Sudden hearing loss can strike suddenly and without warning:
Some sufferers wake up one morning to discover that one or both of their ears are unable to pick up audio information. For others, this rapid loss of hearing can take place over the course of several days. Either way, the condition can be terrifying, and it can also be life-disrupting. If you’ve recently lost partial or full hearing, don’t panic. In this post, we’ll explore what causes this medical condition and how best to treat it.
WHAT CAUSES SUDDEN HEARING LOSS?
There are any number of potential causes for sudden hearing loss, including:
- Infections, especially in the upper respiratory tract.
- Certain neurological or immunologic diseases.
- Circulatory complications in the inner ear.
- Exposure to various toxins or medications.
- Rapid changes in altitude (like when flying).
Sudden hearing loss typically affects just one ear. But in rare cases, the condition can manifest in both at the same time.
Moreover, sudden hearing loss is often accompanied by other symptoms like:
- Tinnitus – A loud, persistent ringing in one or both of one’s ears.
- Vertigo – Dizziness caused by imbalances in the inner ear.
On average, sudden hearing loss affects approximately 20 out of every 100,000 individuals, with female and male sufferers represented equally. In the United States alone, there are nearly 4,000 new cases every year.
WHAT IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE TREATMENT FOR SUDDEN HEARING LOSS?
Because sudden hearing loss is a relatively rare condition, there hasn’t been enough medical research into this field. The good news is that up to 80% of all sufferers recover within just 2 weeks without needing any medical attention. The bad news is that delayed intervention can actually make the condition permanent for the remaining 20% of sufferers. Early diagnosis and ongoing monitoring offer the best chances of having a full recovery. So if you ever notice a drastic or rapid loss of hearing, it is extremely important that you receive an evaluation from a Licensed Hearing Specialist or audiologist as quickly as possible.
Currently, there are no evidence-based treatments for sudden hearing loss that work in all situations. Which approach to use ultimately depends on the cause and severity of the condition, both of which vary from patient to patient.
The most common treatments include:
- Systemic steroids
- Antiviral medication
ARE YOU SUFFERING FROM SUDDEN HEARING LOSS?
If you’ve noticed any recent, rapid changes in your hearing, don’t delay. The sooner you receive medical attention, the better your chances of making a full recovery. Call Schmidt’s Optical and Hearing™ today at 772-286-4327 and schedule your FREE comprehensive hearing evaluation with our Board Certified Hearing Aid Specialist.