Reduced grey- and white matter volumes due to unilateral hearing loss following treatment for vestibular schwannoma
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionHeliyon. 2020, 6(12), e05658 10.1016/j.heliyon.2020.e05658
Objective Previous studies of the consequences of unilateral hearing loss (UHL) on the functional-structural organization of the brain has included subjects with various degrees of UHL. We suggest that the consequences of a total loss of hearing in one ear might differ from those seen in subjects with residual hearing in the affected ear. Thus, the main aim of the present study was to compare the structural properties of auditory and non-auditory brain regions in persons with complete UHL to those of normal hearing controls. We hypothesize that the consequences of complete UHL following treatment for vestibular schwannoma will differ between ipsi- and contralateral structures, as well as between right- and left side deafness. Design A 3T Siemens Prisma MR-scanner was used. Anatomical images were acquired using a high-resolution T1-weighted sequence. Grey- and white matter volumes were assessed using voxel-based morphometry. Study sample Twenty-two patients with left- or right-side unilateral hearing loss. Fifty normal hearing controls. Results Reductions in grey- and white matter volumes were seen in cortical and sub-cortical regions, mainly in the right hemisphere including the auditory cortex, lingual gyrus, cuneus, middle temporal gyrus, occipital fusiform gyrus, middle cingulate gyrus and the superior temporal gyrus. Patients displayed reduced grey- and white matter volumes in cerebellar exterior structures ipsilateral to the tumor side. Conclusion When compared to controls, right side hearing loss yields more widespread reduction of grey matter volume than left side hearing loss. The findings of reduced grey- and white matter volumes in auditory and non-auditory brain regions could be related to problems with speech perception in adverse listening conditions, increased listening effort and reduced quality of life reported by persons with unilateral hearing loss despite normal hearing in the unaffected ear.