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Audiol Neurootol. 2004 Jan-Feb;9(1):51-62.

Sex-related hearing impairment in Wolfram syndrome patients identified by inactivating WFS1 mutations.

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  • 1Department of Otorhinolaryngology, UMC St. Radboud, Nijmegen, Belgium. r.pennings@kno.umcn.nl


This study examined the audiovestibular profile of 11 Wolfram syndrome patients (4 males, 7 females) from 7 families, with identified WFS1 mutations, and the audiometric profile of 17 related heterozygous carriers of WFS1 mutations. Patients with Wolfram syndrome showed a downsloping audiogram and progressive hearing impairment. None of the carriers had sensorineural hearing loss. Two patients with missense (non-inactivating) mutations in WFS1 had normal hearing and mild symptoms of Wolfram syndrome and were excluded from the analyses. Of the identified patients with inactivating WFS1 mutations, 5 female patients were significantly more hearing impaired than four male patients (p < 0.05). Female patients showed hearing impairment progressing by 1.5-2.0 dB HL per year for the low frequencies and 4.0-4.5 dB HL per year for the mid and high frequencies. The age of onset (90% phoneme recognition score) was 21 years and the onset level 78 dB HL. The deterioration rate was 4.0% per year and the deterioration gradient 1.4% per dB HL. One of the 6 examined patients had vestibular areflexia.

Copyright 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel

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