We report on the long-term follow-up of 15 patients with steroid-dependent sensorineural hearing loss (SDSNHL), which was steroid dose dependent. We classified the patients into 2 groups: group A consisted of 6 patients with systemic SDSNHL, and group B consisted of 9 patients with inner-ear-specific SDSNHL without systemic disease. Group B patients were further classified as patients with slowly or rapidly progressive hearing loss. The yearly rate of hearing deterioration was greater in group B than in group A. Thus, the long-term hearing prognosis of patients in group B was worse than those in group A. Although SDSNHL may have immune-related origins, we hypothesize that hearing deterioration may be caused by proinflammatory cytokines because many of our cases exhibited abnormal immunological laboratory values and because many of these cases responded favorably to steroid treatment.
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