Sensorineural deafness refers to hearing impairment resulting from disturbances of the cochlea or auditory nerve. The ability to hear high frequencies is often selectively lost. No population-based incidence rates were identified.
This condition, which can be unilateral or bilateral, is characteristic of natural mumps infection and is reported in about 4 percent of cases of mumps. Partial or complete recovery is common.
Viral infections of the cochlea are known to occur. Sensorineural deafness can be a complication of natural mumps virus infection.
A 7-year-old girl who had audiometry 2 years earlier for an unstated reason developed total deafness in the left ear 11 days after an injection of MMR. This was not preceded by any symptoms such as dizziness or earache. There was no recovery of hearing (Nabe-Nielsen and Walter, 1988a,b). A 3-year-old girl was evaluated because of bilateral deafness. At the age of 15 months she received MMR. Ten days later, she developed high fever, headache, ataxia, and irritability, which lasted several days. Nystagmus was noted. She recovered spontaneously, but soon after she was noted to have hearing impairment. On evaluation at the age of 3 years, she had moderate to severe bilateral, unremitting sensorineural deafness (Brodsky and Stanievich, 1985).