Objectives: To determine the occurrence of hearing loss and to establish audiometric profiles and patterns of hearing impairment in patients with chronic renal failure (CRF).
Methods: A retrospective study examined the relationship between the different stages of CRF and corresponding audiologic findings in those patients. Twenty-three subjects (46 ears) in the age range of 25 to 60 years were included in the study. These subjects were arranged into groups ranging from the second to fifth stages of CRF. Audiologic assessment in each subject was performed using a battery of tests, which included pure-tone audiometry, transient otoacoustic emission (TOAE), distortion product otoacoustic emission, and brainstem evoked response audiometry (BERA).
Results: Significant differences in the degree of hearing loss were observed among patients with different stages of CRF. It was noted that almost all (95.65%) patients with CRF did not pass the TOAEs. It was important to notice that none of the patients with CRF showed findings on BERA that pointed to retrocochlear involvement. Thus, the present study found that most patients (65.21%) had a cochlear pathology.
Conclusions: We observed that (a) there is a high incidence of hearing loss among patients with CRF; (b) the methods of treatment (hemodialysis and conservative treatment) may not influence the impact of the disease on hearing; (c) levels of serum electrolytes and biochemical constituents of blood do not seem to correctly reflect the audiologic status of a CRF patient; and (d) hearing loss in patients with CRF has a distinct audiologic pattern. Given that CRF involves hearing loss, routine audiologic assessment in patients with this condition is essential.