Objective: To evaluate the vestibular aqueduct in patients with sudden sensorineural hearing loss. Methods: We evaluated 19 patients (12 men and seven women; age range, 22-79 years) with unilateral sudden sensorineural hearing loss, using computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging. All these patients had unilateral sudden sensorineural hearing loss. We also evaluated 47 control subjects (22 men and 25 women; age range, 22-79 years). Results: In sensorineural hearing loss affected ears, the width of the vestibular aqueduct at the midpoint and at the operculum was significantly greater than that in contralateral ears or in control ears. The width of the vestibular aqueduct at the midpoint and the operculum did not correlate with the audiometric threshold or the audiogram configuration. Contrast enhancement of the ipsilateral endolymphatic sac was observed in 17 of 19 patients with sudden sensorineural hearing loss (89 per cent). Eleven of these 17 patients also showed enhancement on the contralateral side, but no patient showed enhancement only on the contralateral side. In sensorineural hearing loss affected ears, the width of the vestibular aqueduct did not differ significantly between those patients with and without enhancement. Conclusions: The vestibular aqueducts of sudden sensorineural hearing loss affected ears are wider than those of controls. Precise imaging and evaluation of the inner ear is essential when investigating the pathological conditions responsible for sudden sensorineural hearing loss.
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