SYMPOSIUM: VALUE AND COST ANALYSIS OF RECENT EAR TESTS. CONSIDERATIONS IN CLINICAL APPLICATION OF ELECTROCOCHLEOGRAPHY IN 1978

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Abstract

The role of electrocochleography as a practical clinical tool in the evaluation of otologic disorders is discussed with examples drawn from the author's experience. The current use of electrocochleography may be divided into three categories: 1. It may be used to assess peripheral auditory function in children or patients with neurologic or psychiatric disorders that preclude valid behavioral audiometry. 2. It may be used to determine the sites of auditory dysfunction. 3. It is used to study various forms of sensorineural hearing loss, such as Meniere's disease, vestibular schwannoma, idiopathic sudden hearing loss, and presbycusis, in which reliable behavioral audiometry is usually possible. In the first two categories, electrocochleography provides important clinical information of high validity with low risk so that objective therapeutic decisions can be made concerning amplification and habilitation of a hearing-handicapped patient. In some cases this information may not be achievable in any other way. For the third category, however, although interesting and potentially useful adjunctive data can be obtained, rational diagnostic and therapeutic decisions can usually be made without electrocochleographic data. As more patients with these disorders are studied with electrocochleography on a research basis, it is possible that the pathophysiology of some of the more vexing otologic disorders will become clearer. Perhaps in the future the need for differential diagnostic information will justify the routine clinical application of electrocochleography in some of these disorders.

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