Lateralized Auditory Symptoms in Central Neuroaudiology Disorder

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Abstract

Many individuals with central auditory nervous system (CANS) pathology/disorder report a variety of auditory symptoms with difficulty hearing in noise being one of the most common complaints (Chermak and Musiek, 1992) Interestingly, there seems to be a paucity of information in the literature on lateralized hearing loss symptoms in patients with central auditory disorders. Reported here is a case where the patient reported auditory symptoms, specifically hearing loss that was lateralized distinctly to the right ear. This ear was contralateral to a stroke that involved the left hemisphere with neural compromise limited primarily to the left Heschl's gyrus. Although the patient reported other hearing difficulties, the lateralized symptom of right-sided hearing loss seemed to be the most noticed. While the pure-tone audiogram was totally disassociated from the right ear auditory symptoms, central auditory tests revealed a marked and consistent right ear deficit, which was consistent with the site of lesion. It is rare that a relatively small lesion in Heschl's gyrus results in the perception of hearing loss so specifically localized to the right ear. It is also of interest that a patient with definite complaints of hearing loss would yield a normal, highly symmetrical pure-tone audiogram. The triad of patient symptoms, anatomy of the lesion, and central auditory test findings in this case are discussed, and theories as to possible underlying mechanisms for the patient's auditory deficits are provided.

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