Sensorineural hearing loss of sudden onset may occur without apparent cause. In these cases it is essential to explore underlying diseases. The term “sudden deafness” has been used in two ways: either as a description of symptoms, or to mean idiopathic sudden deafness in which clinical examinations fail to find the cause. In patients with idiopathic sudden deafness, hearing may return spontaneously, or by treatment, may fail to return with treatment, or may show varying degrees of partial recovery. This chapter discusses causes of sudden deafness related to the histopathology of the tectorial membrane. In cases where histopathology points to viral infection as the cause, the clinical diagnosis of idiopathic sudden deafness changes to viral labyrinthitis. Asymptomatic mumps should be considered in cases of sudden deafness. Three studies evaluated IgM levels in patients with sudden deafness and found that 5–7 % were affected by asymptomatic mumps. Histopathological studies of the temporal bones from patients with sudden deafness are essential, but new approaches are needed for more complete understanding of the condition.
KeywordsAsymptomatic mumps Cochlear neuronitis Relapsing polychondritis Sudden deafness Tectorial membrane Viral labyrinthitis
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