Early Treatment Gives Hope to Those Who Have Sudden Hearing Loss

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

More often than we would like to admit, in today’s society, we put off on health care.

Consider the parents who regularly put the needs of their children before of their own, making certain their sons and daughters get proactive and reactive care when necessary, but neglecting to do the same for themselves. The same goes for the working professional who refuses to cancel a meeting to squeeze in a doctor’s appointment. Then there are individuals who are frightened of what they might hear so they avoid the doctor’s office preferring to stay ignorant.

But what would you do if you needed more than just your annual preventive flu vaccine or something to ward off a sinus infection? If you woke up one day and had total hearing loss in one if not both ears what would you do then?

There’s a good possibility your hearing will not ever return if you simply attempt to wait it out. Hearing specialists caution that sudden, temporary loss of hearing might advance to permanent hearing loss without immediate treatment, especially if the damage is at the nerve level.

Sudden Hearing Loss, What is it?

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), only about half the individuals who experience sudden hearing loss–the sudden loss of 30 decibels or more of hearing ability–will regain some or all of their hearing naturally.

Many people would be shocked to know how often sudden hearing loss happens. As a matter of fact for every 5,000 people, between one and six are estimated to experience sudden loss of hearing. But according to the NIDC, if undiagnosed claims were included, that number would be significantly higher. This means that this year about 400,000 Americans or more could experience sudden loss of hearing.

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

Sudden Hearing Loss; What is The Cause?

Doctors are often not able to find the cause because it happens over hours or even days. The sad reality is that only around 10 percent of individuals diagnosed with sudden loss of hearing have a cause that can be identified. exposure to certain drugs, blood pressure problems, neurological disorders, infections, disorders of the inner ear and head trauma are some of the most common causes that hearing specialist can pinpoint.

Your best chance of recovering at least some of your regular hearing function, as mentioned, is to get treatment as soon as possible.

Sudden Hearing Loss; How do You Treat it?

In many cases, specifically those where the cause is unknown, the normal course of treatment involves corticosteroids. Decreasing the swelling and reducing inflammation is the goal as with all steroid use.

The preferred method of treatment has changed since researchers have conducted more studies on sudden hearing loss and medicine has advanced. Pill form is how these steroids were historically prescribed, but this presented a challenge for those who were unable to take oral steroids and those who were worried about the side effects linked to the medication.

An injection of steroids through the eardrum proved to be as reliable as an oral steroid according to a 2018 NIDCD clinical trial, even side-stepping the drawbacks of oral alternatives by enabling the medication to flow directly into the ear. These injections have now become a normal approach to treatment in the offices of ear, nose and throat specialists around the country.

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

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

Given the lack of concrete information about the cause of sudden loss of hearing, ongoing research digs deeper into what could be the cause. A potentially safer way of administering steroids is the new development of infusing the drug into microspheres.

While many aspects of sudden hearing loss are still a mystery, researchers and medical professionals have shown over and over that early treatment improves your chances of getting back the hearing you’ve lost. Contact a hearing specialist if you are experiencing hearing loss of any kind.

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