHz, 10 kHz, and click stimuli before infection and every 12 hours thereafter. Profound deafness occurred in all subjects at an average of 48 hours following infection. The incidence and severity of hearing loss was strongly correlated with the duration of meningitis. Temporal bone histology revealed acute inflammation of all perilymphatic spaces including the cochlear aqueduct. This model demonstrated that the risk and severity of hearing loss increase with the duration of meningitis and suggested that the cochlear aqueduct is an anatomic pathway for the extension of infection from the cerebrospinal fluid to the cochlea. The implications for therapy in humans is discussed.

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