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Perilymph Fistula

The short answer to your question is yes, the pathophysiological model defining a perilymphatic fistula (PLF) involves leakage of perilymph fluid from the inner ear (cochlea) into the middle ear space through the membrane of the round or oval windows. However, there are so many etiologies (causes) and forms of PLF that one must undergo a thorough case history and otoneurological testing to render any degree of specificity applicable to such condition.

PLFs are nearly always accompanied with hearing loss on the side experiencing the lesion. Generally, the only signficant contralateral effect (upon the opposing non-PLF ear) would be central in nature: Loss of summation (the overall increase in hearing sensitivity enjoyed with normal two-eared hearing), spatial ability (localization and temporal function) and the ability to understand speech in poor signal-to-noise environments (attending/squelching). The literature also refers to the ''inability to focus or concentrate'', which more than likely would be an artifact of the loss of the binaural functions just mentioned.

I take it from the nature of your question that you are currently under a physician's care, in which case I need to assure you that there are so many variables in the larger picture of PLF that it is best to rely upon him or her for more specific information relative to your case. I also suggest you to refer to Dr. Peter Roland's excellent paper that can be found at www.emedicine.com/ent/topic234.htm. The excellent bibliography at the end of that paper will provide you with even more information.

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