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Congenital syphilitic deafness—a further review

  • D. A. Adams (a1), A. G. Kerr (a1), G. D. L. Smyth (a1) and M. J. Cinnamond (a1)


Initial optimism about the successful outcome of treatment of congenital syphilitic deafness with ampicillin and steroids has always been tempered with an awareness of the uncertain long-term results. This paper is a review of 16 patients treated with various combinations of ampicillin and steroid; these have been followed up for periods of five to 14 years. Ampicillin alone does not prevent progressive hearing loss in the majority of patients. Ampicillin combined with prednisone, or with prednisone and ACTH, has preserved the hearing in all but two ears which had useful hearing before treatment The fact that the hearing in many of these ears, although maintained continues to fluctuate still gives cause for concern.



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Becker, G. D. (1979) Late syphilitic hearing loss: a diagnostic and therapeutic dilemma. The Laryngoscope, 89: 1273.
Kerr, A. G., Smyth, G. D. L. and Landau, H. D. (1970) Congenital Syphilitic Labyrinthitis. Archives of Otolaryngology, 91: 474.
Kerr, A. G., Smyth, G. D. L. and Cinnamond, M. J. (1973) Congenital Syphilitic Deafness. Journal of Laryngology and Otology, 87: 1.
Pillsbury, H. C. and Shea, J. J. (1979) Luetic Hydrops—diagnosis and therapy. The Laryngoscope, 89: 1135.
Smyth, G. D. L., Kerr, A. G. and Cinnamond, M. J. (1976) Deafness due to Syphilis. Journal of the Otolaryngological Society of Australia, 4: 36.
Zoller, M., Wilson, W. R. and Nadol, J. B. J. (1979) Treatment of Syphilitic Hearing Loss. Combined penicillin and steroid therapy in 29 patients. Annals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology, 88: 160.
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The Journal of Laryngology & Otology
  • ISSN: 0022-2151
  • EISSN: 1748-5460
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-laryngology-and-otology
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