Does rheumatoid arthritis have an effect on audiovestibular tests?

Ozkiris M., Kapusuz Z., Guenaydin I., Kubilay U., Pirti I., Saydam L.

EUROPEAN ARCHIVES OF OTO-RHINO-LARYNGOLOGY, vol.271, no.6, pp.1383-1387, 2014 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


The study aimed to determine the characteristics of hearing loss, vestibular responses and the incidence of vestibular disturbances in RA patients. This prospective study was performed at the Otolaryngology Department of Bozok University School of Medicine between May and November 2012. Eighty-one RA patients (69 women and 12 men) with a mean age of 40.8 +/- A 13.4 years (23-67 years) and 81 healthy controls (67 women and 14 men) with a mean age of 41.3 +/- A 13.8 years (24-66 years). Each subject was tested with low and high-frequency audiometry by a single experienced investigator under standard audiometric testing conditions. For each set of tests, mean values of air and bone conduction at each frequency and tympanometric values were calculated for the study groups. Videonystagmography (VNG) including smooth pursuit, saccade, positional, and caloric tests were also performed. The mean air conduction threshold values at high frequencies (4,000, 6,000, and 8,000 Hz) in RA group were lower than control groups. The difference between mean air conduction threshold values of the control groups against RA group at high frequencies were statistically significant (p < 0.05). There was no statistically significance between the two groups in tympanometric values (p < 0.05). VNG testing revealed central abnormalities in twenty patients (24.69 %), peripheral abnormalities in five patients (6.17 %), and mixed abnormalities in six patients (7.4 %). There was no association between VNG abnormalities in patients with RA and age, sex, duration of disease, accompanying vertigo complaint, the laboratory findings and hearing levels (p < 0.05). Our findings suggest an association of RA and audiovestibular system dysfunction regardless clinical and demographic situation of patients. We assume the hearing and vestibular disturbances in RA are more prevalent than previously recognized. Also hearing losses in high frequencies in RA patients may be considered as an indicator of cochlear involvement in this disease.