Korean J Otorhinolaryngol-Head Neck Surg.  2020 Sep;63(9):403-408. 10.3342/kjorl-hns.2019.00759.

Update on Clinical Manifestation in Acute Low-Tone Hearing Loss

  • 1Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


Background and Objectives
Acute low-tone hearing loss (ALHL) is gaining attention as an independent disease identity with close association with endolymphatic hydrops and early stage Meniere’s disease (MD). This study aims to compare patients of ALHL with patients exhibiting low-tone hearing loss and ear fullness without vertigo in various audio-vestibular assessments and in progression to overt MD.
Subjects and Method
A total of 249 patients with low-tone hearing loss with ear fullness without vertigo was enrolled in this study. Of these patients, 58 patients met criteria for ALHL, which was defined as having an average hearing loss of ≥30 dB at 125, 250, and 500 Hz and ≤20 dB at 2, 4, and 8 kHz. Demographics, electrocochleography (ECoG) abnormality, rate of hearing improvement, vestibular functions, and progression to MD were analyzed.
An average low-tone hearing loss of ALHL patients was 42.8 dB, which recovered to 18.9 dB following a combined treatment of diuretics and oral steroid therapy. The hearing recovery rate of this group was 87.9% and the ECoG abnormality ratio was 42.5%. Also, 15.5% of ALHL patients eventually progressed to MD.
This study described demographics and characteristics of ALHL, demonstrating a successful response to the combined treatment of diuretics and oral steroid. Also, this report demonstrated a close relationship between the degree of low-tone hearing loss and ECoG abnormality and observed the progression to MD in ALHL patients. These data can be usefully applied in clinical setting to explain clinical outcomes of ALHL.


Diuretics; Electrocochleography; Hearing loss; Meniere disease; Steroids
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