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Is Preeclampsia a New Risk Factor for Cochlear Damage and Hearing Loss?

Baylan, Muzeyyen Yildirim*; Kuyumcuoglu, Umur; Kale, Ahmet; Celik, Yusuf; Topcu, Ismail*

doi: 10.1097/MAO.0b013e3181edb6eb

Objective: We investigated whether preeclampsia is a risk factor for cochlear damage and permanent hearing loss.

Study Design: Prospective case-control study design.

Setting: Academic tertiary medical center.

Patients: Subjects included 40 patients with preeclampsia and 30 healthy pregnant women.

Interventions: Otoscopic examinations and pure-tone audiometry, tympanometry, otoacoustic emissions (OAEs), and stapedial reflex tests were conducted for all subjects. Negative audiologic tests were reevaluated after the postpartum period. Statistical analyses were performed using χ2 and binary logistic regression testing.

Main Outcome Measures: We searched for signs of middle ear ventilation, damage of cochlea, and sensorineural hearing loss.

Results: Eight patients from the preeclampsia group had 1 or more otological problems. Two patients from the control group were determined as having otological problems. Otoacoustic emissions of the right and left ears (p = 0.029, p = 0.044), hearing levels of right and left ear bone conduction (BC) at the 500-Hz frequency (right and left-BC 500), and left ear at the 2,000-Hz frequency (left-BC 2000) differed significantly between the preeclampsia and control groups (p = 0.040, p = 0.003, and p = 0.003). There was no significant difference in the OAEs between the right and left ears in the preeclampsia group (p < 0.05). The variables BC 500-left, BC 500-right, OAE-right, and OAE-left differed significantly between groups based on binary logistic testing. The odds ratio and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) for these 4 risk variables were as follows: BC 500-left, 1.167 (1.044-1.306); BC 500-right, 1.117 (1.002-1.244); OAE-right, 0.642 (0.505-0.815); and OAE-left, 0.576 (0.475-0.698), respectively.

Conclusion: Preeclampsia is a risk factor for cochlear damage and permanent hearing loss. Even if preeclampsia resolves after delivery, cochlear damage and permanent hearing loss remain unchanged in patients with preeclampsia.

Departments of *Otolaryngology, †Obstetrics-Gynecology, and ‡Biostatistics, Dicle University Faculty of Medicine, Diyarbakir, Turkey

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Muzeyyen Yildirim Baylan, M.D., Department of Otolaryngology, Dicle University Faculty of Medicine, Diyarbakir, Turkey; E-mail:

© 2010 Otology & Neurotology, Inc.