Myths in neurotology

Am J Otol. 1992 Mar;13(2):124-6.


For many diseases the etiology of disordered function is unknown and therapy is either symptomatic or empirical. The empirical approach to therapy is acceptable to many physicians, particularly if a treatment can be based on some attractive, although unproven, concept of pathogenesis. A hypothetical explanation of disordered function can become widely popular in spite of a serious lack of scientific support. When evidence emerges that refutes the logic of a concept of pathogenesis, then that concept becomes a myth. Human temporal bone studies have identified several myths in neurotology that deserve our attention. Among these myths are the following: (1) cochlear otosclerosis is a common cause for sensorineural hearing loss, (2) idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss is a vascular disorder that should be treated as a medical emergency, (3) the conductive component of hearing loss in Paget's disease is caused by ossicular fixation and therefore should be surgically correctable, (4) vascular loops should be considered as a possible cause for otherwise unexplained otologic symptoms, (5) surgical manipulations on the endolymphatic sac are scientifically sound therapies for selected cases of Meniere's disease, and (6) perilymph fistulas are a common cause for audiovestibular symptoms that are not related to a stressful incident.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ear Diseases / complications
  • Ear Diseases / therapy*
  • Hearing Disorders / etiology*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / etiology
  • Humans
  • Meniere Disease / surgery
  • Osteitis Deformans / complications
  • Otosclerosis / complications
  • Otosclerosis / therapy
  • Temporal Bone