Patient-Reported Auditory Functions After Stroke of the Central Auditory Pathway

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Background and Purpose—Auditory functional limitations experienced by patients after stroke of the central auditory pathways remain underinvestigated.Purpose—To measure patient-reported hearing difficulties in everyday life in nonaphasic patients with stroke of the auditory brain versus normal control subjects. To examine how hearing difficulties correlate with auditory tests and site of lesion in individual cases.Methods—We recruited 21 individuals with auditory brain stroke (excluding those with aphasia) diagnosed on the basis of a brain MRI conducted 1 to 2 weeks after the stroke and assessed in the chronic stage of stroke. Twenty-three controls matched for age and hearing were also recruited. All subjects completed the Amsterdam Inventory for Auditory Disability (consisting of subscales of sound detection, recognition, localization, speech in quiet, speech in noise) and underwent baseline audiometry and central auditory processing tests (dichotic digits, frequency and duration patterns, gaps in noise).Results—Sound recognition and localization subscores of the inventory were significantly worse in case subjects versus control subjects, with severe and significant functional limitation (z score >3) reported by 9 out of 21 case subjects. None of the inventory subscales correlated with audiometric thresholds, but localization and recognition subscales showed a moderate to strong correlation with dichotic digits (left ear) and pattern tests.Conclusions—A substantial proportion of patients may experience and report severe auditory functional limitations not limited to speech sounds after stroke of the auditory brain. A hearing questionnaire may help identify patients who require more extensive assessment to inform rehabilitation plans.

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