The conductive hearing of 18 patients with juvenile chronic arthritis was studied. Tympanometry was therefore undertaken for the assessment of functional state of the tympanic membrane, the ossicular chain with its ligaments and muscles, and the air cushion of the tympanic cavity. Acoustic reflex was present in all patients but an abnormal tympanometric pattern (type As) was found bilaterally or unilaterally in 10 (mostly severe cases) patients. These findings indicate that juvenile chronic arthritis changes middle ear function, probably as a result of inflammation of the synovial ossicular joints, which is followed by stiffness of the tympanic membrane and ossicular chain.
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