Hearing loss after bacterial meningitis, a retrospective study

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Background: Hearing loss is a common sequela after bacterial meningitis, but risk factors for this are poorly studied, particularly in relation to concurrent acute otitis media (AOM). Aims: The aim of this study was to investigate incidence and risk factors for hearing loss in patients treated for bacterial meningitis. Methods: In this retrospective study, medical records for patients admitted to hospital with bacterial meningitis in Skåne county, Sweden, between 2000 and 2017 were retrieved. The association between risk factors and hearing loss was estimated using logistic regression. Results: During the 18 years, 187 cases of meningitis were identified. Hearing loss was confirmed in 71 of the 119 patients who had done an audiometry. It was significantly more common in adults. There was also evidence of an association between hearing loss and AOM, and between hearing loss and pneumococcal infection. Conclusion: Age, concurrent AOM and pneumococcal infection were risk factors for developing hearing loss. Despite being recommended in the national guidelines, more than a third of the patients had not done a hearing test after recovering from bacterial meningitis. The findings strengthen the demand for prompt ear examination and–if needed–tympanocentesis in meningitis patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-301
Number of pages4
JournalActa Oto-Laryngologica
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Otorhinolaryngology

Free keywords

  • Acute otitis media
  • AOM
  • bacterial meningitis
  • hearing loss
  • risk factor
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae


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