How to Treat Sudden Hearing Loss
Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) occurs in up to 20 people per 100,000 annually and is considered to be the abrupt loss of thirty decibels or more across three contiguous frequencies.
Many individuals wake up one day and discover that either one or both ears cannot pick up auditory information. For others, the fast loss of hearing can occur over several days.
If you’ve recently experienced partial or total hearing loss, do not panic. Often, the condition is treatable when you visit a hearing specialist. Read on to learn the common causes and how best to treat them.
Common Signs of Hearing Loss
Sometimes, hearing loss is sudden, but more often, it happens gradually, and it may not be easily noticed at first. Other people around you may even pick up on it before you do.
The first signs of hearing loss include:
- Difficulty hearing others or misinterpreting what they say, particularly in noisy places.
- Asking people to repeat themselves
- Watching the TV or listening to music at a higher-than-normal volume
- Trouble hearing people on the phone
- Finding it challenging to keep up with a conversation
- Feeling strained or worn-out from having to concentrate too much while listening
These signs are often caused by hearing loss that happens as you get older.
Signs of Hearing Loss in One Ear
This is often more difficult to perceive as you may still hear with your other working ear. The signs of a hearing problem with one ear include:
- Your hearing is poor when sound comes from one side
- Sounds seem lower than normal
- You find it tough to tell where sound is originating from
- Struggling to ignore background noises or differentiate sounds
- Finding speech slurred
- Difficulty hearing when in noisy places
- Having to work to hear sounds coming from long distances
Hearing loss in one ear is frequently caused by a blockage, perhaps due to earwax or an infection.
What Causes Sudden Hearing Loss
There are numerous potential causes of sudden hearing loss, which include:
- Certain neurological diseases, such as Cogan’s syndrome
- Exposure to various toxins
- Certain immunologic diseases
- Rapid changes in altitude due to flying
- Head injuries
- Medications, including ototoxic drugs
- Blood circulation difficulties
- A tumour on the ear nerves
- Inner ear disorders like Meniere’s disease.
Typically, SSNHL primarily affects one ear. However, it can affect both ears but on infrequent occasions. It is also often accompanied by other symptoms like:
- A persistent loud ringing in either one or both ears
- Dizziness caused by imbalances in the inner ear
Men and women both experience SSNHL, and it is not more prevalent in one gender than the other.
Diagnosing Sudden Deafness
If you are experiencing sudden hearing loss symptoms, your audiologist should eliminate conductive hearing loss, which is caused by an obstruction inside the ear.
For sudden deafness without any apparent cause, your doctor may perform a pure tone audiometry test. This test is best conducted within a few days of the onset of the symptoms. With a pure tone audiometry test, your doctor can measure how loud frequencies must be before you can hear them. Additional tests may include balance tests, blood tests, and an MRI.
The Most Effective Treatment for Sudden Hearing Loss
About 80% of all SSNHL sufferers recover within two weeks. However, seeking help too late could make the condition permanent.
When the cause for hearing loss is unknown, a common treatment may be corticosteroids. Steroids usually treat many disorders and usually work by reducing inflammation, decreasing swelling, and helping the body fight the illness.
Previously, steroids were mainly given in the form of pills. In 2011, A clinical test supported by the NIDCD showed that intratympanic injection of steroids was as effective as oral steroids.
After this discovery, doctors started recommending direct intratympanic injection of steroids into the middle ear. It is beneficial for people who can’t use oral steroids. If appropriate, steroids should be used as soon as possible for the best results.
Contact Bravo Hearing to Address Your Sudden Hearing Loss
Sudden hearing loss can be devastating, but it does not have to be life-changing. If you notice any abrupt changes in your hearing, visit a specialist as soon as possible. The earlier you seek medical attention, the higher the chances of making a full recovery.
At Bravo Hearing, our dedicated team of qualified professionals is always ready to help. After conducting an exhaustive assessment of your hearing capabilities, we’ll structure a personalized treatment plan for you. To have your hearing tested, fill out our contact forms with your details or call us at 416-207-9711 to book a free online test.