Sudden sensorineural hearing loss in children: Etiology, management, and outcome

Jacob Pitaro*, Avital Bechor-Fellner, Haim Gavriel, Tal Marom, Ephraim Eviatar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and objectives: Pediatric sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) is uncommon, and the current guidelines for its management refer to adults. Our objective was to review cases of SSNHL in children and examine their etiologies, management, and outcome. Methods: We performed a retrospective chart review of all children under the age of 18 years treated for SSNHL between January 2003 and September 2014. Data recorded included age, gender, symptoms, onset of hearing loss, audiometric results, diagnostic studies, treatment, and outcome. Results: Nineteen children were included. Mean age was 14 years (range 7-18 years). Male: female ratio was 9:10. Degree of hearing loss varied from mild to profound across the tested frequencies. Most common accompanying symptom was tinnitus. Serologic tests demonstrated recent Epstein-Barr virus infection in one patient and previous cytomegalovirus infection in six patients. Imaging studies included computed tomography scan (n = 3) and/or magnetic resonance imaging (n = 12). All imaging studies did not demonstrate any pathology. Treatment included systemic steroids in 19 (100%) children and intratympanic steroids in eight (42%). Hearing completely improved in three (16%) children, partially improved in nine (47%), and there was no improvement in six (32%). One child was lost to follow-up. Conclusions: Viral infection was a common finding in children with SSNHL and no pathological changes were demonstrated on imaging studies. In most patients (63%), hearing improvement was observed. Intratympanic steroid injection can benefit these children. Further studies are required to investigate the etiologies and establish guidelines for the management of SSNHL in children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-37
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • Child
  • Hearing loss
  • Injection
  • Intratympanic
  • Sensorineural
  • Steroids


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