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Keywords:

  • Idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss;
  • transtympanic steroid perfusion;
  • intratympanic injection;
  • steroid;
  • Silverstein MicroWick;
  • salvage therapy

Objectives/Hypothesis

The purpose of this study was to investigate whether near-continual transtympanic steroid perfusion is more effective than intermittent intratympanic steroid injection as a salvage therapy for idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss.

Study Design

Case control study.

Methods

We designed a case-control study consisting of 60 patients with sudden sensorineural hearing loss who did not respond well to systemic steroid therapy. From November 2008 to October 2010, we prospectively enrolled subjects for the transtympanic steroid perfusion therapy. We retrospectively collected data from age- and sex-matched patients who had undergone intratympanic steroid injection between January 2003 and October 2008. The audiological results of the two groups were compared.

Results

The presalvage pure tone threshold was 65.4 ± 13.5 dB in the transtympanic steroid perfusion group. After the therapy, the hearing threshold was improved by an average of 15.0 ± 9.7 dB, and 53.3% of subjects had improved by 10 dB or more. The speech discrimination score was improved from 12.6% ± 7.0% to 54.4 ± 6.4%. In the intratympanic steroid injection group, the presalvage pure tone threshold was 68.8 ± 16.0 dB. After the therapy, the hearing threshold was improved by an average of 10.7 ± 9.8 dB, and 43.3% of subjects had improved by 10 dB or more. The speech discrimination score was improved from 13.3 ± 6.0% to 46.4 ± 12%. The degree of hearing improvement was significantly greater in the transtympanic group.

Conclusions

Both transtympanic steroid perfusion and intratympanic steroid injection can be used as salvage therapies for idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss. Near-continual transtympanic steroid perfusions may provide better audiological results.

Level of Evidence: 3b. Laryngoscope, 123:2264–2269, 2013