Sudden hearing impairment during interferon therapy; A case report

Norio Kasai, Kunihiro Fukushima, Yuichi Tsurusako, Ken Ichi Sugata, Michihiro Nakata, Hirofumi Akagi, Kazunori Nishizaki, Yu Masuda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A 43-year-old male was admitted to our clinic because of sudden hearing impairment in his left ear. The patient had received intravenous injection of interferon beta for the treatment of HCV hepatitis. On the second day of interferon administration, he complained of ear fullness and tinnitus in his left ear. Pure tone audiometry revealed up-sloping hearing impairment. An initial high-dose steroid therapy was successful for recovery of hearing loss. Interferon alpha was then administered for HCV hepatitis and hearing loss worsened 10 weeks after secondary interferon therapy. The same steroid regimen was unsuccessful and severe hearing loss developed. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy was then conducted and was the only effective treatment for this progression. One week after the recovery, left hearing impairment thrice occurred and no treatment was effective. Audiological side effects were reported in 40% of the patients who received interferon administration. The side effects were usually temporary and recovered soon after termination of interferon therapy. The present case revealed that hearing loss found during interferon therapy does not always show a fair prognosis. Further study on the audiological side effects during interferon therapy should be performed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)941-945
Number of pages5
JournalPractica Otologica
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
  • Interferon
  • Side effect
  • Sudden hearing impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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