Neurologic findings in children with ear malformations

Max Wiznitzer, Isabelle Rapin, Thomas R. Van De Water

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Cephalic neural crest cells contribute to the formation of the external and middle ears, the supporting cells of the statoacoustic ganglion, other cranial nerve components, and the face. The anlage of otic sensory structures receive inductive stimuli from adjacent rhombencephalic tissue. The complex series of interactions that guide organogenesis of the outer, middle, and inner ear structures may explain why neurologic dysfunction is likely to be associated with malformations of the ear. We reviewed the records of 100 patients with complex ear anomalies with or without hearing loss. Mean age was 4.2 years (range 1 day-27 years). Malformations, either bilateral (70) or unilateral (30), involved the external ear (94), middle ear (16), and/or inner ear (12). Eighty-five patients had neurologic dysfunction. Cranial nerve dysfunction was found in 56 patients and involved nerves VIII (39 auditory and/or vestibular), VII (22), II (11), VI (8), V (4), III (3), X (3), XII (1), and IX (1). Sixty-four patients had evidence of central nervous system dysfunction such as mental deficiency/developmental delay (44), non-paretic gait disorders (17), hypotonia (16), microcephaly (13), seizures (8), motor deficits (8), autistic features (7), and radiographically confirmed intracranial abnormalities (5). Eleven of 19 children with hypoactive vestibules had delayed motor development or poor balance. Seventy-four patients had anomalies in other organ systems: 56 craniofacial, 28 osseous, 19 cardiac, 16 genito-urinary, 14 ocular, 11 gastrointestinal, and 7 cutaneous. Sixty-one patients had syndromic conditions, 32 of them branchial arch syndromes. The level of cognitive competence was not related to severity of craniofacial ear, or cranial nerve abnormality Children with ear malformation ederve neurologic and peddiatric evaluations in addition toan otologic work-up.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-55
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1987


  • Branchial arch syndrome
  • Congenital malformation
  • Ear anomaly
  • Embryology of the ear
  • Malformed ear
  • Neural crest
  • Neurologic abnormality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Surgery


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