John Libbey Eurotext

European Journal of Dermatology


Clinical analysis of hearing levels in vitiligo patients Volume 19, issue 1, January-February 2009


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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, College of Medicine, KyungHee University, #1 Hoegi-dong, dongdaemun-gu, Seoul 130-702, Korea, Department of Dermatology, College of Medicine, KyungHee University, Seoul, Korea
  • Key words: ABR, auditory brainstem responses, AP, action potential, ECoG, electrocochleography, PTA, pure-tone audiometer, SP, summation potential, VIDA, vitiligo disease activity
  • DOI : 10.1684/ejd.2008.0563
  • Page(s) : 50-6
  • Published in: 2009

Vitiligo is a common, often inherited disorder resulting from a loss of functional melanocytes. The mechanism by which skin melanocytes disappear can also affect other melanocytic organs. Although melanocyte-associated diseases have racial differences, there have been no studies of hearing loss associated with vitiligo in Asian populations, and no analysis of any relationship between hearing loss and severity of vitiligo. So we tried to assess the hearing differences between Korean vitiligo patients and normal subjects. Pure tone audiometry, auditory brainstem response, and electrocochleography results from 89 vitiligo patients, 47 with active disease and 42 with stable disease, and 89 healthy subjects, were compared. Pure tone thresholds in both vitiligo subgroups were significantly lower than in the control group at 1,000, 4,000, 6,000 and 8,000 Hz (p < 0.05). Pure tone thresholds in the active disease group were significantly lower than in the stable disease group at 1,000, 2,000, 4,000, 6,000 and 8,000 Hz (p < 0.05). Vitiligo patients had a significant decrease in peak I latency and significant increases in peak III and interpeak I-III latencies compared with controls. Compared with the stable disease group, the active disease group had a significant decrease in peak I latency and significant increases in interpeak I-III and interpeak I-V latencies (p < 0.05). Electrocochleography showed that vitiligo patients had significant increases in summation potential (SP) amplitude, action potential (AP) amplitude in the left ear, and SP/AP ratios in both ears, compared with controls (p < 0.05). In conclusion Korean patients with vitiligo show hearing loss compared with controls, which may be caused by functional disorders of intermediate cells (melanocytes) of the stria vascularis.