What is the pathophysiology of sudden hearing loss?

Updated: Aug 28, 2019
  • Author: Neeraj N Mathur, MBBS, MS, DNB(ENT), MNAMS, FAMS; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Answer

The postulated pathophysiology for idiopathic sudden sensory hearing loss (ISSHL) has 4 theoretical pathways, as follows:

  • Labyrinthine viral infection

  • Labyrinthine vascular compromise

  • Intracochlear membrane ruptures

  • Immune-mediated inner ear disease.

A disease process involving any of these theoretical possibilities could have sudden hearing loss as a symptom. Each theory may explain a fraction of the episodes of sudden sensory hearing loss, but none of the existing theories individually could account for all episodes.


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