This Turkish retrospective study looked at the radiological and clinical characteristics, prognostic factors and treatment outcomes in children diagnosed with idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (ISSNHL). Forty-eight children were included over an eight-year period. Complete recovery (CR) was achieved in 33/48 patients (69%). Partial recovery (PR) was achieved in 17% of patients, whilst slight recovery was achieved in 10% and there was no recovery in 4% of patients. The hearing recovery rate (CR + PR) was quoted by the authors as 85%. The initial hearing level was significantly lower and hearing gain was significantly higher in the recovery group versus the no recovery group. Vertigo and profound hearing loss on the audiogram were considered negative prognostic factors in terms of hearing recovery. The height and width of the internal auditory canal was not significantly different between the recovery and no recovery groups.
The authors concluded that a low initial hearing level, ascending audiogram, and shorter duration between initial symptoms and initiation of treatment (steroids) were positively associated with hearing recovery.
This is an interesting study on a relatively rare condition and gives us more evidence in order to counsel children and their parents regarding prognosis. It is also reassuring to see that there is a good chance of complete recovery in children if treatment is initiated within an appropriate timeframe.