Using an otoadmittance meter the function of the middle ear was compared in 38 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and 30 matched controls with non-articular rheumatism. Patients with pre-existing ear disease were excluded from the study. No subjects in either group showed hearing loss on pure tone audiometry, but otoadmittance abnormalities were recorded in 16 of the RA (42%) and in 2 of the control groups (7%). The pattern of abnormality was similar in each case and indicated an increased laxity of the conducting system. The reason for this unexpected finding is unknown. There were no significant differences between the RA patients with normal or abnormal recordings as regards clinical or laboratory features or treatment.
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