Drill-induced hearing loss in the nonoperated ear

M. J. Da Cruz*, P. Fagan, M. Atlas, C. McNeill

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)


The reversible hearing loss in the nonoperated ear noted by patients after ear surgery remains unexplained. This study proposes that this hearing loss is caused by drill noise conducted to the nonoperated ear by vibrations of the intact skull. This noise exposure results in dysfunction of the outer hair cells, which may produce a temporary hearing loss. Estimations of outer hair cell function in the nonoperated ear were made by recording the change in amplitude of the distortion-product otoacoustic emissions before and during ear surgery. Reversible drill-related outer hair cell dysfunction was seen in 2 of 12 cases. The changes in outer hair cell function and their clinical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-558
Number of pages4
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1997

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