Hearing loss is the most common sensory deficit in the elderly, and it is becoming a severe social and health problem. Especially in the elderly, hearing loss can impair the exchange of information, thus significantly impacting everyday life, causing loneliness, isolation, dependence, and frustration, as well as communication disorders. Due to the aging of the population in the developed world, presbycusis is a growing problem that has been reported to reduce quality of life (QoL). Progression of presbycusis cannot be remediated; therefore, optimal management of this condition not only requires early recognition and rehabilitation, but it also should include an evaluation of QoL status and its assessment.
Aims/Hypothesis: Idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (ISSNHL) represents an acute inner ear disorder with an overall incidence of 5–20/100000 individuals per year in western countries. No clear causes for this disease have been found so far, but cochlear ischemia has been hypothesized as one of the etiopathological mechanisms. The aim of our study was to assess the role of diabetes and traditional cardiovascular risk factors in the pathogenesis of ISSNHL. Materials/Methods: Case-control study of 141 patients (75 males/66 females) matched for age and gender. Cases were affected by ISSNHL, defined as a sudden hearing loss ≧30 dB, within 3 frequencies, developing over 72 h. The control group was composed of 271 sex- and age-matched subjects (142 males/129 females) who agreed to participate in this observational study and provided blood samples for laboratory investigations. Cardiovascular risk factors examined were: diabetes mellitus, smoking history, hypercholesterolemia, hypertriglyceridemia and hypertension. Results: On the univariate analysis, diabetes prevalence was higher in the ISSNHL group (15.6%) compared to controls (8.5%) (p = 0.03). Also hypercholesterolemia was significantly more frequent in the ISSNHL group compared to the control population. There were no statistically significant differences between the 2 populations concerning other cardiovascular risk factors. The risk of ISSNHL tended to increase as the number of cardiovascular risk factors increased (p for linear trend = 0.018). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that diabetes mellitus, hypercholesterolemia and a high burden of cardiovascular risk factors are associated with the risk of ISSNHL.
Facial nerve palsy is a condition with several implications, particularly when occurring in childhood. It represents a serious clinical problem as it causes significant concerns in doctors because of its etiology, its treatment options and its outcome, as well as in little patients and their parents, because of functional and aesthetic outcomes. There are several described causes of facial nerve paralysis in children, as it can be congenital (due to delivery traumas and genetic or malformative diseases) or acquired (due to infective, inflammatory, neoplastic, traumatic or iatrogenic causes). Nonetheless, in approximately 40%-75% of the cases, the cause of unilateral facial paralysis still remains idiopathic. A careful diagnostic workout and differential diagnosis are particularly recommended in case of pediatric facial nerve palsy, in order to establish the most appropriate treatment, as the therapeutic approach differs in relation to the etiology.
The purpose of this paper is to review the current diagnostic work-up for patients with suspected Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease (AIED). AIED is a rare disease accounting for less than 1% of all cases of hearing impairment or dizziness, characterized by a rapidly progressive, often fluctuating, bilateral SNHL over a period of weeks to months. While specific tests for autoimmunity to the inner ear would be valuable, at the time of writing, there are none that are both commercially available and proven to be useful. Thus far, most of the identified antigens lack a clear association with localized inner ear pathology and the diagnosis of AIED is based either on clinical criteria and/or on a positive response to steroids. For clinical practice, we recommend an antigen-non-specific test battery including blood test for autoimmune disorders and for conditions that resemble autoimmune disorders. Nevertheless, if financial resources are limited, a very restricted work-up study may have a similar efficiency.
Autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED) has been defined as a condition of bilateral sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL), caused by an ‘uncontrolled’ immune system response. The inner ear can be the direct target of the immune response, but it can be additionally damaged by a deposition of circulating immune complexes or by systemic immune-mediated diseases. The clinical expression of immune-mediated inner ear disease shows a progressive bilateral and asymmetric SNHL profile, which typically benefits from a steroid and immunosuppressive therapy. The onset of AIED is between 3 and 90 days. Cochlear symptoms can be associated with vestibular disorders and in 15%–30% of cases, AIED occurs in the contest of a systemic autoimmune disease. Currently, the onset of immune-mediated SNHL is not a well-understood process and the pathogenetic mechanisms of AIED remain unclear. Furthermore, there are no standardized diagnostic criteria or reliable diagnostic tests for the diagnosis of AIED. Hence, the definition of immune-mediated cochleovestibular disorders is a challenging diagnosis based on exclusion. A close collaboration between otolaryngologists, audiologists and rheumatologists is recommended, in order to achieve the multidisciplinary management of this rare entity, since an early AIED identification and a prompt medical treatment might result in acceptable hearing outcomes. The paper describes the clinical features of AIED and offers a diagnostic flow-chart to use in the clinical assessment of this condition.
The aim of the study was to characterize the audiological consequences of congenital cytomegalovirus infection (CMV) and to evaluate the outcome of rehabilitation with hearing aids and/or cochlear implant (CI), associated with an adequate speech-language therapy. A retrospective review of data was made from a total of 16 infants, affected by severe to profound hearing loss from congenital CMV infection, referred to a tertiary audiological center for rehabilitation. Audiological evaluation was performed using behavioral audiometry, auditory brainstem responses (ABR) and/or electrocochleography (ECochG). Of the 16 children (median age at diagnosis of hearing loss: 21.33 +/- 0.7 months) with CMV hearing loss, 14 were affected by profound bilateral hearing loss and received a CI, while 2 were affected by bilateral severe hearing loss and received hearing aids. Cochlear implants can provide useful speech comprehension to patients with CMV-related deafness, even if language development is lower when compared to a group of Connexin (Cx) 26+ cochlear-implanted children (eight subjects), matched for age. Congenital CMV infection still represents a serious clinical condition, as well as an important cause of hearing loss in children. More studies have claimed to identify the pathophysiological mechanisms of damage and thus to ensure a better therapeutic approach. Nonetheless, in cases of CMV-deafened babies, the overall outcome of cochlear implantation is good.
Our objective is to determine the complication rate in a population of infants, children, adolescents and adults, from a University Hospital Cochlear Implant program and to discuss their causes and treatments. The methods include a retrospective study of 438 consecutive patients in a tertiary referral centre, the Audiology Department of the University Hospital of Ferrara. All patients receiving cochlear implants, between 1 January 2003 and 31 December 2009, have been included. All complications and treatments were systematically reviewed with an average duration of follow-up of 46 months (range 10-84 months). The results reveal that the overall rate of complications in our group was 9.1% (40 of 438), and most of them were minor. Wound swelling and infections represent the most common complication occurred. There were no cases of transient or permanent facial palsy following surgery, and also we did not register any case of postsurgical meningitis. Thirteen patients (3.0%) underwent explantation followed by reimplantation. In conclusion, we find that Cochlear implantation is a safe low-morbility technique with a relatively low complication rate in the presented population.
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