Breast Cancer Presenting as Sudden Bilateral Hearing Loss: Case Report

Sandra Geros, Teresa Bernardo, Eugenia Castro, Fernanda Castro, Artur Conde


Sudden sensorineural hearing loss is defined as a rapid onset hearing impairment occurring over a 72-h period, equal or greater than 30 dB in three consecutive frequencies. The annual incidence is 5-20 cases per 100,000, most being unilateral. Simultaneous bilateral involvement is rare, occurring in 1-2% of all cases. This is the first report of bilateral involvement as the presenting symptom of breast cancer diagnosed 1 year later. The authors present a case of a female patient, 63-year-old, who appeared in the emergency department with sudden bilateral deafness as the only symptom. The examination showed no further alterations. Additional studies were performed, and the patient was admitted in the hospital for monitoring, therapy and etiologic investigation. After investigation, we concluded this was a rare case of severe bilateral sensorineural hearing loss associated with occult carcinoma of breast, diagnosed later. This is of relevance not only to otolaryngologists, but also to clinicians who may deal with similar complaints, because only a third will have an underlying etiology that is diagnosed along the way. Sudden hearing loss is an ear emergence, in which fast evaluation by a specialist or someone who may recognize the complaints significantly improves the prognosis for hearing recovery.

J Med Cases. 2014;5(4):220-223


Acute sensorineural hearing loss; Breast carcinoma; Hearing disorders; Inner ear pathology; Pure tone audiometry; Sudden deafness; Sudden hearing loss

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