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The present study was performed to determine whether the intraoperative monitoring of brainstem auditory evoked potentials (BAEPs) during microvascular decompression operations is effective in preventing profound hearing loss or deafness in the ipsilateral ear. The authors retrospectively compared the auditory morbidity of posterior fossa microvascular decompression surgery for the treatment of tic douloureux and hemifacial spasm before and after the introduction of routine intraoperative BAEP monitoring in 1984. Each patient underwent a similar procedure performed by the same surgeon. The two patient groups were comparable with regard to age, sex, and indications for surgery, Auditory morbidity did not decline with the increasing experience of the surgeon prior to 1984; 10 (6.6%) of 152 primary operations (151 patients) in which monitoring was not performed were followed by a profound ipsilateral hearing loss or deafness. In the monitored group, none of 109 operations (104 patients) caused profound hearing loss or deafness. This significant decline in auditory morbidity is attributed by the authors to the use of intraoperative BAEP monitoring, which allows the surgeon to alter the operation in response to degradations in the wave patterns. Based on our experience and that of others, we believe that intraoperative BAEP monitoring is of value in reducing the auditory morbidity of posterior fossa microvascular decompression surgery.