Patterns of Extended High-frequency Hearing Loss Following Stapes Surgery

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Abstract

Objective:

Thresholds in the extended high-frequency (EHF) range (> 8 kHz) often worsen after otherwise successful stapedectomy. The aims of this study were to document the prevalence of hearing loss from 0.25 to 16 kHz after stapedectomy and the relative rates of transient and permanent EHF hearing loss.

Study Design:

Prospective, observational, longitudinal.

Setting:

Tertiary referral center.

Patients:

Thirty-nine patients who underwent 44 primary or revision stapes surgeries.

Intervention:

Hearing thresholds were measured at 0.25 to 16 kHz preoperatively, and at approximately 1 week, 1, 3, 6, and 12 months postoperatively.

Main Outcome Measures:

Average threshold changes in bands of frequencies (0.25–1, 2–8, 9–11.2, 12.5–16 kHz) and the percentage of patients with a change in the highest frequency at which a hearing threshold could be measured were evaluated at each assessment.

Results:

A mean hearing loss was documented in the EHF range at all postoperative assessments. There was a decrease in the highest frequency at which a hearing threshold was measureable in 77% of patients at the first postoperative assessment, and despite some improvement over time, in 50% of patients 12 months postoperatively.

Conclusion:

There is a significant incidence of EHF loss after stapedectomy. Although partial recovery often occurs, more than half of patients retain an EHF hearing loss 12 months postoperatively. As hearing loss in the EHF range is more common than loss at 4 kHz, EHF measurements may be a more sensitive model to compare surgical factors and evaluate pharmacologic interventions.

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