Oral steroid treatment of sudden sensorineural hearing loss: a ten year retrospective analysis

Otol Neurotol. 2003 Sep;24(5):728-33. doi: 10.1097/00129492-200309000-00006.


Objective: To describe ten years of experience with Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss and compare the outcomes with and without treatment with oral corticosteroids.

Study design: Retrospective review of medical records.

Setting: Large specialty hospital, Department of Otolaryngology.

Patients: Patients presenting with sudden onset (72 hours) unilateral sensorineural hearing loss, with no evidence of Ménière's Disease, acoustic injury, retrocochlear disease, and other specifiable disorders.

Interventions: The majority of patients received a standard course of oral corticosteroids (Prednisone 60 mg and taper). A smaller group declined treatment.

Main outcome measures: Recovery of hearing sensitivity was measured using standard audiometry and reported as change in Pure Tone Average. Word recognition scores were also analyzed.

Results: When severe-to-profound cases are analyzed, a significant improvement (p <.01) in Pure Tone Average is seen in cases treated with steroids versus those untreated. When milder cases are included, a statistical floor effect prevents differentiation of these groups. Word recognition scores were significantly improved (p <.05) in the treated group.

Conclusions: Application of steroid medication significantly improves the recovery outcomes in cases of Severe Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Audiometry, Pure-Tone
  • Auditory Threshold / drug effects
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss, Sudden / drug therapy*
  • Hearing Loss, Sudden / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prednisone / administration & dosage*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Speech Reception Threshold Test
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Prednisone