The Ear in the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome: II. Clinical and Audiologic Investigation

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Patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) were investigated to determine the sites, nature, and severity of any otologic abnormalities. Tinnitus, “muffled” or “echoing” hearing, and vertigo were frequent complaints. Eight percent of the 155 patients studied showed evidence of chronic otitis media, usually with effusion. Mostly mild, but occasionally severe sensorineural hearing loss was found in many, affecting more severely the higher and lower frequencies than the middle range. Almost all patients showed diminished otoacoustic emissions, suggesting cochlear dysfunction resulting from infection or ototoxicity as the basis for the hearing loss. Impairment of the otoacoustic emissions by a subclinical otitis media with effusion cannot, however, be excluded. On the basis of this study it is suggested that the provision of otologic care to patients with AIDS may enhance their quality of life and, by the early detection and treatment of severe otitis media, may even prolong life.

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