Five cases of sensorineural hearing loss are presented in which partial or complete recovery of hearing occurred after periods of deafness lasting from three months to more than five years. Three of the cases were diagnosed as Meniere's disease, one as sudden deafness of probable viral origin, and one as idiopathic sudden deafness.
A review of the literature reveals brief mention of only a few similar cases, although it is suspected that the phenomenon is not as rare as these isolated reports suggest.
It is proposed on the basis of experimental work in animals that the reversible deafness in these patients may be due to temporary obstruction of capillaries in the stria vascularis, which produces strial hypoxia resulting in a reduction in the endolymphatic potential, with consequent hearing loss.
© 1982, The American Journal of Otology, Inc.