Sudden hearing loss is scary – and more common than you think. If you don’t want to become deaf, you should visit your doctor immediately
According to an alarming study published by the University of Texas Medical Branch 70% of Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss patients also suffer from tinnitus. Without any warning, you lose part or all of your hearing in one ear, or in a few even worse cases, both ears, from one day or even one moment to the next. You may wake up with a sudden hearing loss one morning. Or it may hit you at any time during the day. Find out now what to do and how you can easily prevent this horrible condition.
What if suddenly, you can’t hear?
35 years-old Carly Sygrove experienced a textbook case of sudden hearing loss. Unfortunately, she did not check in time with her doctor, which means that today she has no functional hearing in her left ear.
It all happened very fast, as she recalls: “Out of nowhere came a loud screeching sound that filled my head with pressure. The sound grew quieter into a dull ringing, but the pressure continued, and I was soon feeling lightheaded and disoriented. Whilst trying to act normal, I turned to my colleague to the right. Her mouth was moving, and she was looking at me and was gesturing. But I couldn’t hear anything she was saying.”
Only after more than two weeks did she visit a specialist. She stayed in a hospital for a week, where she received intravenous corticosteroid treatment. She also had four steroid injections directly into her eardrum. However, after receiving these treatments, there was still no improvement in her hearing.
From tinnitus to sudden hearing loss – here’s what you must know
Sudden hearing loss is a frightening condition. There are many possible sudden hearing loss causes and it is hard to pinpoint just one. Even so, doctors recommend paying special attention to the following:
- Viral infections: 1 in 4 patients reports suffering from an upper respiratory infection within a month before the hearing loss.
- Tumors: A hidden tumor in the ear may cause sudden hearing loss
- Head trauma: any head injury affecting your hair cells, eardrum or bones may leave you deaf
- Bad blood flow: if the blood supply sent to your ear is clogged, your hearing is in danger
- Drugs and insecticides: this should not come as a surprise, but a long list of prescription drugs and chronic abuse of painkillers may cause sudden hearing loss. Insecticides such as melathion and methoxychlor have been associated with a sudden hearing loss in both ears (binaural sudden hearing loss).
Sudden hearing loss – now let’s hear the good news
The numbers don’t lie. If you suffer from tinnitus, you must also know that SHL happens to between 300,000 and 1,2 million people around the world. It can strike at any age, but it is most common in people over 50. It doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman – the unfortunate chances to develop this condition are similar.
But there is good news as well: many forms of sudden hearing loss may go away by themselves or be reversed by medical treatment. According to research, between 30%-70% of patients will experience partial or complete recovery, usually within a couple of weeks.
But no matter what, you should deal with a sudden hearing loss as a true emergency of the ear and have your condition investigated by your doctor and hearing specialists.