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Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1991 Sep;105(3):360-71.

Investigations into the cause of vertigo in sudden sensorineural hearing loss.

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Department of Otolaryngology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, MA 02114.


In this light microscopic study of the temporal bone, an attempt has been made to find a morphologic correlate of vertigo associated with idiopathic sudden sensori-neural hearing loss (ISSHL). Hair cell densities of the three cristae and both maculae, as well as vestibular ganglion cell (neuronal) count estimation, was done in nine ears that had documented histories of ISSHL. There were five ears with vertigo and four without. These quantitative data--i.e., hair cell densities and neuronal counts, of the vertiginous ears (group I) and nonvertiginous ears (group II)--was compared by histograms and statistically. Additionally, in each of the two groups, the data from three opposite normal hearing ears were taken as a control and used for comparison with the ISSHL ears. The differences between the vertiginous, nonvertiginous, and control ears were not significant at the 0.01 level, indicating that the vertigo was not caused by hair cell or neuronal degeneration. Gross morphologic alterations in the vestibular system, such as membrane ruptures, endolymphatic hydrops, etc., were also assessed, but no clear-cut pathology was identified in the vertiginous and nonvertiginous ears. The absence of a light microscopic morphologic correlate for vestibular disturbances associated with ISSHL suggests that the symptoms could result from ultrastructural changes in the hair cells and their synapses or from biochemical alterations in their environment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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