Involvement of the Cochlear Aqueduct by Jugular Paraganglioma Is Associated With Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Otol Neurotol. 2019 Oct;40(9):1230-1236. doi: 10.1097/MAO.0000000000002346.


Objective: The etiology of sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) in patients with jugular paraganglioma (JP) whose tumors lack inner ear fistulae or vestibulocochlear nerve involvement is unknown. Recent literature has proposed that occlusion of the inferior cochlear vein may be causative. Herein, we assess the association between radiologic involvement of the cochlear aqueduct (CA) and the development of SNHL.

Study design: Blinded, retrospective review of imaging and audiometry.

Setting: Tertiary center.

Patients: Adults with JP.

Intervention(s): None.

Main outcome measures: Asymmetric SNHL was assessed continuously as the difference in bone conduction pure-tone average (BCPTA) between ears and as a categorical variable (≥15 dB difference at two consecutive frequencies, or a difference in speech discrimination score of ≥15%). Involvement of the CA was considered present if there was evidence of medial T2 fluid signal loss, contrast enhancement, or bony erosion/expansion.

Results: Of 30 patients meeting inclusion criteria, 15 (50%) had asymmetric SNHL. CA involvement was observed in 87% of patients with asymmetric SNHL compared with 13% in those with symmetric hearing (p = 0.0001). Univariate analysis demonstrated that age, sex, and tumor volume were not associated with asymmetric SNHL. The median difference in BCPTA between ears in patients with CA involvement was 21.3 dB HL compared to 1.2 dB HL in those without CA involvement (p < 0.0001). Regression analysis demonstrates that enhancement within the CA is associated with a BCPTA difference of 19.4 dB HL (p = 0.0006).

Conclusions: Cochlear aqueduct involvement by JP is associated with SNHL in the absence of inner ear fistula, vestibulocochlear nerve involvement, or brainstem compression. Correlation with operative findings or histopathologic evidence of tumor involvement may validate this intriguing imaging finding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Audiometry
  • Cochlea
  • Cochlear Aqueduct
  • Female
  • Glomus Jugulare Tumor / complications*
  • Glomus Jugulare Tumor / pathology*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Vessels / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies