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Otorhinolaryngology 2021 June;71(2):91-4

DOI: 10.23736/S2724-6302.20.02328-0


language: English

Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL) diagnostic delay during COVID-19 pandemic: a single-center retrospective study

Massimo CAMPAGNOLI, Michele CERASUOLO, Giorgio ARENA, Andrea TOSO, Giovanni BORELLO, Massimiliano GARZARO , Paolo ALUFFI VALLETTI

ENT Division, University of Eastern Piedmont, Novara, Italy

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic caused a diagnostic delay in various conditions, including sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL). The aim of this study was to investigate whether during the COVID-19 emergency period patients with a diagnosis of SSHL received a late diagnosis and if any delay resulted in a worse post-therapy outcome.
METHODS: A retrospective study was conducted. Patients who received a diagnosis of SSHL during COVID-19 period and in the same period of the previous year were identified (control group); demographic and clinical data, values of the tonal threshold at the time of diagnosis (T0) and after therapy (T1) and the recovery rate were collected.
RESULTS: Sixteen patients of group 1 (control group) and 11 of group 2 (COVID-19 period) met the inclusion criteria. Diagnosis and therapy were performed on average after 1.69 days in group 1, after 5.45 days from the onset of symptoms in group 2 (P=0.0025). After therapy, the audiometric control examination showed an average threshold recovery of 26.77 dB in group 1 and 20.53 dB in group 2 (P=0.048). In group 1, 62.5% experienced recovery of the hearing threshold while in group 2 only 36.4% (P=0.252).
CONCLUSIONS: Despite therapy starting time was inevitably different in analyzed groups, diagnostic delay during COVID-19 emergency period resulted in a reduced improvement in the mean tonal threshold after therapy. Our data seems to confirm the hypothesis that early diagnosis and treatment are associated with a higher probability of auditory recovery.

KEY WORDS: COVID-19; Hearing loss, sensorineural; Diagnosis; Quality of life

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