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Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2007 Jul;71(7):1079-85. Epub 2007 May 4.

Hearing loss and middle ear involvement in patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

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Dokuz Eylul University School of Medicine, Department of Ear Nose Throat and Head and Neck Surgery, 35340 Izmir, Turkey.



Evaluation of the hearing status and middle ear function of patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis.


The study group was comprised of 38 ears of 19 patients (6 males, 13 females) aged between 5 and 23 years. The control group was comprised of 30 ears of 15 healthy subjects (5 males, 10 females) aged between 5 and 22 years. All subjects were examined audiologically using tympanometry, stapedial reflex, acoustic reflex decay, pure-tone audiometry, high frequency audiometry and transient evoked otoacoustic emission tests.


There were statistically significant (p<0.05) number of ears (32%) with abnormal tympanograms in the patient population while all tympanograms were normal, type A in the control group. Seven type As, 2 type Ad, and 3 type C tympanograms were seen in the patient population. In pure tone audiometry tests there was no subject having neither a conductive nor sensorineural hearing loss individually in both groups. But as a group, patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis showed statistically significant elevation of air conduction thresholds at frequencies of 250, 500, 6000, 14,000 and 16,000 Hz for right ears; and at 500, 2000, 12,500 and 16,000 Hz for left ears; and larger air-bone gaps at 500 and 2000 Hz for right ears; and at 500 Hz for left ears (p<0.05). Comparison of bone conduction thresholds and otoacoustic emission tests between both groups did not reveal any statistically significant difference (p>0.05).


This study suggests a dual effect of disease on both the middle and inner ear of patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Presence of abnormal tympanograms together with worse air conduction thresholds at lower frequencies as well as larger air bone gaps at frequencies of 500 and 2000 Hz suggest subclinical middle ear involvement; while hearing losses at 6000 Hz and very high frequencies of 12,500, 14,000 and 16,000 Hz suggest inner involvement at an early stage.

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