Hearing and Mortality Outcomes following Temporal Bone Fractures

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The aim of this article is to determine hearing and mortality outcomes following temporal bone fractures. Retrospective chart review was performed of 152 patients diagnosed with a temporal bone fracture presenting to the emergency room at a tertiary care referral center over a 10-year period. Utilizing Patients' previously obtained temporal bone computed tomographic scans and audiograms, fractures were classified based on several classification schemes. Correlations between fracture patterns, mortality, and hearing outcomes were analyzed using χ2 tests. Ossicular chain disruption was seen in 11.8% of patients, and otic capsule violation was seen in 5.9%; 22.7% of patients presented for audiologic follow-up. Seventeen patients with conductive hearing loss had air-bone gaps of 26 ± 7.5 dB (500 Hz), 27 ± 6.8 dB (1,000 Hz), 18 ± 6.2 dB (2,000 Hz), and 32 ± 7.7 dB (4,000 Hz). Two cases of profound sensorineural hearing loss were associated with otic capsule violation. No fracture classification scheme was predictive of hearing loss, although longitudinal fractures were statistically associated with ossicular chain disruption (p < 0.01). Temporal bone fractures in patients older than 60 years carried a relative risk of death of 3.15 compared with those younger than 60 years. The average magnitude of conductive hearing loss resulting from temporal bone fracture ranged from 18 to 32 dB in this cohort. Classification of fracture type was not predictive of hearing loss, despite the statistical association between ossicular chain disruption and longitudinal fractures. This finding may be due to the low follow-up rates of this patient population. Physicians should make a concerted effort to ensure that audiological monitoring is executed to prevent and manage long-term hearing impairment.

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