Impact of an Endolymphatic Sac Tumor on Subjective and Objective Audiovestibular Function

Jonathan Olsgård Hansen, Niels Cramer West, Per Cayé-Thomasen


OBJECTIVE: This study reports subjective and objective audiovestibular function in patients diagnosed with an endolymphatic sac tumor (ELST), to evaluate the clinical implication of vestibular testing in ELST patients.

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study.

SETTING: Tertiary referral center/university hospital.

PATIENTS: Five patients diagnosed with unilateral ELST.

INTERVENTION: Subjective and objective audiovestibular tests; pure-tone average; speech discrimination score; the Video Head Impulse Test; the cervical vestibular evoked myogenic potential test; the caloric irrigation test; the Speech, Spatial and Qualities of Hearing Scale; the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory; and the Dizziness Handicap Inventory.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Findings and characteristics of both subjective and objective audiovestibular functions.

RESULTS: The mean pure-tone average and the mean speech discrimination score were 49 dB HL and 68% on the tumor ear and 13 dB HL and 99% contralaterally. The mean Speech, Spatial and Qualities of Hearing Scale score was 84, and the mean Tinnitus Handicap Inventory score was 64. Caloric testing showed a mean unilateral weakness of 80%. The Video Head Impulse Test of the lateral semicircular canal revealed refixation saccades on all tumor ears and an average gain value of 0.75 on the tumor ear versus 0.94 contralaterally. No cervical vestibular evoked myogenic potentials were elicited on the tumor side, whereas all but one was elicited contralaterally. The average Dizziness Handicap Inventory score was 47.

CONCLUSION: A characteristic pattern of abnormal caloric findings, refixation saccades, and normal vestibulo-ocular reflex gain alongside sensorineural hearing loss on the tumor ear was identified. Asymmetric sensorineural hearing loss in any patient should lead to objective vestibular evaluation to strengthen not only a targeted tumor surveillance strategy and the indication for imaging, but also the design of vestibular rehabilitation. In addition, vestibular findings may guide the choice of surgical approach.

Original languageEnglish
JournalOtology & neurotology : official publication of the American Otological Society, American Neurotology Society [and] European Academy of Otology and Neurotology
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)956-961
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2022


  • Dizziness/diagnosis
  • Ear Neoplasms
  • Endolymphatic Sac
  • Head Impulse Test
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural
  • Humans
  • Labyrinth Diseases
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tinnitus/diagnosis
  • Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials/physiology


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