Auditory brainstem responses in infants recovering from bacterial meningitis. Audiologic evaluation

Arch Otolaryngol. 1983 Jan;109(1):13-8. doi: 10.1001/archotol.1983.00800150017003.


Auditory brainstem response (ABR) was used to assess possible hearing loss in 60 patients recovering from bacterial meningitis. The ABR results were consistent with either unilateral or bilateral hearing loss in 35% of the cases tested. Of these, 15% were conductive-type hearing loss. Twelve percent had sensorineural hearing losses and normal brainstem function. The remaining 8% had elevated ABR thresholds coincident with findings suggestive of neuropathology of the auditory brainstem pathways. A case of reversible sensorineural hearing loss was documented. Various clinical and demographic factors were examined to determine their predictive value with regard to hearing loss. As expected, otitis media occurred significantly with conductive hearing loss. Type of pathogen (Streptococcus pneumoniae) and hospitalization greater than two weeks were significantly correlated with sensorineural hearing loss. As meningitis typically affects young children who are difficult to test with conventional audiometry, ABR provides an effective means of testing hearing in this population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Infections / complications*
  • Brain Stem / physiopathology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory*
  • Female
  • Hearing Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Hearing Disorders / etiology
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Meningitis / complications*