Hearing outcomes after surgical plugging of the superior semicircular canal by a middle cranial fossa approach

Bryan K. Ward, Yuri Agrawal, Elena Nguyen, Charles C. Della Santina, Charles Joungwoon Limb, Howard W. Francis, Lloyd B Minor, John P. Carey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine postoperative hearing outcomes after surgical plugging via middle cranial fossa approach for superior semicircular canal dehiscence syndrome (SCDS). Study Design: Clinical review. Setting: Tertiary care medical center. Patients: Forty-three cases of SCDS based on history, physical examination, vestibular function testing, and computed tomography imaging confirming the presence of a dehiscence. All patients underwent surgical plugging of the superior semicircular canal via middle cranial fossa approach. INTERVENTION: Pure tone audiometry was performed preoperatively and at 7 days and at least 1 month postoperatively. Main Outcome Measures: Change in air-bone gap (ABG) and pure tone average (PTA). Results: Preoperative average ABG across 0.25, 0.5, 1, and 2 kHz was 16.0 dB (standard deviation [SD], 7.5 dB). At 7 days postoperatively, average ABG was 16.5 dB (SD, 11.1; p = 0.42), and at greater than 1 month was 8.1 dB (SD, 8.4; p < 0.001). 53% (95% confidence interval, 33-69) of affected ears had greater than 10 dB increase in their 4-frequency (0.5, 1, 2, and 4 kHz) PTA measured by bone-conduction (BC) threshold 7 days postoperatively and 25% (95% confidence interval, 8-39) at greater than 1 month postoperatively. Mean BC PTA of affected ears was 8.4 dB hearing loss (HL) (SD, 10.4) preoperatively. Compared with baseline, this declined to 19.2 dB HL (SD, 12.6; p < 0.001) at 7 days postoperatively and 16.4 dB HL (SD, 18.8; p = 0.01) at greater than 1 month. No significant differences in speech discrimination score were noted (F = 0.17). Conclusion: Low-frequency air-bone gap decreases after surgical plugging and seems to be due to both increased BC thresholds and decreased AC thresholds. Surgical plugging via a middle cranial fossa approach in SCDS is associated with mild high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss that persists in 25% but no change in speech discrimination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1386-1391
Number of pages6
JournalOtology and Neurotology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • Hearing outcomes
  • Middle cranial fossa
  • Superior semicircular canal dehiscence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Clinical Neurology


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