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Objectives/Hypothesis: Previous studies on hearing loss (HL) after acoustic neuroma removal concentrate mainly on pure-tone hearing results rather than hearing disability. Our objectives were to use the Speech, Spatial and Qualities of Hearing scale (SSQ), a comprehensively validated questionnaire, to characterize and quantify the auditory disabilities that patients experience with a profound unilateral HL after acoustic neuroma removal.

Study Design: Forty-four patients with profound unilateral HL after acoustic neuroma surgery completed the SSQ. Their findings were compared with those of a control population sample matched for age, sex, and hearing level in the better hearing ear.

Results: In comparison with controls, with use of analysis of variance, acoustic neuroma patients scored poorly on all items except for the identification of sounds and objects (P = .123). The greatest difficulties involved speech in the presence of noise, situations of multiple speech-streams and switching (such as listening to someone speaking and the television at the same time), the location of unseen objects, and increased listening effort (P < .05).

Conclusion: This study demonstrates that, compared with a control population, these patients experience a significant range of auditory disabilities. It is important that clinicians be aware of the impact of such a profound unilateral HL and its potential to affect daily life. Patient counseling prior to surgery is essential, especially in patients whose loss of binaural hearing could constitute a major disability.

(C) The American Laryngological, Rhinological & Otological Society, Inc.