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Is There a Relation Between Acoustic Trauma or Noise-Induced Hearing Loss and a Subsequent Appearance of Ménière's Disease?: An Epidemiologic Study of 17,245 Cases and a Review of the Literature

Segal, Samuel; Eviatar, Ephraim; Berenholz, Leonard; Kessler, Alexander; Shlamkovitch, Nathan


Objective To explore whether acute acoustic trauma or noise-induced hearing loss may cause the later development of Ménière's Disease.

Study Design Retrospective search of a military medical data bank.

Setting Medical records of 17,245 Israel Defense Force veterans who were recognized as being disabled as a result of acoustic trauma or noise-induced hearing loss.

Patients Eleven cases of late-onset Ménière's Disease were retrieved from these files.

Main Outcome Measures Documented symptoms and audiograms.

Results Eleven of the 17,425 veterans appeared to have typical Ménière's Disease. Their symptoms included attacks of vertigo, lasting between half an hour and a few hours and no more than 24 hours; the sensation of aural fullness; and tinnitus accompanied by a fluctuating or permanent low-tone hearing loss. Four of the 11 patients had a documented previous noise-induced hearing loss, and the remaining 7 had experienced acute acoustic trauma. The Ménière's Disease was bilateral in three cases. The average period between the first documented hearing loss and the onset of Ménière's Disease was 15.8 years (standard deviation, ± 6.6 years). This yielded a prevalence of 1.9:100,000 of Ménière's Disease in a population with acoustic trauma or noise-induced hearing loss—a figure comparable to that in the general population.

Conclusions No support was found for the hypothesis that Ménière's Disease may be causally related to previous acoustic trauma or noise-induced hearing loss.

Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, affiliated to the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Israel

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Samuel Segal, Department of Otolaryngology, Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, Zerifin, Israel 70300; Email:

© 2003 Otology & Neurotology, Inc.