Sudden onset hearing loss can happen quickly, sometimes over the course of just a few days; it can even happen overnight. It usually presents as complete hearing loss in one ear. It is a pretty rare occurrence and if this happens to you, seek medical help right away and consider it an emergency. Sometimes sudden onset hearing loss is accompanied by tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and dizziness, or a disoriented feeling. Sudden onset hearing loss is also called sudden deafness or sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL).
What Causes Sudden Onset Hearing Loss?
Before we learn about the steps to take if you experience sudden onset hearing loss, it is a good idea to know what causes it. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) lists the causes of sudden onset hearing loss:
- Infectious diseases
- Trauma, such as a head injury
- Autoimmune diseases such as Cogan’s syndrome
- Ototoxic drugs (drugs that harm the sensory cells in the inner ear)
- Blood circulation problems
- A tumor on the nerve that connects the ear to the brain
- Neurologic diseases and disorders, such as multiple sclerosis
- Disorders of the inner ear, such as Ménière’s disease
As we mentioned above, if you are experiencing the symptoms of sudden onset hearing loss, seek out medical help immediately. Sudden onset hearing loss can be diagnosed by a doctor or audiologist with a hearing assessment. You should be ready with a list of all medications you take including the names and dosages. Your medical history and your recent hearing loss experience are important to have detailed as well. Only a medical professional can determine the cause and outline your individual treatment plan.
How to Treat Sudden Onset Hearing Loss
The treatment for sudden onset hearing loss really depends on the cause, so getting evaluated by a medical professional as soon as possible is key. Fast treatment can also improve chances of recovering your hearing. Possible recommendations from your doctor might include:
- Corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and help your body fight off illness.
- Antibiotics would be the treatment if the sudden hearing loss is caused by an infection.
- You should discuss your individual situation with your doctor or audiologist.
You Can Rely on the Experts at Anderson Audiology
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At Anderson Audiology, we are always here to help you through all aspects of your hearing health. If you have any questions about hearing loss or hearing aids, please contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our hearing professionals today. We have 5 convenient audiology office locations in southern Nevada to choose from including: Green Valley, Sun City Summerlin, Aliante / Centennial, Henderson, or Rainbow / Desert Inn.