Transient auditory dysfunction (TAD) is a previously undescribed symptom complex of unknown cause. It is characterized by short-lasting sensorineural hearing loss (unilateral or bilateral), it is associated with tinnitus, it resolves completely within minutes, and it is not accompanied by vestibular symptoms. We conducted a cross-sectional prospective study to define TAD, find its prevalence, and discuss its significance. Two hundred healthy subjects between the ages of 16 and 49 years were surveyed using a questionnaire. Of these subjects, 41 (20.5%) reported experiencing symptoms of TAD. The mean number of episodes was 5.9 times per month, the mean duration was 41 seconds, and 80% experienced concomitant tinnitus. We conclude that TAD is a common finding in a healthy population. This may have implications for the pathogenesis of sudden-onset sensorineural hearing loss. Further longitudinal studies and detailed audiologic evaluation of patients with TAD are required to ascertain the significance, etiology, and pathophysiology of this condition.
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