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Keywords:

  • Menière's disease;
  • natural history;
  • hearing loss;
  • audiogram;
  • presbycusis;
  • Level of Evidence: 2b.

Abstract

Objectives:

To investigate the level of hearing loss and the configuration of the mean audiometric curve over the course of Menière's disease, correcting the data according to patient age.

Study Design:

A retrospective study of 3,963 hearing tests.

Methods:

Descriptive, longitudinal study of pure-tone audiometries of 237 patients at a tertiary hospital who had been diagnosed with definitive Menière's disease according to the American Academy of Otorhinolaryngology criteria. All audiometric results were age-corrected, and patients were followed for 1 to 31 years. In patients who had undergone surgery, only the data collected before the operation were assessed.

Results:

In patients with unilateral disease, the mean hearing loss was characteristically low frequency, even in very advanced stages of the disease. Hearing loss was accentuated at 5 and 15 years from onset. In bilateral cases, hearing loss was slightly more severe and the average loss produced a flatter audiometric curve than in unilateral cases.

Conclusions:

In Menière's disease, audiometry results corrected for patient age show an inherent upward-sloping configuration of the mean audiometric curve at all time points during the disease. The hearing pattern differs between unilateral and bilateral disease. The audiometric curve configuration may be an indicator of future bilateral disease. Laryngoscope, 2011