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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