Assessment of diagnostic approaches to idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss and their influence on treatment and outcome

Acta Otolaryngol. 2010 Mar;130(3):384-91. doi: 10.1080/00016480903161541.


Conclusion: Results from a database for sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) demonstrate no correlation between laboratory findings, treatment, and outcome in 400 patients. The patients with pathological test results were not treated differently from those with normal test results. The value of laboratory findings and MRI might increase if the results are categorized to more specific diagnoses.

Objectives: To investigate diagnostic test batteries for SSNHL and evaluate their value in the management of idiopathic SSNHL.

Methods: A total of 400 patients submitted to the Swedish national database for SSNHL were analyzed. Information was collected about the patient's past medical history, potential precipitating events, trauma, medical history, hearing loss, current disease, diagnostic protocol, and treatment, using questionnaires as well as two audiograms, one at the first ENT clinic visit and another 3 months later.

Results: In all, 65% of these 400 patients underwent hematological tests and 40% had an MRI/CT scan. Twenty-two of 160 MRI investigated had pathological findings including 5 acoustic neuromas. Also, 300 of these 400 patients were evaluated as having idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (ISSNHL); 24% of them had one or more pathological test results. No significant correlation was found between either the MRI findings or the laboratory findings with regard to treatment or hearing recovery in patients with ISSNHL.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Audiometry, Pure-Tone
  • Blood Chemical Analysis*
  • Brain Stem Infarctions / diagnosis
  • Child
  • Databases, Factual
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory, Brain Stem / physiology
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss, Sudden / classification
  • Hearing Loss, Sudden / etiology*
  • Hearing Loss, Sudden / therapy
  • Hematoma, Subdural / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroma, Acoustic / diagnosis
  • Pons / blood supply
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden
  • Tinnitus / etiology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*
  • Vertigo / etiology
  • Vestibular Function Tests
  • Young Adult