Sympathetic hearing loss: A review of current understanding and report of 2 cases

Ear Nose Throat J. 2016 Apr-May;95(4-5):166-92.


Sympathetic hearing loss (SHL) is a rare complication that appears to occur when the immune system is primed against sequestered inner ear antigens. SHL has been implicated in delayed hearing loss after acoustic tumor removal, revision stapedectomy, and temporal bone fractures. We present 2 cases of suspected SHL after excision of skull base tumors during which the surgical approach had violated the otic capsule. Both patients experienced delayed contralateral sensorineural hearing loss. In comparing our cases with those previously reported, we hope to inspire others to do likewise and to develop an understanding of this clinical entity.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Audiometry, Pure-Tone
  • Autoantibodies / immunology
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / drug therapy
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / immunology
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Meningeal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Meningioma / surgery
  • Middle Aged
  • Otologic Surgical Procedures
  • Petrous Bone
  • Postoperative Complications / drug therapy
  • Postoperative Complications / immunology
  • Postoperative Complications / physiopathology*
  • Speech Reception Threshold Test


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Autoantibodies