The prognostic value of the otoacoustic emission test in low frequency sudden hearing loss

  • Andrea Canale
  • Michelangelo Lacilla
  • Carlo Giordano
  • Alice De Sanctis
  • Roberto Albera


Low frequency sudden hearing loss (LFSHL) is a frequent finding in the otological practice. Several prognostic indicators have been suggested concerning the prediction of the outcome of sudden hearing loss, but so far there are no proven factors to establish the prognosis. The aim of this study was to assess whether OAEs could be considered as a reliable prognostic test in LFSHL. The study group consisted of 20 patients presenting with a unilateral LFSHL. Each patient was submitted to spontaneous otoacoustic emissions (SOAEs), transient otoacoustic emissions (TEOAEs) and distortion products (DPOAEs) recording and then treated with glycerol administrated intravenously in 3-h intervals for 4 days. Pure tone audiometry (PTA) threshold was evaluated again 1 h after the last administration of glycerol. After osmotic therapy 12 patients (60%) showed a significant PTA improvement with a mean improvement of 11 dB; modifications were significant at the Student’s t test for paired data (P<0.0001). The relationship between the pretherapy presence or absence of SOAEs, TEOAEs and DPOAEs and PTA modification was not significant at the exact Fisher’s test. In conclusion, even if our study supports that OAEs could be an indicator of the inner ear functional state, they cannot be utilized as a prognostic test in LFSHL in relation to the efficacy of osmotic therapy. Among the other parameters evaluated, only the precocity of therapy seems to be related to prognosis in LFSHL.


Sudden hearing loss Low frequency hearing loss Otoacoustic emissions Endolymphatic hydrops 


  1. 1.
    Albera R, Cavalot A, Musto R, Fadda GL, Staffieri A, Di Girolamo S (2001) Tympanic displacement analyser tracing modifications induced by glicerol in Meniere’s disease. Audiology 40:185–190PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Albera R, Giordano L, Rosso P, Ricca G, Ferrero V (1999) Modificazione dei prodotti di distorsione dopo affaticamento uditivo. Otorinolaringol 49:125–130Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Byl FM (1984) Sudden hearing loss: 8-year experience and suggested prognostic table. Laryngoscope 94:647–661PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Culpepper B (1997) Neonatal screening via evoked otoacoustic emissions. In: Robinette MS, Glattke TJ (eds) Otoacoustic emissions: clinical applications. Thieme, New York, pp 233–270Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Lalaki P, Markou K, Tsalighopoulos GM, Daniilidis I (2001) Transiently evoked otoacoustic emissions as a prognostic indicator in idiopathic sudden hearing loss. Scand Audiol 30 [Suppl]:52141–52145Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Lonsbury Martin BL, Whitehead ML, Martin GK (1991) Clinical applications of otoacoustic emissions. J Speech Hear Res 34:964–981PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Martin GK, Probst R, Scheinin SA, Coats AC, Lonsbury-Martin BL (1990) Acoustic distortion products in rabbits. Sites of origin revealed by suppression and pure tone exposure. Hear Res 28:29–44Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Monsell EM, Balkany TA, Gates GA, et al (1995) Committee on hearing and equilibrium guidelines for the diagnosis and evaluation of therapy in Meniere’s disease. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 113:181–185PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Robinette M (1992) Clinical observations with transient-evoked otoacoustic emissions with adults. Sem Hear 13:23–36Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Russolo M, Bianchi M (1997) Treatment of sudden hearing loss. Acta Otorhinolaryngol Ital 17:319–324PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Sakasita T, Minowa Y, Hachikawa K, Kubo T, Nakai Y (1991) Evoked otoacoustic emissions from ears with idiopathic sudden deafness. Acta Otolaryngol [Stockh, Suppl] 48:66–72Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Zadeh MH, Storper IS, Spitzer JB (2003) Diagnosis and treatment of sudden-onset sensorineural hearing loss: a study of 51 patients. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surgery 128:92–98Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Canale
    • 1
  • Michelangelo Lacilla
    • 2
  • Carlo Giordano
    • 2
  • Alice De Sanctis
    • 2
  • Roberto Albera
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Medico-Surgical Sciences, Section of AudiologyTurinItaly
  2. 2.Department of Clinical Physiopathology, Section of ENTUniversity of TurinTurinItaly
  3. 3.Str. S. Anna 78 bisTurinItaly

Personalised recommendations