Aims: The aim of this study was to investigate hearing loss in patients with ankylosing spondylitis.
Study design: Prospective, case–control study.
Methods: Fifty-nine ankylosing spondylitis patients (118 ears) and 52 healthy control subjects (104 ears) were included. Pure tone audiometry at 250, 500, 1000, 2000, 4000 and 6000 Hz and immittance measures, including tympanometry and acoustic reflex tests, were performed in the patients and controls.
Results: Sensorineural hearing loss was found in 21 patients (35.5 per cent), bilateral in 15 patients and unilateral in six. Pure tone thresholds significantly differed between patients and controls at all frequencies (p<0.05). There was no statistically significant difference between the right and the left ears' thresholds at all frequencies, except at 4000 Hz in ankylosing spondylitis patients. The right ears' thresholds were higher than those of the left ears. Patients' pure tone average (PTA) thresholds were significantly different from those of controls in all three PTA groups (i.e. 250 Hz; 500, 1000 and 2000 Hz; and 4000 and 6000 Hz) (p<0.05). The differences were most prominent in the higher frequencies.
Conclusion: Our findings suggest a decreased hearing level in ankylosing spondylitis patients, mostly at high frequencies, although the pure tone thresholds of patients and controls significantly differed at all frequencies.