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Sensorineural hearing loss is a recognised complication of cryptococcal meningitis. The mechanism of hearing loss in patients with cryptococcal meningitis is different from that in bacterial meningitis.
An immune-competent man with cryptococcal meningitis presented with sudden onset, bilateral, severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss and vestibular dysfunction. He was initially evaluated for cochlear implantation. However, he had a significant recovery; he no longer required surgery and was able to cope without a hearing aid.
Typically, cochlear implantation is performed with some urgency in patients with hearing loss post-bacterial meningitis, because of the risk of labyrinthitis ossificans. However, this process has not been described in patients with cryptococcal meningitis. Furthermore, patients with hearing loss associated with cryptococcal meningitis have shown varying degrees of reversibility. In this case report, hearing loss from cryptococcal meningitis is compared with that from bacterial meningitis, and the need for cochlear implantation in patients with cryptococcal meningitis is discussed.
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