Hearing Loss after Round Window Surgery in Mice Is due to Middle Ear Effusion

Bovey Z. Zhu, Jasmine Saleh, Kevin T. Isgrig, Lisa L. Cunningham, Wade W. Chien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Delivery of therapeutic agents directly through the round window (RW) offers promise for treating sensorineural hearing loss. However, hearing loss can result from the surgical approach itself, and the reasons for this are poorly understood. We examined the hearing loss following the 3 major steps involved with the RW approach to access the mouse cochlea: bullostomy, RW puncture, and RW injection. Methods: Twenty-one adult CBA/J mice underwent bullostomy alone, 10 underwent RW puncture, and 8 underwent RW injection with PBS with 5% glycerol. Auditory brainstem responses (ABR) and otoscopy were performed preoperatively and up to 6 weeks postoperatively. Hair cells were stained, and survival was assessed using immunofluorescence. Results: One week postoperatively, mice in all groups showed significant threshold shifts. Otoscopy revealed approximately half of all mice had middle ear effusion (MEE), with a higher incidence of effusion in the RW puncture and RW injection groups. Those with MEE had significant ABR threshold shifts, whereas those without MEE had minimal hearing loss. MEE persisted through 6 weeks in a majority of cases, but in those mice with MEE resolution, there was at least partial improvement in hearing. Immunohistochemistry showed minimal loss of hair cells in all animals. Conclusion: MEE is highly correlated with hearing loss in mice undergoing RW surgery. Otoscopy is an important adjunct to consider after ear surgery in mice, as MEE may contribute to postsurgical hearing loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)356-364
Number of pages9
JournalAudiology and Neurotology
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 1 2017


  • Ear surgery
  • Gene therapy
  • Hearing loss
  • Inner ear
  • Middle ear
  • Round window membrane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Speech and Hearing


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