Autoimmune sensorineural hearing loss: An immunologic perspective

C. Arturo Solares, Gordon B. Hughes, Vincent K. Tuohy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Autoimmune sensorineural hearing loss (ASNHL) typically produces a bilateral rapidly progressive loss of hearing that may occur suddenly. The diagnosis is made by excluding ototoxicity, systemic disease, and other factors that mimic ASNHL and by showing a therapeutic response to corticosteroid treatment. Although autoantibodies and autoreactive T cells have been implicated in the etiopathogenesis of ASNHL, several central issues remain unresolved, including the relative prominence of B cell or T cell autoimmunity in the initiation and progression of ASNHL, the identity of the putative inner ear self-antigen(s) that target ASNHL, and the development and application of immunosuppressive therapies for preventing the progressive hearing loss which may be profound and require cochlear implantation. In this review, we will examine the seminal human and animal studies that have led to our current views regarding the autoimmune etiopathogenesis of ASNHL. In addition, we will address the need for developing an inner ear-specific mouse model for ASNHL that may define the stages leading to the development of ASNHL and may also provide new diagnostic markers and help develop novel and effective treatments for preventing progressive hearing loss in ASNHL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuroimmunology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - May 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Antibodies
  • Autoimmunity
  • Deafness
  • Sensorineural hearing loss
  • T cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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