Treatment of syphilitic hearing loss. Combined penicillin and steroid therapy in 29 patients

Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. Mar-Apr 1979;88(2 Pt 1):160-5. doi: 10.1177/000348947908800202.


Twenty-nine patients with presumed syphilitic hearing loss, either congenital or acquired, were treated on one or more occasions according to a three-month protocol using penicillin and prednisone. Changes in hearing were carefully followed during treatment and for at least one year thereafter. Of 58 ears studied in 29 patients, 19 demonstrated significant partial improvement in hearing during treatment. However, 11 ears returned to pretreatment hearing levels after therapy, and only 8 ears, or 15%, maintained the hearing gains one year later. Enhanced discrimination occurred more commonly than gains in pure tone threshold. Long-term alternate day prednisone therapy was required to sustain hearing improvement in a small number of patients.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss, Bilateral / drug therapy
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / drug therapy*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Penicillin G Benzathine / administration & dosage
  • Penicillin G Benzathine / therapeutic use*
  • Prednisone / administration & dosage
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use*
  • Syphilis / complications*
  • Syphilis / pathology
  • Syphilis, Congenital / complications
  • Temporal Bone / pathology


  • Penicillin G Benzathine
  • Prednisone