Audiologists are challenged with various neurological diseases, such as Multiple Sclerosis. This disease causes demyelination of the white matter in the central nervous system resulting in desynchronisation of neural impulses. Despite controversy in the literature many studies illustrated some degree of auditory involvement associated with this disease. The auditory brainstem response has dominated the field during the assessment of the auditory system of patients with Multiple Sclerosis. Although this objective test procedure is useful during the assessment of the auditory nerve on a brainstem level, it reveals its own set of limitations when used in isolation as a single test procedure. A multiple test battery approach has shown promise in addressing the limitations of any single test procedure. This approach aims to assess the auditory nervous system of patients with Multiple Sclerosis on different levels (sensory and neural). The aim of the current study was to determine the effectiveness of a clinically appropriate battery of test procedures during the assessment of the auditory nervous system of 25 adult subjects with Multiple Sclerosis. The subjects were divided into two groups: Group 1 consisted of fifteen (15) subjects without a history of noise exposure, whereas the ten (10) subjects in Group 2 had previously been exposed to noise. A combined experimental-descriptive research design was selected in order to describe both the qualitative and quantitative results obtained during the study. The following test procedures were included in the test battery: • A self-assessment questionnaire allowing subjects to report on hearing abilities, related auditory-vestibular symptoms and communicative competence during every day life; • Puretone audiometry, distortion product otoacoustic emissions as well as the cochlear microphonic; and • Auditory brainstem response recording using both the rarefaction and condensation click polarities consecutively. The results indicated that a high percentage of subjects experienced vestibular symptoms such as dizziness and vertigo by the time the study was conducted. The presence of tinnitus and hearing difficulties were uncommon among subjects. Despite this, more than half of the subjects experienced difficulty with communication in the presence of background noise. Puretone audiometry demonstrated that some of the subjects presented with mild high-frequency hearing losses. However other configurations with impaired hearing thresholds were also observed. Most of the subjects’ auditory brainstem response recordings displayed abnormalities using either the rarefaction or condensation click polarity. The use of the condensation click polarity displayed more ABR abnormalities compared to the rarefaction click polarity. Several subjects displayed additional cochlear involvement while a smaller percentage of subjects presented only with neural involvement.
Dissertation (M (Communication Pathhology))--University of Pretoria, 2006.