Bright Audiology - Sanford, NC

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

More often than we would care to admit, in today’s society, we put off on health care.

Think about people who neglect their own health care so they can get protection for their children. How about professionals who can’t fit in a doctor’s appointment because they are to busy going to meetings. Then there are people who are afraid of what they might hear so they stay away from the doctor’s office preferring to stay ignorant.

But what would you do if you needed more than something to get rid of a sinus infection or your yearly flu vaccine? If you woke up one morning and had complete hearing loss in one if not both ears what would you do then?

There’s a good possibility your hearing will not ever return if you just try to put it off. Hearing specialists warn that if you don’t have sudden temporary hearing loss treated immediately, peculiarly if it’s at the nerve level, it could become permanent.

What is Sudden Hearing Loss?

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), only about half the people who experience sudden hearing loss–the rapid 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 occur than some might believe. As a matter of fact for every 5,000 people, between one and six are estimated to experience sudden loss of hearing. With that being said, the NIDCD warns that the amount of undiagnosed cases would cause that number to swell if you were to include them. This means that this year about 400,000 Americans or more could experience sudden loss of hearing.

The term “sudden” is a bit of a misnomer in this situation 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 frequently unable to figure out the cause as it happens over hours or even days. The sad reality is that pinpointing a cause is possible in only about 10 percent of people 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 getting back at least some of your normal hearing function, as mentioned, is to get treatment as soon as possible.

How do You Deal With Sudden Hearing Loss?

In cases when the cause is unknown and in most other cases, the normal course of treatment involves corticosteroids. Decreasing the swelling and reducing inflammation is the goal as with all steroid usage.

The recommended method of treatment has evolved since researchers have carried out more studies on sudden loss of hearing and medicine has modernized. Pill form is how these steroids were historically prescribed, but for people who were leery of the side effects of medication or were unable to use oral steroids, this presented a challenge.

An injection of steroids into the eardrum was as effective as an oral steroid according to a 2018 NIDCD clinical trial, even allowing the medication to go right into the inner ear, without the drawback of the oral options. These injections have now become a common approach to treatment in the offices of ear, nose and throat specialists around the country.

A panel of tests that could diagnose the inherent issue causing your sudden loss of hearing can be arranged by your doctor and that’s another reason why getting prompt medical attention is crucial. These tests can even test your ability to keep your balance as well as performing blood-work and several imaging techniques.

New Treatments For Sudden Hearing Loss Could be on The Horizon

Given the lack of solid information about the cause of sudden hearing loss, continuing research digs deeper into what could be the culprit. A potentially safer way of administering steroids is the new advancement of infusing the drug into microspheres.

Researchers have shown that even though they might not have all the answers about sudden loss of hearing, your chances of getting your hearing back is increased by getting early treatment. Contact a hearing specialist if you are experiencing hearing loss of any type.

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