Audiovestibular Function in Infratentorial Superficial Siderosis

  • End date
    Jul 31, 2022
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University College, London
Updated on 8 May 2021
balance assessment


One in six people in the United Kingdom and over 400 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss. This figure will double by 2050 as predicted by the World Health Organisation. There is an urgent need to improve our knowledge regarding hearing loss, its underlying mechanisms, optimal diagnostic modalities, reliable and accurate functional and imaging biomarkers.

A less-well studied condition associated with progressive hearing loss is infratentorial superficial siderosis (iSS). It results from iron deposition along the surfaces of brain structures which control hearing and balance. It is currently considered uncommon, but may well be under-recognised and therefore under-reported. Despite its severity, our current understanding of its impact on the hearing (auditory) and balance (vestibular) functions is limited, and this has an adverse impact on the treatment offered to these patients. Additionally, iSS patients have been reported to have cognitive impairment yet literature reports of cognitive assessment in iSS are few. The cognitive dysfunction may be specific to iSS or due to progressive hearing impairment or a combination of both, and further studies are required to establish this. Olfaction is also known to be affected in patients with iSS yet is rarely reported in the literature.

Due to the significant morbidity and progressive nature, there is a clear need to improve our understanding of the audiovestibular dysfunction resulting from iSS.

The aim of this study is to comprehensively assess audiovestibular function in iSS compared to age-related hearing loss and the controls/normative data and as a means to quantify deficits for monitoring disease progression and response to treatment, to assess the impact on the quality of life, to analyse clinically-obtained data (including imaging, cognitive and laboratory data), and correlate these with functional findings in iSS.

Condition Presbycusis, Rare Diseases, Siderosis, nervous system disorder, Neurologic Disorders, neurological disorders, neurological disorder, neurologic disorder, disorders of the nervous system, nervous system disease, neurological disease, nervous system disorders, rare disease, rare disorder, iron deposition
Treatment quality of life assessment, Hearing assessment, Vestibular/balance assessment, Olfactory (smell) function testing, DNA bio-banking
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04200664
SponsorUniversity College, London
Last Modified on8 May 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Siderosis group: adults (male and female) of 18+ years old with a known diagnosis of iSS (defined using standardised radiological criteria) confirmed by a consultant neurologist with expertise in this condition at University College London Hospitals National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust
Age-related hearing loss (ARHL) group: adults (male and female) of 18+ years old with ARHL
Control group: adults (male and female) of 18+ years old with no previous diagnosis of hearing loss or no known neurological disorder (including iSS) that affects hearing, with the aim to recruit such participants of 50 years of age and above; however, should difficulty with the recruitment of such participants arise, participants of 18 years of age and above will be invited to participate in the study

Exclusion Criteria

All groups: individuals younger than 18 years old; individuals with a physical or mental impairment that prevents the potential participant from giving informed consent or undergoing the hearing and/or vestibular assessment
Siderosis group: individuals with no prior diagnosis of iSS
Age-related hearing loss (ARHL) group: individuals with no previous diagnosis of ARHL or with a diagnosis of hearing loss of aetiology other than age-related; individuals with a history of exposure to high-intensity noise or ototoxic drugs or evidence of middle ear disease/dysfunction or family history of non age-related hearing loss
Control group: individuals with a known history of hearing loss (of any cause) or with a known neurological disorder that affects their hearing; individuals with history of exposure to high-intensity noise or ototoxic drugs or evidence of middle ear disease or family history of non age-related hearing loss
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