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Singapore Med J. 2007 Jan;48(1):45-9.

Prognostic indicators of management of sudden sensorineural hearing loss in an Asian hospital.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Faculty Medicine and Health Sciences, University Malaysia Sarawak, Lot 77 Jalan Tun Zaidi Adruce, Kuching 93150, Sarawak, Malaysia.



This retrospective review evaluates the prognostic indicators in the management of sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) in otorhinolaryngology patients admitted to Brunei RIPAS Hospital.


The review covered data collected from 1996 to 1998, and included patients who were treated with naftidrofuryl and dexamethasone. Their hearing improvement (more than 20 dB) in relation to pure tone audiogram patterns, hearing loss severity, vertigo, age of the patients and duration from symptom onset to time of treatment, were evaluated.


After exclusion of three patients with known causes of hearing loss, 50 patients with idiopathic SSNHL were reviewed. Six audiogram patterns were observed with good prognostic indicators in patterns 1 and 4, where respectively, 95 percent and 100 percent of the patients improved. The hearing improvement was noted in the majority of the patients with mild or moderate degree of hearing loss, especially noticeable in audiogram patterns 1 and 4. Initial vertigo gave poor prognosis in hearing (more than 33 percent patients with vertigo improved versus 88 percent patients without vertigo improved). Patients aged between 21 and 60 years appear to have better prognosis of hearing improvement compared to those who are outside of this age range. 92 percent patients whose treatment started within the first week of onset of hearing loss experienced hearing improvement compared to 84 percent patients whose treatment started in the second week after onset.


Fairly consistent with the previously-reported prognostic indicators are hearing loss severity, vertigo, age and duration of onset to treatment, though there was reasonably good prognosis when the patients were treated in the second week from hearing loss onset. Further findings of note were the six audiogram patterns and the good prognostic indicators in patterns 1 and 4.

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