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

Effects of intratympanically delivered lidocaine on the auditory system in humans.

Since lidocaine is used to relieve the symptoms of Meniere's disease and tinnitus, its effects on the human cochlea is of specific interest. In experimental animals, topically administered lidocaine affects cochlear electrophysiology in a specific, dose-dependent manner. In the current study, lidocaine (40 mg in 1 ml of saline) was delivered intratympanically in six patients with essentially normal hearing in an attempt to alleviate tinnitus. Auditory function was assessed by pure tone audiometry, auditory evoked brain stem responses ( ABR), and transiently evoked otoacoustic emissions (TEOAE) to observe possible drug effect in the auditory system. In five patients, saline was injected prior to lidocaine for control purposes. Saline injection did not create significant changes in any of the measures. After a 2 hr follow-up period, intratympanic injection of lidocaine caused a 2 to 10 dB reduction in TEOAE level at 1 to 3 kHz frequencies. This reduction was at its maximum at the 30 min post-injection sampling point, and was followed by a slow recovery. At 2 hr post-injection, TEOAE amplitude was still 2 to 4 dB below baseline level. Pure tone thresholds were slightly affected 30 min after intratympanic lidocaine injection, but were fully recovered 1 hr after the injection. Lidocaine injection did not cause any changes in ABR latencies or amplitudes in any of the patients. These results suggest that the dose of intratympanically administered lidocaine used here has a specific effect on the organ of Corti structures in human subjects, without significantly affecting the auditory nerve or central auditory pathways. The relationship of the drug effect in conjunction with a possible effect on inner ear disorder might help to localize the site of disorder.[1]


  1. Effects of intratympanically delivered lidocaine on the auditory system in humans. Laurikainen, E.A., Johansson, R.K., Kileny, P.R. Ear and hearing. (1996) [Pubmed]
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