Objective: Although idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (ISSHL) is a frequent disease in adults, less is known about incidence and treatment of ISSHL in children.
Method: A retrospective chart analysis was performed to evaluate the frequency of ISSHL in children aged under 18 years between 2000 and 2003, who were treated in our department. Children received prednisolone intravenously at an initial dose of 3mg/kg bodyweight. Prednisolone dose was reduced to half every second day. The medication was given for a maximum of 14 days or finished 2 days after the hearing normalized in pure-tone audiometry. The follow-up was continued between 3 and 14 months.
Results: The complete recovery rate was 57%, and the partial recovery was 36%. Initial hearing loss of 50dB and more was predictive for poor outcome in children (p=0.028). Presence of tinnitus was without relevance for the outcome. The incidence of ISSHL in the local area of about 250,000 inhabitants was 1/10,000 in children.
Conclusion: ISSHL seems to be a less frequent disease in children than in adults. Severe initial hearing loss is coupled with poor outcome. Under treatment with prednisolone hearing improvement was found in 13 of 14 patients.