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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Distortion-product otoacoustic emissions and glycerol testing in endolymphatic hydrops.

OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: Aural fullness is a frequent symptom of endolymphatic hydrops. Its evaluation may provide valuable information on the initial stage of development of endolymphatic hydrops. STUDY DESIGN: The present investigation was specifically designed to ascertain the ability of the glycerol test, combined with pure tone audiometry and distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs) testing, to diagnose endolymphatic hydrops early and to identify patients who may evolve toward Meniere's disease. For these purposes, patients who complained about aural fullness as their only audiologic symptom were selected. METHODS: This investigation consisted of 19 consecutive patients with unilateral or bilateral aural fullness who received no treatment. Each patient underwent glycerol testing measured with conventional pure tone audiometry and with both DPOAEs. For the traditional pure-tone glycerol test, a hearing improvement of at least 10 dB, at the lower two or three frequencies (125, 250, and 500 Hz), was judged as a positive result. For the DPOAE glycerol test, a smaller positive difference (5 dB) for at least three frequencies was interpreted as an ameliorative fluctuation. RESULTS: The outcomes of the glycerol tests (24 ears examined) showed variable patterns. Seven ears showed no significant changes of either the pure-tone audiogram or DPOAE. In seven other ears, the comparison of the traditional glycerol test and the DPOAE glycerol test indicated an improvement in both measures. Another seven ears showed negative glycerol tests, whereas DPOAE responses gradually recovered reaching levels significantly higher than those recorded before glycerol administration. The three remaining ears showed contrasting results. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with aural fullness in the absence of other associated symptoms may potentially be in the initial stages of Meniere's disease. This notion is confirmed by the present findings showing a high rate (58%) of positive glycerol tests in the selected patients. The importance of DPOAE testing is supported by their ability to detect minimal dysfunction, possibly representing endolymphatic hydrops that goes undetected by routine pure-tone audiometry.[1]


  1. Distortion-product otoacoustic emissions and glycerol testing in endolymphatic hydrops. Magliulo, G., Cianfrone, G., Triches, L., Altissimi, G., D'Amico, R. Laryngoscope (2001) [Pubmed]
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