Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) is most commonly idiopathic, and is seen relatively frequently in ENT practice. Recovery spans a period of around 1-2 months, and ultimate outcomes are highly variable, from complete recovery to no detectable hearing. Although the evidence for its use is not strong, administration of systemic and / or intratympanic steroid is standard practice. Reports of patient factors influencing recovery following SSNHL are mixed. The authors performed a retrospective regression analysis on the audiometric outcomes of 781 patients treated for idiopathic SSNHL, controlling for gender, age, pretreatment hearing, treatment delay and comorbidities. The results indicated significantly higher likelihood of significant recovery of hearing in: better pre-treatment hearing, prompter treatment, and absence of diabetes mellitus and hypercholesterolaemia. The study shows associations between various patient factors and the prognosis in idiopathic SSNHL, with data from a large sample of patients. This is helpful in risk-stratifying such patients, and also adds weight to the hypothesis that there is an angiopathic factor behind the condition. The cochlear blood supply is precarious, increasing its sensitivity to macro- and microangiopathy. 

Effect of comorbid diabetes and hypercholesterolemia on the prognosis of idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss.
Lin CF, Lee KJ, Yu SS, Lin YS.
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Thomas Jacques

Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital, London, UK.

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