Last reviewed: 7 Apr 2021
Last updated: 31 Mar 2021

Summary

Differentials

Common

  • Cerumen impaction
  • Foreign body
  • Benign tumours (e.g., exostosis, osteoma, polyps)
  • Uncomplicated otitis externa
  • Acute otitis media
  • Serous otitis media/middle-ear effusion
  • Cholesteatoma
  • Labyrinthitis
  • Noise-related hearing loss
  • External ear canal trauma
  • Complication of meningitis
  • Stroke
  • Presbycusis

Uncommon

  • External ear canal neoplasm
  • Necrotising otitis externa
  • Tympanic membrane perforation
  • Temporal bone fracture
  • Isolated developmental abnormality
  • Congenital hearing loss
  • Alport's syndrome
  • Jervell Lange-Nielsen syndrome
  • Craniofacial abnormalities (e.g., Pierre Robin's, Crouzon's, Apert's syndromes)
  • Waardenburg's syndrome
  • Acoustic neuroma (vestibular schwannoma)
  • Glomus tumour
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection
  • Toxoplasmosis infection
  • Syphilis infection
  • Paget's disease
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (formerly known as Wegener's granulomatosis)
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Osteogenesis imperfecta
  • Vertebral artery dissection
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Arnold-Chiari malformation
  • Auditory neuropathy
  • Idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss
  • Ototoxic drugs
  • Meniere's disease
  • Neonatal hyperbilirubinaemia
  • Otosclerosis
  • Autoimmune inner ear disease
  • Peri-lymphatic fistula

Contributors

Otolaryngologist (Otology/Neurotology)

Department of Otolaryngology

Virginia Mason Medical Center

Medical Director

The Listen for Life Center at Virginia Mason

Seattle

WA

Disclosures

SRS is an author of a reference cited in this topic.

Dr S.R. Schwartz would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr S.J. Marzo, Dr J.P. Leonetti, and Dr R.J. Buckingham, previous contributors to this topic. SJM, JPL, and RJB declare that they have no competing interests.

Peer reviewersVIEW ALL

Assistant Professor

Department of Otolaryngology

Department of Neurosurgery

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Chicago

IL

Disclosures

AM declares that he has no competing interests.

Professor of Otorhinolaryngology

MRC Institute of Hearing Research

Glasgow

UK

Disclosures

GB is an author of several books that include discussion of evaluation of hearing loss.

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