Read this today: Stress has been postulated to trigger or contribute to inner ear pathologies but there is little objective evidence. We investigated stress hormones in Ménière's patients and patients with acoustic neuroma. Data were compared with those from a control group of patients with facial spasm. We assayed classic stress hormones including adrenocorticotropic hormone, cortisol, growth hormone and prolactin. We found a strong positive correlation between cortisol and adrenocorticotropic hormone in Ménière patients and patients with acoustic neuroma but no correlation in patients with facial spasm. The data also revealed in female patients with Ménière's disease or with acoustic neuroma an unexpected significant positive correlation between cortisol and prolactin. The data showed the expected negative correlation or no correlation between cortisol and prolactin associated with males and females in the other patient groups. Both cortisol and prolactin increases are known to represent alternative strategies to cope with stress, and our data point to prolactin being possibly more dominant in Ménière's disease and cortisol in acoustic neuroma. These data provide further evidence for modification of different stress hormones in audiovestibular pathologies, which might provide a valuable diagnostic or prognostic tool in the future.