Objective: We investigated gustatory changes in patients with chronic otitis media, before and after middle-ear surgery.Methods: This prospective study included 38 patients with unilateral chronic otitis media. We used taste testing solutions to evaluate each patient's taste function. Intra-operative assessments of the chorda tympani nerve were also compared and analysed.Results: Patients with chronic otitis media had significantly worse ipsilateral perception of sour, bitter and salty tastes. In patients with good intra-operative preservation of the chorda tympani nerve, there was significant improvement in gustatory function one month post-operatively, compared with the pre-operative baseline. In patients who sustained intra-operative chorda tympani nerve injury, one month post-operative gustatory function was the same as the pre-operative baseline.Conclusion: Middle-ear surgery for chronic otitis media not only treats the ear but also improves gustatory function in the majority of patients. In patients with intra-operative injury to the chorda tympani nerve, post-operative taste decline is only temporary.
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