A number of authors have suggested that surgery for suspected perilymph fistula is effective in preventing deterioration of hearing and in improving hearing in some cases in the short term. We present long-term hearing outcome data from 35 children who underwent exploration for presumed perilymph fistula at The Children's Hospital, Sydney, Australia, between 1985 and 1992.
The pre-operative audiological data (mean of 500, 1000, 2000 and 4000 Hz results) were compared with the most recently available data (range two to 15 years) and the six-month post-operative data.
The short-term results showed no significant change in hearing at six months, with a subsequent, statistically significant progression of hearing loss in both operated and non-operated ears (Wilcoxon signed rank test: operated ear, p < 0.017; non-operated ear, p < 0.009).
In this case series, exploratory surgery for correction of suspected perilymph fistula did not prevent progression of long-term hearing loss.