Dizziness is more prevalent than autophony among patients who have undergone repair of superior canal dehiscence

Otol Neurotol. 2015 Jan;36(1):126-32. doi: 10.1097/MAO.0000000000000531.


Objective: Studies have reported high early success rates in rectifying dizziness and autophony after primary repair of superior canal dehiscence (SCD). We sought to identify the prevalence of dizziness and autophony at later time points in patients who had undergone SCD repair. We also assessed any problems with hearing in this population, along with prevalence of headaches and decreases in overall quality of life.

Study quality design: Identification of patients via retrospective chart review, followed by administration of multiple validated surveys.

Setting: Tertiary, hospital-based neurotology practice.

Patients: All 62 patients who had undergone primary SCD repair at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary with follow-up time of at least 3 months were contacted, with 38 responses from 22 women and 16 men. The average follow-up was 34 months (range, 3-155 mo).

Interventions: Patient surveys.

Main outcome measures: Dizziness Handicap Inventory and Autophony Index.

Secondary outcome measures: Hearing Handicap Survey, MIDAS headache survey, and Short Form-36 Quality of Life Survey.

Results: Twenty patients reported low DHI scores, whereas 18 patients reported elevated DHI scores corresponding to moderate-to-severe dizziness. Autophony was less prevalent, as 3 patients experienced autophony in the operated ear, whereas 3 patients experienced "unmasking" of autophony in the contralateral ear. HHI scores were not significantly different between the low DHI and high DHI group. There were significantly more female subjects in the high DHI group, which was also characterized by significantly more severe MIDAS grades and significantly worse SF-36 scores.

Conclusion: Dizziness is more prevalent than autophony among patients who have undergone SCD repair, although the majority of these patients are satisfied with their decision to undergo surgery. Female sex and migraine headaches are associated with dizziness in this patient population. Further work is necessary to determine causal relationships among these associations.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Dizziness / epidemiology*
  • Dizziness / etiology
  • Female
  • Hearing Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Hearing Disorders / etiology
  • Humans
  • Labyrinth Diseases / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Otologic Surgical Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Semicircular Canals / pathology
  • Semicircular Canals / surgery*