The impact of acromegaly on the auditory system remains unknown.
This study aimed to examine audiological symptoms and the structure and function of the auditory system in patients with acromegaly. DESIGN/SETTING AND PATIENTS: The study included 44 patients with acromegaly. Pure tone audiometry, speech audiometry, tympanometry, otoacoustic emissions testing, computerized tomography of the temporal bone and magnetic resonance imaging of the ear were performed in all patients. The study also included 36 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. The patients with acromegaly were divided into three subgroups, as follows: controlled disease (n=13); partially controlled disease (n=16); uncontrolled disease (n = 15).
In all, 43% of the patients with acromegaly had hearing loss, and 20% had had an episode of otitis in at least one ear. Median pure tone average (PTA) in the patients with acromegaly was 12.5 dB (range: 2-72 dB), vs 8.3 dB (range: 0-20 dB) in the control group (P < 0.001). PTA did not differ significantly between the three patient subgroups. Audiometric tests showed various degrees of hearing loss in at least one ear in 21 patients (48%). Conductive, sensorineural and mixed type hearing loss in at least one ear was noted in 9%, 30% and 18% of the patients, respectively. Auditory imaging showed that 50% of the patients had temporomandibular joint degeneration (TMJD).
Hearing loss is quite common in patients with acromegaly. Contrary to common belief, in this study, conductive hearing loss did not occur more frequently than other types. Based on PTA findings in the controls and patients with acromegaly, acromegaly caused hearing loss, but the level of disease activity had no effect on hearing. Middle ear pressure problems might be caused by increased perilymph because of growth hormone (GH)-related volume overload.