To perform a systematic review of sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) in hematologic malignancy; to describe an illustrative case of urgent cochlear implantation for bilateral profound SNHL and vestibular hypofunction in hyperviscosity syndrome; to suggest an approach to management of hyperviscosity syndrome-associated deafness with cochlear implantation.
Following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines, systematic search of PubMed and Embase databases was undertaken for articles detailing clinical information about SNHL caused directly by hematologic malignancies.
A total of 37 studies from 1989 to 2020 were qualitatively reviewed, the majority of which were case studies or case series. Causes of hearing loss in hematologic malignancy were found to include hyperviscosity syndrome, labyrinthine hemorrhage, infiltration, and infection. Patients with profound SNHL in hematologic malignancies from hyperviscosity syndrome may be candidates for cochlear implantation, and are also at increased risk for cochlear ossification. We review previous cases for their diagnostic approach, treatment paradigm, and outcomes data, and propose an approach to management.
Bilateral sudden profound SNHL and vestibular hypofunction is a presenting symptom of hyperviscosity syndrome in hematologic malignancy. Although this entity is rare and previous reports have suggested improvement in hearing with oncologic treatment, cases with profound hearing loss are unlikely to recover serviceable hearing. We advocate for early magnetic resonance imaging with attention to fluid signal in the inner ear and serial audiometric follow-up to guide clinical decisions. We advise early consideration for cochlear implantation.