Sudden hearing loss is a condition that warrants you seeking medical management immediately. If you notice a drastic change in your hearing, don’t assume its wax or fluid in your ear. It could be wax or fluid but it also may be a sudden hearing loss; either way you will likely benefit from medical treatment.
Sudden changes in hearing can happen overnight or over a few days and can be accompanied by loud ringing in the ear (tinnitus), dizziness/vertigo and/or fullness or pressure in the same ear. They typically will occur in one ear and in very rare cases will occur on both sides.
The National Institute of Deafness and Communication Disorders (NIDCD) reports the incidence of sudden sensorineural hearing loss at approximately 4,000 new cases a year. Sensorineural is a term used to denote hearing loss that occurs at the cochlea, the organ for hearing.
There are many causes of sudden hearing loss but it is quite uncommon to know exactly what caused the change in hearing. The patient’s medical history may offer clues. Good air and blood flow are paramount to healthy cochlear function and a change in hearing can occur due to the deprivation of either of these influences or it can be related other problems such as a virus that attacks the ear.
Medical treatment can be helpful in many cases and usually involves steroid therapy which can be given either orally or injected into the affected ear depending on what the physician and patient decide together. Other treatments may include antibiotics, discontinuing a medication that may be contributing to the change in hearing, or carbogen therapy which aims to help increase oxygen and blood flow to the affected ear.
If you have a change in your hearing, see a doctor or audiologist immediately!
Medical healthcare providers believe that the faster you get in to have your hearing checked by an audiologist and then treated medically by a physician the better chance you will have for a full recovery of your hearing!