Sensorineural hearing loss secondary to otitis media

Henrique F. Pauna, Rafael C. Monsanto

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Otitis media is an inflammatory condition of the ear, frequently associated to an infection (viral or bacterial). The most frequent type of hearing loss caused by this disease is the conductive, due to effusion in the middle ear and/or erosions of the ossicular chain. Nonetheless, several reports demonstrate sensorineural hearing loss secondary to acute episodes of otitis media, or throughout the course of chronic otitis media. It is the most common infection of the childhood, but the incidence is also high in other age groups. Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Moraxella catarrhalis are the most frequent bacteria to cause otitis media. The extracranial (e.g., facial nerve paresis, labyrinthitis, mastoiditis, and petrositis), and the suppurative intracranial complications (e.g., brain abscess, epidural abscess, meningitis, hydrocephalus, lateral sinus thrombosis, sinus cavernous thrombosis, subdural abscess/empyema, cerebellitis, labyrinth sclerosis) are the most feared complications of otitis media. Diagnosis is achieved with proper clinical history and examination; audiograms and tympanograms demonstrate and classify the presence and degree of hearing loss. Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging could be used during the evaluation of the patients, especially when a complication is suspected. The physiopathologic mechanism leading to the sensorineural hearing loss is the passage of toxins, bacteria, and inflammatory mediators through the round window membrane to the cochlea. Inflammatory damage of the sensory elements in the basal turn of the cochlea has been previously demonstrated in human studies. Antibiotic therapy is the preconized treatment for otitis media, but patients can develop hearing loss even when under adequate treatment. Thus, our objective is to review the concepts of otitis media, focusing on the bacteriology, diagnosis, and to highlight the inflammatory mechanisms leading to the sensorineural hearing loss secondary to this pathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHearing Loss
Subtitle of host publicationEtiology, Management and Societal Implications
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781536104035
ISBN (Print)9781536103915
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Nova Science Publishers, Inc.


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