Objectives: 1) To evaluate the long-term incidence and degree of the sensorineural component of hearing loss (SNHL) in patients with otosclerosis after accounting for expected age-related hearing loss. 2) To identify variables that might predict development of sensorineural hearing loss due to otosclerosis.
Study design: Retrospective audiometric database and chart review.
Setting: Tertiary referral center.
Patients: Consecutive patients with otosclerosis observed between 1994 and 2004, with ≥10 years follow-up, excluding patients with postoperative hearing loss or surgery before the initial audiogram.
Intervention: Bone conduction (BC) thresholds at 0.5, 1, 2, and 4 kHz and Word Recognition.
Main outcome measure: BC threshold change (BCTC) over ≥10 years minus estimated age-related threshold change (ARTC) specific to age and sex for each patient (based on ISO 7029 reference population).
Results: Three-hundred fifty-seven ears (290 patients) met study criteria, including 217 ears that had undergone stapedectomy during the study period. Mean follow-up was 14.0 years. The average BCTC after subtracting estimated ARTC was 4.6, 2.6, 3, and 2.7 dB for 0.5, 1, 2, and 4 kHz frequencies, respectively. However, 34% of ears (122 ears) had clinically significant progression of SNHL during the study period (>10 dB BCTC beyond expected ARTC at ≥2 frequencies). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that the probability of developing clinically significant SNHL was higher for women (odds ratio 1.86, p = 0.018) and lower for operated patients (odds ratio 0.46, p = 0.002).
Conclusion: The average long-term sensorineural hearing loss due to otosclerosis was statistically significantly more than for age alone at each frequency, but these average values (from 2.6 to 4.6 dB for tested frequencies) were clinically insignificant. Approximately one-third of patients with otosclerosis demonstrated a clinically significant progression of the sensorineural component of hearing loss, with the average BCTC above expected age-related changes ranging from 10.2 to 14.6 dB for tested frequencies among this subgroup.