Lyme Disease Associated With Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss: Case Report and Literature Review

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Abstract

Objective

Is sudden sensorineural hearing loss associated with Lyme disease in adults?

Study Design

A retrospective case report and a systematic literature search in PubMed and Embase were performed.

Results

We describe a patient presenting with sudden sensorineural hearing loss, followed by a facial paralysis, which could be attributed to Lyme disease confirmed by positive serology and a positive immunoblot. She was successfully treated with ceftriaxone, with recovery of the facial paralysis, although no recovery of the hearing loss was observed. A systematic literature search resulted in 4 relevant and valid articles revealing that confirmed positive serology for Borrelia burgdorferi varies from 0% to 21.3%, suggesting active Lyme disease as a cause in patients with sudden sensorineural hearing loss. Two studies demonstrated a significantly higher incidence of confirmed positive serology for Borrelia burgdorferi as compared with the incidence in the general local population.

Conclusion

Literature suggests that sudden sensorineural hearing loss may coincide with Borrelia burgdorferi infection. A higher incidence of confirmed positive serology for Borrelia burgdorferi in patients with sudden deafness seems to be depending on the country and on the tests used to confirm Lyme disease. This should be taken into account if serologic testing for Lyme disease in patients with sudden deafness is considered.

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