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The role of explorative tympanotomy in patients with sudden sensorineural hearing loss with and without perilymphatic fistula.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to describe the role of explorative tympanotomy in patients with Profound Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSNHL) without clinical evidence of perilymphatic or labyrinthine fistula and to compare intraoperative findings with the postoperative hearing outcome.

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective study of all patients diagnosed with SSNHL who underwent explorative tympanotomy between 2002 and 2005.

SETTINGS: Tertiary care university-affiliated hospital.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Eighty-two patients were diagnosed with unilateral profound SSNHL and underwent tympanotomy with sealing of the round and oval windows. Values of pure tone audiograms and percentage hearing loss of patients with and without intraoperative diagnosed perilymphatic fistula (PLF) were compared and analyzed.

RESULTS: PLF was diagnosed in 28% cases intraoperatively. In most cases, hearing improved significantly after surgery. Interestingly, patients with PLF had a 2.4 times greater decrease of percentage hearing loss compared to patients without PLF.

CONCLUSIONS: Explorative tympanotomy seems to be useful in patients with profound SSNHL. Patients with PLF benefit more from the surgical procedure and have better outcome than patients without PLF.

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