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Quality of Life and Hearing Eight Years After Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss.

Laryngoscope 2017 April
OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: To explore long-term hearing results, quality of life (QoL), quality of hearing (QoH), work-related stress, tinnitus, and balance problems after idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (ISSNHL).

STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.

METHODS: We reviewed the audiograms of 680 patients with unilateral ISSNHL on average 8 years after the hearing impairment, and then divided the patients into two study groups based on whether their ISSNHL had recovered to normal (pure tone average [PTA] ≤ 30 dB) or not (PTA > 30 dB). The inclusion criteria were a hearing threshold decrease of 30 dB or more in at least three contiguous frequencies occurring within 72 hours in the affected ear and normal hearing in the contralateral ear. Audiograms of 217 patients fulfilled the criteria. We reviewed their medical records; measured present QoL, QoH, and work-related stress with specific questionnaires; and updated the hearing status.

RESULTS: Poor hearing outcome after ISSNHL was correlated with age, severity of hearing loss, and vertigo together with ISSNHL. Quality of life and QoH were statistically significantly better in patients with recovered hearing, and the patients had statistically significantly less tinnitus and balance problems. During the 8-year follow-up, the PTA of the affected ear deteriorated on average 7 dB, and healthy ear deteriorated 6 dB.

CONCLUSION: Idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss that failed to recover had a negative impact on long-term QoL and QoH. The hearing deteriorated as a function of age similarly both in the affected and the healthy ear, and there were no differences between the groups. The cumulative recurrence rate for ISSNHL was 3.5%.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 4 Laryngoscope, 127:927-931, 2017.

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