Re: pressure/deafness (David Mountain )

Subject: Re: pressure/deafness
From:    David Mountain  <dcm(at)BU.EDU>
Date:    Fri, 20 Jun 2003 09:20:43 -0400

I don't understand your statement "it is possible to see a direct link between action of the stapedius muscle on the stapes and intracochlear pressure." A static displacement of the stapes would not be expected to cause a change in intracochlear pressure because the helicotrema and round window act as a pressure release system. -------------------------------------------------------------------- David C. Mountain, Ph.D. Professor of Biomedical Engineering Boston University 44 Cummington St. Boston, MA 02215 Email: dcm(at) Website: Phone: (617) 353-4343 FAX: (617) 353-6766 Office: ERB 413 On Fri, 20 Jun 2003, Andrew Bell wrote: > Susan Allen asked: > > >>> susan allen <susie(at)> 11:51:56 am Friday, 20 June 2003 > >>> > >I'm not a specialist, but is it then possible that elevated blood > >pressure could contribute to deafness? > > > Indeed, blood pressure can affect hearing. > > Although the effect is not normally a major one, in people suffering > Meniere's disease an increase in pressure can trigger a full-blown attack. > They tend to suffer low-tone fluctuating deafness, and significantly, the > pitch is perceived higher in the affected ear. Subjectively, most patients > report a feeling of "fullness" or pressure in their ears. > > Menieres disease can sometimes be treated successfully by placing the > patient in a pressure chamber. Moreover, of particular interest, a recent > paper (Franz et al., Acta Otolaryngol. 123, 2003, 133-137) reports that > cutting the tendons of the middle ear muscles relieved symptoms in all 20 > Menieres patients studied. In this context, it is possible to see a direct > link between action of the stapedius muscle on the stapes and intracochlear > pressure. > > Again suggesting a link between pressure and deafness, there are some > interesting cases of "sudden idiopathic deafness", an uncommon condition > which appears to be triggered by increases in blood pressure. Simmons (Arch. > Otolaryng, 88, 1968, 67-74) reported cases where the precipitating factor > was coughing, stooping to pick up a golf ball, getting out of bed, > performing a Valsalva manoeuvre, and after diving. The patient suddenly lost > 80 dB or so of hearing sensitivity, which sometimes persisted for weeks (and > sometimes permanently). To assist recovery, Simmons recommends that such > patients avoid "nose blowing, swimming, sudden postural changes, > intercourse, and more than modest amounts of alcohol." > > Hallberg's report on sudden deafness (Laryngoscope 66, 1956, 1237-1267) is > also of interest because in a surprisingly large number of cases the > deafness came on suddenly in both ears and was attributed to "vascular > accident". > > More recently, Preyer (1996) studied the relationship between sudden > deafness and the weather (Laryngorhinootologie 75, 443-446) and found that > patients with complete recovery were characterised by the smallest changes > of atmospheric pressure and temperature. > > Andrew Bell. > > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ > Andrew Bell > Research School of Biological Sciences > Institute of Advanced Studies > Australian National University > Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia > andrew.bell(at) > phone +61 2 6125 9634 > fax +61 2 6125 3808 > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ >

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