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Neuroimage. 2013 Jan 1;64:356-64. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.09.002. Epub 2012 Sep 8.

Neuromagnetic index of hemispheric asymmetry predicting long-term outcome in sudden hearing loss.

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Department of Otolaryngology, Cheng Hsin General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.


The neuromagnetic index of hemispheric asymmetry in terms of ipsilateral/contralateral ratio at acute stage was previously revealed to prognosticate the 1-month hearing outcome of acute unilateral idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (ISSNHL), showing a dynamic relationship between top- and down-levels of auditory pathway. However, the prognostic effect of reorganization pattern for the long-term results remained elusive. This study aimed to probe the prognosticating relevance of hemispheric asymmetry to the hearing at chronic stage of ISSNHL. Using magnetoencephalography (MEG), inter-hemispheric differences in peak dipole of N100m responses to monaural tones were evaluated in 21 controls and 21 ISSNHL patients at initial and final (12 months later) stages. Predictive value of hemispheric asymmetry was assessed by correlating hearing level and ipsilateral/contralateral ratio (I/C) of N100m latency and amplitude. Healthy-side dominance of N100m was observed in ISSNHL initially, and remained in three final prognostic subgroups (complete, partial, and no recovery) of ISSNHL. The initial I/C(amplitude) on affected-ear stimulation strongly correlated with the hearing level of final stage in ISSNHL. However, there was no prognostic effect of hemispheric asymmetry pattern for the 12-month hearing improvement. The heterogeneity between neuromagnetic index and hearing levels possibly echoed different pathogeneses of ISSNHL. Since a restored hearing status did not necessarily lead toward a normal functional organization, the dynamics of hemispheric asymmetry could actually index a central resilient reorganization in the brain for sound processing in ISSNHL. Our finding showed not only a clinically relevant measure to predict final hearing of ISSNHL, but also a linkage between central plasticity and cochlear lesion. This finding suggests a new perspective, and perhaps new interventions, to diagnose and treat unilateral ISSNHL.

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