Objectives: To discuss the diagnosis and management of children with fluctuating sensorineural hearing loss, especially focusing on those problems dealing with autoimmune inner ear disease. Study Design: A retrospective chart review of a large pediatric otolaryngology practice. A series of 40 children with progressive hearing losses was identified. Of that group, 22 children, aged 1.5 to 12.2 years at first audiogram, were considered to have fluctuating sensorineural hearing loss (FSNHL). Criteria for inclusion in the FSNHL group were threshold variations of 15 dB or more in at least one ear at two or more of the standard audiometric frequencies on at least 2 testing days. Methods: Charts were reviewed for age, sex, otologic history, laboratory evaluations, medical or surgical treatments, significant medical history, and family medical history. Results: Twenty-two children met the criteria for fluctuating sensorineural hearing loss. Of those with fluctuating hearing loss, 15 were idiopathic, 3 had positive lymphocyte transformation tests (LTT) suggestive of autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED), and 4 had fistula on middle ear exploration. Average fluctuation for all groups was 29.1 dB. Average duration of fluctuations was 4.95 years. Conclusions: The majority of pediatric FSNHL cases (15 of 22) were idiopathic in nature. Of those FSNHL children with positive LTTs, only one was treated with steroid therapy. In the other patients with positive LTTs, parents or other physicians were often reluctant to treat, or the patient was lost to follow-up. Mean fluctuations varied substantially across all standard audiometric frequencies for all groups.
- Autoimmune inner ear disease
- Fluctuating sensorineural hearing loss
- Lymphocyte transformation test
- Perilymph fistula
- Western blot for hsp 70
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