Non-organic hearing loss: new and confirmed findings

Holenweg, Alexandra; Kompis, Martin (2010). Non-organic hearing loss: new and confirmed findings. European archives of oto-rhino-laryngology, 267(8), pp. 1213-9. Berlin: Springer-Verlag 10.1007/s00405-010-1218-y

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Although non-organic hearing losses are relatively rare, it is important to identify suspicious findings early to be able to administer specific tests, such as objective measurements and specific counseling. In this retrospective study, we searched for findings that were specific ti or typical for non-organic hearing losses. Patient records from a 6 year period (2003-2008) from the University ENT Department of Bern, Switzerland, were reviewed. In this period, 40 subjects were diagnosed with a non-organic hearing loss (22 children, ages 7-16, mean 10.6 years; 18 adults, ages 19-57, mean 39.7 years; 25 females and 15 males). Pure tone audiograms in children and adults showed predominantly sensorineural and frequency-independent hearing losses, mostly in the range of 40-60 dB. In all cases, objective measurements (otoacoustic emissions and/or auditory-evoked potentials) indicated normal or substantially better hearing thresholds than those found in pure tone audiometry. In nine subjects (22.5%; 2 children, 7 adults), hearing aids had been fitted before the first presentation at our center. Six children (27%) had a history of middle ear problems with a transient hearing loss and 11 (50%) knew a person with a hearing loss. Two new and hitherto unreported findings emerged from the analysis: it was observed that a small air-bone gap of 5-20 dB was typical for non-organic hearing losses and that speech audiometry might show considerably poorer results than expected from pure tone audiometry.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders (ENT)

UniBE Contributor:

Kompis, Martin








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Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:10

Last Modified:

22 Jul 2020 08:51

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URI: (FactScience: 203216)

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