Three-Year Ear, Nose, and Throat Cross-sectional Analysis of Audiometric Protocols for Magnetic Resonance Imaging Screening of Acoustic Tumors

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(1) Evaluate audiometric protocols and recommend protocols with best sensitivity and specificity for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) screening of acoustic tumors; (2) determine clinical risks (false negative) of missing acoustic tumors and potential wastes in screening (false positive) nonacoustic tumors or radiologically “normal” cases; and (3) identify the decibel difference and range of frequencies compared by the best-performing protocols.

Study Design.

Cross-sectional study with chart review.


Ear, nose, and throat (ENT); audiology; and radiology departments in a tertiary-care hospital.

Subjects and Methods.

Three-year cohort (2006-2009) of 1751 ENT patients underwent MRI screening and pure-tone audiometry indicating sensorineural hearing loss. Audiometric protocols were ranked by highest sensitivity to acoustic tumors, specificity A to nonacoustic tumors, and specificity B to “radiologically normal” cases.


No audiometric protocols achieved 100% sensitivity or specificity rates. Only 2 protocols achieved ≥90% sensitivity: the AMCLASS-A-Urben protocol (93.16%) and the Mangham protocol (91.58%). Eleven of 15 protocols for specificity A and 12 of 15 protocols for specificity B achieved ≥50%. Clinical risks ranged from 6.84% to 18.95%, whereas potential wastes ranged from 33.56% to 68.37% for specificity A and 31.76% to 66.86% for specificity B. Interaural difference parameters indicating highest mean sensitivity were on the order of ≥10 dB, ≥15 dB, and ≥20 dB. For frequency comparison parameters, “2 or more adjacent frequency” and “singlefrequency” comparison indicated higher mean sensitivity than the “averaged multifrequency” comparison. Mean specificity showed an opposite pattern.


For optimum sensitivity, the Mangham protocol is preferred (sensitivity, 91.58%; specificity A, 44.23%; specificity B, 44.91%), which proposes a ≥10-dB interaural difference, averaging 1 to 8 kHz. For optimum specificity, the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery protocol is preferred (sensitivity, 87.37%; specificity A, 65.38%; specificity B, 66.04%), which proposes ≥15 dB between ears, averaging 0.5 to 3 kHz.

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