Cervicogenic Hearing Loss

This section is compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
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FROM: HNO 1994 (Oct);   42 (10):   604613

Hulse M

Abteilung fur Phoniatrie,
Padaudiologie und Neurootologie,
Fakultat fur Klinische Medizin Mannheim,
Universitat Heidelberg

Existing investigations of cervical hearing disorders have been carried out predominantly in patients in whom those with vertebrobasilar insufficiencies (VBI) could not be distinguished from patients suffering from functional deficit of the upper cervical spine. Since two different syndromes exist, no statement can be made about cervical hearing disorders. That deafness can occur in VBI is uncontested. In contrast, there remains a dispute whether a "vertebragenic hearing disorder" exists. This latter disorder is believed accompanied by tinnitus, a feeling of ear pressure, otalgia and deafness as symptoms of a functional deficit of the upper cervical spine. In reviewing the medical findings of 259 patients with well-defined functional deficits of the upper cervical spine and symptoms of cervical vertigo, subjective hearing disorders occurred in 15%. Audiometric threshold shifts of 5-25 dB, most often in lower frequencies, were observed in 40%. Additionally, results of click-evoked otoacoustic emissions (OAE) were negative in spite of approximately normal hearing. Findings in 62 patients suffering from vertebragenic hearing disorders are reported before and after chiropractic management. Results indicate that these hearing disorders are reversible, as demonstrated by audiometry and OAE. The therapy of choice is chiropractic manipulation of the upper cervical spine. The commoness of vertebragenic hearing disorders emphasizes their clinical and forensic importance.

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