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The purpose of this study was to characterize auditory function in patients diagnosed with post-treatment
Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS).
Eighteen patients with PTLDS were evaluated and compared to a normal population. Evaluations consisted of pure tone and speech thresholds, word recognition (WRS), acoustic immittance battery, auditory brain stem response (ABR), and loudness discomfort level (LDL). Both seropositive and seronegative patients were evaluated. Audiologists were blinded to patient status.
Forty four percent of the patients had one or more abnormal pure tone thresholds compared to gender- and age-adjusted norms. Thirty-one percent showed abnormally reduced LDLs, and 17% had abnormal acoustic reflexes at one or more frequencies.
This paper catalogs previously unstudied long-term auditory system sequelae resulting from PTLDS. Our most significant finding was the dramatically reduced loudness tolerance in the presence of either normal or minimally impaired hearing. The clinician is encouraged to consider PTLDS when confronted with these or similar findings in patients having history of Borrelia burgdorferi infection and continued complaints.