Ahead of Print: Long-term Auditory Symptoms in Patients With Sporadic Vestibular Schwannoma

BACKGROUND: There are limited data on the long-term auditory symptoms in patients with sporadic small- and medium-sized vestibular schwannoma (VS). The initial treatment strategy for VS is controversial.

OBJECTIVE: To characterize auditory symptoms in a large cohort of patients with VS.

METHODS: Patients with <=3 cm VS who underwent primary microsurgery, gamma knife surgery, or observation between 1998 and 2008 at 2 independent hospitals were identified. Clinical data were extracted from existing VS databases. At a mean time of 7.7 years after initial treatment, patients were surveyed via mail with the use of the Hearing Handicap Inventory for Adults (HHIA) and the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory.

RESULTS: The response rate was 79%; a total of 539 respondents were analyzed. Overall, the hearing prognosis was poor, because more than 75% of all patients had nonserviceable hearing at the last clinical follow-up. Good baseline hearing proved to be a strong predictor for maintained serviceable hearing. Treatment modality was independently associated with both audiometric outcome and HHIA results. Active treatment with microsurgery or gamma knife surgery did not appear to be protective, because patients who were observed had the greatest probability of durable hearing. Patients in the surgical series had the greatest hearing loss. Tinnitus Handicap Inventory results were less predictable. The only predictors of tinnitus handicap were age and HHIA score.

CONCLUSION: The overall prognosis for hearing in sporadic VS is poor regardless of treatment strategy. Treatment modality was an independent predictor of hearing status; observation was associated with the highest rate of hearing preservation.

From: Long-term Auditory Symptoms in Patients With Sporadic Vestibular Schwannoma: An International Cross-Sectional Study by Tveiten et al.

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