Background: Radiological investigation is frequently undertaken to assess the aetiology of sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL).
Objective: To establish the CT measurements of the normal cochlea in children and to determine radiological criteria correlated with SNHL.
Materials and methods: A retrospective study of temporal bone CT performed in 159 children, age range from 3 days to 16 years between February 1999 and July 2004. A control group (n = 88) comprised children without SNHL; the SNHL group comprised 71 children. The width of the second turn of the cochlea (CW), the cochlear height (CH), and the width of the bony canal for the cochlear nerve (WCN) were measured on a reference plane containing the modiolus, the posterior semicircular canal, the footplate, and the stapes arch.
Results: Width of the canal measurements <or=1.7 mm or >or=2.5 mm supported the diagnosis of SNHL with a specificity of 97% and 91%, respectively. Cochlear width was found to be significantly smaller in the SNHL group (5.61 +/- 0.51 mm) than in the control group (5.75 +/- 0.31 mm, P < 0.02), a size <5.4 mm being highly suggestive of SNHL with a specificity of 90%. No significant variations of all measurements were found with age.
Conclusion: Appropriate measurements of WCN and CW are highly correlated with SNHL.