A retrospective study of 309 unselected patients with brainstem disorders was carried out to establish the incidence and degree of hearing loss in this group as a whole and in each of three separate pathologies: multiple sclerosis, vertebro-basilar ischaemia and brainstem tumours. Pure tone audiograms were corrected for age and sex and upon analysis, thereafter, 59% and 26% of patients were found to have hearing thresholds in excess of 10dB and 30dB respectively. The hearing loss tended to be slight to moderate, 87% of those with a deficit were in the range 11--59dB, and tended to involve the higher frequencies. No characteristic audiometric configuration emerged. 75% of those with a hearing loss suffered a bilateral deficit. Considering the multiple sclerosis, vertebro-basilar insufficiency and tumour groups individually, similar findings were observed with the mildest losses occurring in multiple sclerosis and the most severe in the tumour group.
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