Bony cochlear nerve canal stenosis and speech discrimination in pediatric unilateral hearing loss

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The Laryngoscope


OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: To examine the relationship between bony cochlear nerve canal (BCNC) width, degree of hearing loss, and speech discrimination in children with unilateral sensorineural hearing loss (USNHL).

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective chart review (case-control study).

METHODS: Audiometric database was cross-referenced with radiologic database at pediatric tertiary care facility to identify children with USNHL and temporal bone computed tomography. BCNC widths were measured independently by two radiologists blinded to affected ear. Regression analyses investigated associations among variables.

RESULTS: One hundred and sixty children with USNHL had temporal bone imaging. Mean BCNC width was significantly smaller in affected ears, P = 0.0001. Narrower width was associated with more severe hearing loss, P = 0.01. Among children who had narrower cochlear nerve canals in affected ears compared to unaffected ears, smaller width was associated with lower speech discrimination score, P = 0.03. Increasing asymmetry in BCNC width between affected and unaffected ears was associated with poorer discrimination scores, P = 0.02. Among ears with asymmetrically smaller cochlear nerve canals, a 1-mm reduction in cochlear canal width between the normal and affected ear was associated with 30.4% lower word recognition score percentage in the affected ear, P = < 0.001.

CONCLUSION: There is a significant association between BCNC stenosis and impaired speech discrimination, independent of degree of hearing loss. Further investigation is needed to determine whether BCNC stenosis is a poor prognostic factor for auditory rehabilitation.

Medical Subject Headings

Adolescent; Audiometry; Child; Child, Preschool; Cochlear Nerve; Constriction, Pathologic; Female; Follow-Up Studies; Hearing Loss, Sensorineural; Hearing Loss, Unilateral; Humans; Infant; Infant, Newborn; Male; Retrospective Studies; Speech Perception; Temporal Bone; Tomography, X-Ray Computed; Young Adult

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