Hearing loss as a sequela of meningitis

Laryngoscope. 1978 May;88(5):739-55. doi: 10.1002/lary.1978.88.5.739.


A retrospective study of 547 cases of meningitis was performed. Of these, 236 were bacterial, 304 were viral, and 7 were fungal in etiology. Of 110 survivors of bacterial meningitis over the age of 2 1/2 years, 23 or 21% suffered partial or complete sensorineural hearing loss. The site of auditory injury in cases of partial loss was the cochlea by audiologic criteria. A positive correlation with hearing loss was found for the species of organism, delay before treatment, low CSF sugar, and CSF pleocytosis. Of 7 patients with fungal meningitis, 3 suffered hearing loss with signs of a retrocochlear site. Of 304 cases of aseptic meningitis, none developed a hearing loss. The pathophysiology of hearing loss as a sequela of meningitis and the possible explanations for absence of hearing loss in viral meningitis are discussed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Glucose / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Hearing Disorders / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Hearing Disorders / etiology*
  • Hearing Disorders / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Meningitis / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Meningitis / complications*
  • Meningitis / etiology
  • Meningitis / physiopathology
  • Meningitis, Viral / complications
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycoses / complications
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Glucose