Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL), also known as sudden deafness or sudden hearing loss, is a condition that occurs when one's hearing is suddenly interrupted with little to no warning. This condition is defined as a loss of hearing of 30 dB or more over three contiguous frequencies that transpire within 72 hours or less. Most cases result in unilateral (one-sided) hearing loss.
In most cases, there is no identifiable cause. However, sudden hearing loss can be brought on by various factors, including infectious diseases, head trauma, autoimmune diseases, blood circulation issues, brain tumors, neurological diseases or disorders, and inner ear disorders. Ototoxic drugs may also cause sudden hearing loss as they are known to harm the sensory cells within the ear.
Several symptoms may precede or accompany sudden hearing loss. These symptoms include tinnitus which is a chronic ringing in the ears, vertigo or dizziness, a feeling of fullness in the ear, a sudden “popping” sound, and sudden muffled hearing.
A doctor will conduct a hearing test called pure tone audiometry to diagnose sudden hearing loss. Pure tone audiometry allows the doctor to discover if the hearing loss derives from the sound being unable to reach the inner ear due to an obstruction or if it is caused by a sensorineural deficit where the ear cannot process the sound.
Many individuals who experience sudden hearing loss will neglect to see a doctor immediately, assuming the issue derives from allergies, a sinus infection, or earwax plugging. However, prompt treatment is of utmost importance, and delaying diagnosis may reduce the effectiveness of regaining hearing ability.
Corticosteroids are a widely used treatment for sudden deafness, especially in cases where the cause has not been determined to reduce inflammation and aid the body in fighting illness. Steroids can be given in pill form or by injection behind the eardrum, allowing the steroids to travel into the inner ear. In cases where the cause of hearing loss has been diagnosed, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
Since 1989, Hearing Associates has remained at the forefront of hearing technology. Through our carefully crafted expertise and comprehensive approach, we can offer our patients innovative hearing solutions that change the trajectory of their lives. From hearing evaluations to hearing aids and surgeries, Hearing Associates has hearing solutions that suit your needs and budget.
If you or your loved one is experiencing symptoms of sudden hearing loss, it is crucial to have the situation assessed by one of the Hearing Associates specialists immediately. Prompt medical attention is the most reliable avenue for a full recovery, so don’t hesitate to contact our Aurora or Parker office or schedule online through our convenient appointment form.