Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sudden sensorineural hearing loss, also known as SSNHL, is a condition in which an individual has a sudden onset of sensorineural hearing loss.
Sensorineural hearing loss is a form of hearing loss that is caused by an issue with the inner ear, auditory nerve, or auditory cortex of the brain. This inner ear disorder must lose at least 30 decibels in a minimum of three connected frequencies in the span of 72 hours.
SSNHL can be lasting, or it can even be fleeting and go away as quickly as it came. A vast majority of SSNHL occurs without a true identifiable cause. The idiopathic nature of SSNHL makes it a difficult form of hearing loss to manage and deal with.
Blood tests, MRIs , and balance tests may be used to diagnose SSNHL or similar hearing-related conditions. Common treatments may be steroids in the case of an infection.
Additional treatments may be medications that can help treat an autoimmune condition that may have caused the hearing loss. Neurologic diseases, blood circulation problems, and disorders of the inner ear may all be a cause.
How Is Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss Treated
Medical treatment should be obtained as soon as possible to better the prognosis of sudden sensorineural hearing loss. The most common treatment is a course of corticosteroids such as oral prednisone and/or intra-tympanic steroid injections. The majority of people with sudden sensorineural hearing loss will recover some degree of the loss and small percentage of people will have symptoms that worsen. 2,3
After treatment, if hearing loss remains, then hearing aids, implantable devices and/or assistive listening technology can help manage the residual hearing loss.
If you suspect that you may have sudden sensorineural hearing loss, seek medical help right away.
What Causes Sudden Hearing Loss
The exact cause of sudden hearing loss is unknown. Nevertheless, we do know that circulation in the inner ear is reduced during sudden hearing loss. Therefore, one theory for its cause is stress. A hectic environment or severe time pressure at work could lead to circulatory disorders, potentially leading to sudden hearing loss.
Other possible causes of sudden hearing loss include:
- Viral infections or reactivations
- Arteriosclerosis and subsequent circulatory disorders
- Metabolic disorders, such as diabetes or high cholesterol
- A ruptured oval or round window
- Cervical spine injury
- Elevated platelet aggregation
- Occlusion of the inner earâs vessels
- Autoimmune diseases
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How Is Hearing Loss In One Ear Treated
Treatment options for your hearing loss will depend on the cause of your condition. In some cases, hearing loss will be irreversible. Your doctor may recommend a hearing aid to help improve your hearing if there is no other treatment for your hearing loss.
Other treatment options may include:
- surgery to repair the ear or remove a tumor
- antibiotics to treat infection
Signs Of Hearing Loss
It’s not always easy to tell if you’re losing your hearing.
Common signs include:
- difficulty hearing other people clearly and misunderstanding what they say, especially in noisy places
- asking people to repeat themselves
- listening to music or watching TV with the volume higher than other people need
- difficulty hearing on the phone
- finding it hard to keep up with a conversation
- feeling tired or stressed from having to concentrate while listening
Sometimes someone else might notice problems with your hearing before you do.
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How Is Unilateral Hearing Loss Managed
Hearing loss treatments often depend on what causes your hearing loss and how severe it is.
Management options for unilateral hearing loss or single-sided deafness include:
In addition to devices, communication strategies and environmental modifications can help people with hearing loss communicate more effectively.
What Research Does The Nidcd Support On Sudden Deafness
Since so little is known about the causes of most cases of SSHL, researchers are considering different types, risk factors, and causes of SSHL. For instance, researchers are studying how changes in the inner ear, such as disrupted blood flow or inflammation, may contribute to hearing loss. Researchers are also testing new ways to use imaging to help diagnose SSHL and potentially detect its causes.
NIDCD-funded researchers are also trying to improve ways of dispensing drugs into the inner ear by intratympanic injections. Scientists are developing ways to infuse drugs into tiny microspheres that can slowly release the drug. This would allow doctors to give a single injection of a slow-releasing drug into the ear rather than several injections of a traditional fast-releasing drug. Another team of scientists is studying the use of magnets to push drug-infused particles into and throughout the inner ear, distributing the drug more evenly and effectively. Visit the NIH Clinical Research Trials and You website to read about these and other clinical trials that are recruiting volunteers.
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Shl Or Just A Stuffy Ear Humming Can Tell
How can you know the difference between a regular stuffy ear and sudden hearing loss? Try this test:
Hum aloud to yourself. With normal hearing, you hear the sound equally in both ears. If you do this when you have a new loss of hearing in one ear, the humming will shift to one side or the other.
For example, if your right ear is affected and the hum is louder in that ear, then the hearing loss is more likely a conductive loss, and probably due to blockage from a cold or built-up ear wax.
However, if the humming is louder in the left ear, it suggests the right ear hearing loss is due to recent nerve damage, and that requires prompt medical attention.
There Are Four Types Of Hearing Loss:
- Conductive Hearing LossHearing loss caused by something that stops sounds from getting through the outer or middle ear. This type of hearing loss can often be treated with medicine or surgery.
- Sensorineural Hearing LossHearing loss that occurs when there is a problem in the way the inner ear or hearing nerve works.
- Mixed Hearing LossHearing loss that includes both a conductive and a sensorineural hearing loss.
- Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum DisorderHearing loss that occurs when sound enters the ear normally, but because of damage to the inner ear or the hearing nerve, sound isnt organized in a way that the brain can understand. For more information, visit the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
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Hearing Health Support In Stanwood Wa
At Stanwood Hearing, we offer educational resources and advanced solutions for hearing loss. Hearing loss is incredibly common, affecting 48 million Americans. Hearing loss is the inability to hear sounds in one or both ears. Hearing loss doesnt mean the complete absence of sound but rather sounds seem muffled, fragmented, or unclear.
Our ears play an important role in our overall health. Your ears enable you to control your balance, to effectively communicate, and they help keep your brain healthy. For these reasons, its important to take good care of your hearing by coming in for regular hearing checks and wearing hearing protection when you are exposed to loud noise.
Causes Of Sudden Hearing Loss
The simplest causes of sudden hearing loss are those that result from a buildup of fluid or wax. Fluid buildup is often the result of an allergy, and it can create an environment that allows for the growth of bacteria. The accumulation of fluid or wax is not life-threatening, but these conditions are uncomfortable and disconcerting and may influence the patients equilibrium. If fluid buildup behind the eardrum is not treated in a timely manner, it can eventually cause enough pressure to rupture the membrane.
Sudden hearing loss is less often caused by more serious conditions. These can include viruses, tumors and strokes in the inner ear.
Only about 3 percent of patients with sudden hearing loss will be found to have a tumor. These tumors are called acoustic neuromas and affect the auditory nerve. The auditory nerve carries signals from the inner ear to the brain. Tumors almost always affect hearing in only one ear. If left untreated, these tumors will cause a progressive, permanent loss of hearing over time. Acoustic neuromas grow slowly and do not metastasize into other tissues.
A common virus that can produce hearing loss is the virus that causes Lyme disease. Other viral and bacterial infections, as well as some autoimmune disorders, may also be implicated.
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Workup In Sudden Hearing Loss
Routine, non-targeted, laboratory testing is not recommended. Laboratory studies should be directed by the history and physical examination findings and can include the following:
- Fluorescent treponemal antibody absorption for syphilis
- Antinuclear antibodies , rheumatoid factor, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate , for autoimmune diseases
- International normalized radio , activated partial thromboplastin time , and clotting time, for coagulopathy
- Complete blood count and differential, for infection
- Thyroid-stimulating hormone for thyroid disease
- Fasting blood glucose for diabetes mellitus
- Cholesterol and triglycerides, for hyperlipidemia
Magnetic resonance imaging with gadolinium diethylenetriamine-pentaacetic acid enhancement is the criterion standard test for diagnosing cerebellopontine angle masses, especially because a 30-40% false-negative rate exists with auditory brainstem response .
Other tests include the following:
- Audiometry – Including pure-tone and speech tests and immittance tests audiometry is mandatory
- Auditory brainstem response testing and otoacoustic emissions tests – May provide additional information regarding the functional integrity of the auditory system
- Vestibular tests – Are not mandatory but are obtained when indicated by the history and physical examination findings
Joy Victory Managing Editor Healthy Hearing
Joy Victory has extensive experience editing consumer health information. Her training in particular has focused on how to best communicate evidence-based medical guidelines and clinical trial results to the public. She strives to make health content accurate, accessible and engaging to the public.Read more about Joy.
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So How Does Hearing Loss In One Ear Happen
Single sided Hearing Loss or unilateral hearing loss are technical terms for when hearing is impaired on one side. While the more ordinary kind of hearing loss is normally the result of noise-related damage, single-sided hearing loss is not. So, other possible factors need to be assessed.
Here are a few of the most common causes:
Hearing Loss In One Ear Potential Causes
Because youre so cool, you were in the front row for the entire rock concert last night. Its not exactly hearing-healthy, but its fun, and the next morning, you wake up with two ringing ears.
But what if you can only hear out of one ear when you wake up? Well, if thats the situation, the rock concert may not be the culprit. Something else must be going on. And you may be a bit concerned when you experience hearing loss in only one ear.
Whats more, your hearing may also be a little out of whack. Your brain is accustomed to sorting out signals from two ears. So it can be disorienting to get signals from one ear only.
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How Can I Prevent Unilateral Hearing Loss Or Single
Exposure to loud noises is one of the most preventable causes of hearing loss. To lower your familys risk of noise-induced hearing loss:
- Turn down the volume on electronic devices, earbuds and toys.
- Wear sound-reducing earplugs or earmuffs when attending loud events or working with power tools or in noisy environments.
Our Approach To Sudden Idiopathic Hearing Loss
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy decreases inflammation,oxygenates the entire body, stimulates the growth of new healthy blood vessels, andreleasesstem cells, up to 800% more after twenty sessions! Treatment of SIHL primarily focuses on improving blood flow and increasing oxygen supply in the inner ear. ENT physicians typically treat SIHL with steroids. While effective, research has shown that patient who treated with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in addition to steroids had significantly higher rates of recovery than those who treated with steroids alone, including in patients with severe hearing loss .
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How Is Sshl Treated
Early treatment may increase your chances for a full recovery. But, your doctor will try to find the cause of your hearing loss before starting treatment.
Steroids are the most common treatment. They can reduce inflammation and swelling. This is especially helpful in people who have diseases of the immune system, such as Cogan syndrome. Your doctor may also prescribe antibiotics if an infection is the cause of your SSHL.
In some cases, a doctor can surgically insert a cochlear implant into your ear. The implant doesnt completely restore hearing, but it can amplify sounds to a more normal level.
How Hearing Loss In One Ear Affects Hearing
A reduction in hearing can be frustrating. Yet, for older people, it can be incredibly isolating or disorientating too.
Having two working ears allows us to pinpoint exactly where sound is coming from. People with hearing loss in one ear will often find it difficult to tell which direction a sound is coming from, which can make things like following a group conversation, or crossing a road difficult especially in areas with a lot of background noise.
A build-up of wax or other blockages may make some sounds louder for example, you may find your own voice when speaking sounds louder than usual, and start to speak too quietly or avoid the conversation altogether.
A build-up of fluid associated with infection may cause balance problems which can be an added risk for older people who are less steady on their feet.
Other ways losing hearing in just one ear can impact daily activities include
- Asking others to repeat themselves.
- Needing to turn the television up louder.
- Difficulty hearing and understanding conversations
- Feeling drained or irritable at the end of the day from the extra effort it takes to listen
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Treatment For Hearing Loss In One Ear
- Hearing aids are the only way to treat sensorineural hearing loss
- Surgery to either remove a tumor or to repair the ear
- Antibiotics can be prescribed to treat the infection
- If inflammation and swelling occurs, steroids could help reduce this
- Medication that a person may be taking could be causing the hearing loss
- Wax build-up removal products such as Debrox or with wax softening drops
- Seek professional help if there is a foreign body in your ear. Do not try to tweeze this out on your own
So Whats The Cause Of Hearing Loss In One Ear
Hearing professionals call impaired hearing in one ear unilateral hearing loss or single-sided hearing loss. Single sided hearing loss, unlike typical both ear hearing loss, normally isnt the result of noise related damage. This means that its time to look at other possible causes.
Some of the most prevalent causes include the following:
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Treating Sudden Hearing Loss: Can You Get Your Hearing Back
Although treatments for sudden hearing loss are still fairly limited, they are important: 85% of those who receive prompt medical attention regain some or all of their hearing. This is mostly good news for people hoping to regain their hearing in one ear.
The drugs used to to treat sudden hearing loss are steroids, which suppress inflammation. Specifically, corticosteroids are the most common treatment for SSNHL. They work by helping the body fight illness, decreasing swelling and reducing inflammation. Usually administered in pill form, the steroids also can be given through an injection behind the eardrum.
With prompt treatment, you have a good chance of regaining some or all of your lost hearing.
What Is A Discovery Session And Why Do I Need One
The purpose of the Discovery Session is for one of our team members to better understand your situation and what your journey has been like so far. From there, our team member can discuss COMPASS in more detail and how it can help give you success in your next states of meaningful employment.
Please fill out the form below if you would like our staff to contact you, answer your questions, or get you scheduled for a free Discovery Session.
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What Does Sudden Hearing Loss Feel Like
You may lose your hearing all at once. Or it may take a few days to develop. In general, the condition involves a loss of hearing that happens over 72 hours or less.
Nine out of 10 people lose hearing in one ear. You may still hear some sounds out of the affected ear, but theyâll be softer. For example, a normal speaking voice may sound like a whisper.
Some people first notice hearing loss when they try to talk on the phone with the affected ear. Others hear a loud âpopâ right before their hearing goes away.
More symptoms often happen. Dizziness and ringing in the ears are common. You may also feel pressure in your ear.
Management Of Sudden Hearing Loss
No preferred treatment regimen exists for sudden hearing loss. Corticosteroids are the primary anti-inflammatory agents used to treat idiopathic sudden sensory hearing loss . The mechanism of action for corticosteroids in sudden hearing loss is unknown, although reduction of cochlear and auditory nerve inflammation is the presumed pathway. However, the value of steroids in the treatment of idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss remains unclear.
Other treatments include diatrizoate meglumine, an angiographic contrast agent that was rather serendipitously found to have an effect on sudden hearing loss and is the most commonly used derivative of triiodobenzoic acid.
Repair of oval and round window perilymph fistulae has been used in cases of ISSHL associated with a positive fistula test result or a history of recent trauma or barotrauma.
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