Otosyphilis: a review of 85 cases

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2007 Jan;136(1):67-71. doi: 10.1016/j.otohns.2006.08.026.


Objective: To review the clinical manifestations and the follow-up hearing results of the treatment modalities in the patients with otosyphilis.

Study design and settings: A retrospective review between 1984 and 2000 at a university hospital. Patients who presented with cochleovestibular symptoms and were confirmed seropositive for specific treponemal tests were included. Excluded were patients older than 70, or who had other identified causes of cochleovestibular symptoms.

Results: Subjects included 56 males and 29 females with an average age of 59.5 years (range, 40 to 70). Common presenting symptoms included hearing loss (90.6%), tinnitus (72.9%), and vertigo (52.9%). The cerebrospinal fluid analysis was positive in 5.4%. The overall respective hearing results in the short- and long-term follow-up were improved or stable in 93.4% and 83.3% of patients. Even though adding steroids and neurosyphilis regimens tended to improve and stabilize hearing, the results were not statistically significant among treatment modalities.

Conclusion: Further study about hearing outcomes among treatment modalities is suggested.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Audiometry
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss / etiology*
  • Hearing Loss / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurosyphilis / complications
  • Neurosyphilis / drug therapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Syphilis / complications*
  • Syphilis / diagnosis
  • Syphilis / drug therapy
  • Treatment Outcome