Lightning and its effects on the auditory system

Laryngoscope. 1991 Aug;101(8):830-4. doi: 10.1288/00005537-199108000-00006.


Patients struck by lightning can present with a wide variety of unusual otologic problems including burns to the external auditory canal, tympanic membrane rupture, middle ear injury, and sensorineural hearing loss. Four patients who incurred various otologic problems, including one patient with previously unreported bilateral oval window fistulas following lightning injury, are presented. Audiologic, otologic, and surgical findings are reviewed as well as patient follow-up and outcome.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burns, Electric / etiology
  • Deafness / etiology*
  • Ear Canal / injuries
  • Hearing Loss, High-Frequency / etiology
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Lightning Injuries / complications*
  • Male
  • Oval Window, Ear / injuries
  • Rupture
  • Tinnitus / etiology
  • Tympanic Membrane / injuries