Quantitative histologic studies were performed on 15 temporal bones from eight adult persons who were known to have prelingual bilateral profound hearing loss. The pathologic changes are characterized by severe degeneration of the structures of the cochlear duct, often with degeneration of the vestibular sense organs, causing a reparative host response that features osteoneogenesis and fibrous proliferation followed by retrograde neuronal degeneration. The pathology is consistent with meningogenic bacterial or viral labyrinthitis that occurred subclinically or went undiagnosed. Bone and fibrous tissue are present in varying extent in the scala tympani of 12 of the 15 temporal bones. Six cochleae from four subjects with fibro-osseous proliferation in the scala tympani extending as far as the ascending part of the basal turn have neuronal populations ranging from 963 to 5,355 (mean 2,826, 8% of neonatal normal, 35,500). In three cochleae from two subjects with no fibro-osseous proliferation in any area of the scala tympani the neuronal population ranges from 11,322 to 20,484 (mean 15,438, 43% of neonatal normal). Relative to cochlear implantation, computed tomographic imaging provides a means for determining the extent of fibro-osseous proliferation in the scala tympani, which in turn alerts the surgeon to surgical obstacles to optimal implantation as well as providing a basis for judging the extent of loss of cochlear neuronal population.