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Laryngoscope. 2000 Oct;110(10 Pt 1):1715-9.

Clinical course of pediatric congenital inner ear malformations.

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Department of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood Illinois 60153, USA.



To determine any factors that could improve the early detection and management of congenital inner ear malformations.


A retrospective review was performed of all patients with a diagnosis of inner ear malformation at Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC) and the Hospital for Sick Children (HSC) between 1987 and 1995. Clinical records and audiometric data were accumulated. One neuroradiologist reviewed every temporal bone computed tomography (CT) scan.


Forty-six pediatric patients with congenital inner ear anomalies evaluated at two tertiary care hospitals.


The average patient age at initial assessment was 25.7 months. A family history of hearing loss was noted in only five patients (12.8%). A major nonotological deformity was seen in 41% of patients. The average hearing threshold was 88 dB. All three patients with sudden hearing loss had vestibular aqueduct enlargement. Two of the three patients with common cavity anomalies had a history of recurrent meningitis. Twenty-seven patients had a vestibular aqueduct deformity, the most frequent radiographic abnormality in the series.


Because inner ear malformation was diagnosed after 24 months of age in a significant percentage of patients, we recommend increased parental education and vigilance by primary care practitioners. Universal newborn screening may be the key to earlier detection of these infants. For children with idiopathic sensorineural hearing loss, we recommend a temporal bone CT scan. Patients with vestibular aqueduct enlargement must be counseled about the risk of progressive sensorineural hearing loss, meningitis, and the need to avoid contact sports. Patients with common cavity abnormalities should be considered for exploratory tympanotomy and also educated about the risk for meningitis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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