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Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2006 Jun;134(6):940-5.

Intratympanic steroid treatment in idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss: a control study.

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Department of Otolaryngology, School of Medicine, University of Athens, "Hippokration" Hospital, Athens, Greece.



Although systemic steroids in sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL) appears to be the most effective and the most widely accepted treatment today, a significant number of patients do not respond to steroid treatment or they cannot receive steroids for medical reasons. Intratympanic (IT) administration of steroids appears to be an alternative or additional method of management without the side effects of intravenous steroids. The aim of this study is to investigate the effectiveness and safeness of IT administration of steroids in patients who had not responded to IV treatment and to compare treatment efficacy with controls.


Our study consisted of 37 patients with SSHL who, at the end of 10 days of therapy with intravenous steroids as a 1st line treatment, had pure-tone 4-frequency (0.5, 1, 2, and 4 kHz) average (PTA) of worse than 30 dB or worse than 10 dB from the contralateral ear (defined as failed intravenous treatment). They were randomized into 2 groups, treatment and control. The 19 patients of the treatment group received approximately 0.5 mL sterile aqueous suspension of methylprednisolone acetate in a concentration of 80 mg/2 mL by direct injection. The procedure was carried out 4 times within a 15-day period. An audiogram was performed before each injection and approximately 1.5 months after the last session.


All patients tolerated the procedure well. No perforation or infection was noticed in any of the patients at their last visit. With regard to the 19 patients who received intratympanic treatment, in 9 patients, the PTA threshold improved more than 10 db, in 10 patients there was no change greater than 10 db, and no patients deteriorated more than 10 db. In the control group, none of the patients showed any change greater than 10 db. The difference was statistically significant (P = 0.002). The treatment group showed an improvement in mean PTA of 14.9 dB, whereas the control group showed a deterioration of 0.8 dB, and this difference also was statistically significant (P = 0.0005). IT treatment (P = 0.0001), better post-IV PTA (P = 0.0008), and absence of vertigo (P = 0.02) were good predictors of the outcome. In contrast, sex, age, affected ear, days to admission, and pattern of the initial audiogram showed no significant influence on the outcome.


IT steroid administration after failed intravenous steroids is a safe and effective treatment in sudden sensorineural hearing loss.

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