, Volume 28, Issue 5, pp 413-417
Date: 26 Sep 2007

High-frequency sensorineural hearing loss in patients with ankylosing spondylitis: is it an extrarticuler feature of disease?

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The aim of this study was to investigate the ear involvement, especially at extended higher frequencies than those previously studied, in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS).

Patients and methods

We prospectively evaluated 45 consecutive patients with AS. All patients underwent a complete physical examination of the ear, nose, and throat and an audiologic evaluation that included pure-tone audiometry at conventional and extended high frequencies, the determination of a speech discrimination score and the uncomfortable loudness level, and impedance audiometry. Thirty healthy volunteers were included as controls.


The mean age of the patients was 39.6 ± 9.1 years (range 19–63 years) and that of the controls was 10.6 ± 8.1 years (range 1–30 years). There was no statistically significant difference between the two groups with respect to conventional frequency air conduction threshold and bone conduction threshold. There was a statistically significant difference at 14,000–16,000 Hz at extended high frequencies in 32 patients with AS (71.1%) versus 12 controls (40%). At 14,000–16,000 Hz, eight patients demonstrated a sensorineural hearing loss caused by extraspinal involvement. There was a significant difference between the patients with or without extraspinal involvement, and a positive correlation was noted between the duration of disease and the hearing level at 10,000–16,000 Hz.


Sensorineural hearing loss, especially at extended high frequencies, is common in patients with AS and may be an extra-articular feature of that disease. A long duration of disease and extraspinal involvement are important parameters for ear involvement in patients with AS.