Early Treatment Gives a Positive Outlook to Those With Sudden Hearing Loss

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

More often than we would like to admit, in our modern day society, we neglect health care.

Consider the parents who continually put the needs of their children ahead of their own, ensuring their sons and daughters 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 with meetings. Then there are those who are frightened of what they might hear so they avoid the doctor’s office preferring to remain ignorant.

But what would you do if you needed more than just this year’s preventive flu vaccine or something to deal with a sinus infection? If you woke up one morning and had complete loss of hearing in one or both ears what would you do then?

There’s a good possibility your hearing will never return if you simply try to wait it out. Hearing experts caution that if you don’t get sudden temporary hearing loss taken care of right away, especially if it’s at the nerve level, it may 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 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 go up significantly. This means that this year around 400,000 Americans or more could experience sudden hearing loss.

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

Sudden Hearing Loss; What is The Cause?

Doctors are frequently unable to figure out the cause because it happens over hours or even days. The unfortunate truth is that only about 10 percent of individuals diagnosed with sudden loss of hearing have a cause that can be determined. Out of those cases that hearing experts can determine, the most common causes are infections, head trauma, autoimmune diseases, exposure to certain drugs, blood circulation problems, neurological disorders and disorders of the inner ear.

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

How do You Handle Sudden Hearing Loss?

In cases when the cause is unknown and in many other cases, the normal course of treatment consists of corticosteroids. As with all steroid usage, the objective is to reduce inflammation and decrease swelling.

The preferred means of treatment has changed since researchers have done more studies on sudden hearing loss and medicine has modernized. Historically, doctors prescribed these steroids in pill form, but for people who were leery of the side effects of medication or were not able to use oral steroids, this presented a challenge.

An injection of steroids through the eardrum proved to be as effective as an oral steroid according to a 2018 NIDCD clinical trial, even getting around the downsides to oral alternatives by allowing the medication to flow straight into the ear. Ear, nose and throat specialist around the country routinely give these injections in the office.

A group of tests that could diagnose the underlying problem causing your sudden loss of hearing can be arranged by your doctor and that’s another reason why seeking immediate medical attention is important. These tests can even examine whether you can keep your balance as well as performing blood-work and several imaging methods.

We Could be Getting Close to New Treatment For Sudden Hearing Loss

Researchers continue to work on the problem but honestly, there is a lack of concrete information around the cause of sudden hearing loss. A potentially safer way of administering steroids is the new development of infusing the drug into microspheres.

While some aspects of sudden hearing loss continue to be a mystery, researchers and medical specialists have proven repeatedly that early treatment improves your chances of restoring the hearing you’ve lost. Contact a hearing expert if you are experiencing hearing loss of any type.

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