Audio Life Hearing Center- Knoxville, TN

Image of someone going to ER to treat sudden hearing loss.

More frequently than we would like to admit, in today’s society, we neglect health care.

Consider the parents who continually put the needs of their children ahead of their own, ensuring their children obtain proactive and reactive care when required, but neglecting to do the same for themselves. What about professionals who won’t squeeze in a doctor’s appointment because they are to busy going to meetings. Then there are people who live by an “ignorance is bliss” approach and avoid the doctor’s office for fear of what they could hear.

But what action would you take if you needed more than something to deal with a sinus infection or your yearly flu vaccine? What would you do if you woke up one day with unexpected and total loss of hearing in one if not both ears?

There’s a good possibility your hearing will not ever come back if you simply try to put it off. Hearing specialists warn that abrupt, temporary loss of hearing could advance to permanent hearing loss without immediate treatment, particularly if the damage is at the nerve level.

Sudden Hearing Loss, What is it?

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), only about half the individuals who experience sudden hearing loss–the sudden loss of 30 decibels or more of hearing ability–will regain some or all of their hearing naturally.

Sudden hearing loss is more likely to happen than is commonly recognized. Actually, studies estimate that there are between one and six people for every 5,000 each year who experience sudden hearing loss. But according to the NIDC, if undiagnosed claims were taken into consideration, that number would be significantly higher. This means that this year about 400,000 Americans or more could develop sudden loss of hearing.

The term “sudden” is somewhat of a misconception in this instance as what’s categorically labeled as sudden hearing loss can take place over several hours or up to three days.

Sudden Hearing Loss; What is The Cause?

Doctors are often unable to figure out the cause as it comes on over hours or even days. The unfortunate fact is that pinpointing a cause is possible in just about 10 percent of individuals diagnosed with sudden hearing loss. exposure to certain drugs, blood pressure problems, neurological disorders, infections, disorders of the inner ear and head trauma are some of the most common causes that hearing specialist can pinpoint.

Your best possibility of recovering at least some of your normal hearing function, as mentioned, is to get treatment as soon as possible.

Sudden Hearing Loss; How do You Treat it?

In most cases, especially those where the cause is unknown, the usual course of treatment involves corticosteroids. As with all steroid use, the goal is to minimize inflammation and decrease swelling.

The recommended means of treatment has evolved since researchers have conducted more studies on sudden loss of hearing and medicine has modernized. Classically, doctors prescribed these steroids in pill form, but this presented a challenge for people who were unable to take oral steroids and those who were leery of the side effects linked to the medication.

An injection of steroids into the eardrum proved to be as effective as an oral steroid according to a 2018 NIDCD clinical trial, even making it possible for the medication to flow straight into the inner ear, without the disadvantage of the oral alternatives. These injections have now become a normal approach to treatment in the offices of ear, nose and throat specialists around the country.

Another reason why getting prompt medical care is so crucial is that your doctor may order a group of tests that could diagnose the underlying issue behind your sudden hearing loss or another threatening condition. These tests could include blood-work, an MRI or other methods of imaging and even an examination of your balance.

New Treatments For Sudden Hearing Loss May be on The Horizon

Researchers continue to work on the problem but truthfully, there is a lack of concrete facts about the cause of sudden hearing loss. A potentially safer way of administering steroids is the new advancement of infusing the drug into microspheres.

While some aspects of sudden loss of hearing are still a mystery, researchers and medical professionals have shown repeatedly that early treatment improves your chances of getting back the hearing you’ve lost. If you have hearing loss, either sudden or gradual, you should get in touch with a hearing specialist right away.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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