Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Those who have experienced sudden hearing loss described it as hearing a buzzing and an unusually loud noise while feeling dizzy. Hearing can suddenly be lost in one or both ears. This condition is known as sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL), or sudden deafness. This is a type of hearing loss that quickly occurs and has no external explanation of its cause.
SSNHL is characterized by inner ear inflammation. It normally affects one ear. This condition may cause tinnitus and vertigo.
According to a clinical practice guideline that was published in August (2019) by the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, about 66,000 Americans suffer from SSNHL each year. This condition can begin at any age, but it is frequently diagnosed in adults who are in their late 40s or early 50s.
SSNHL can be a very alarming experience for people. They tend to notice some confusion and an inability to hear. The signs of this problem cause people to be concerned that they may be experiencing a stroke.
Here is what you should know -- and what you should do -- if you experience sudden hearing loss:
Get An Early Diagnosis and Treatment
Many who experience SSNHL will likely blame it on allergies or a respiratory infection that clogged their ears. They may also believe that their hearing will eventually recover on its own.
Within a week or two, approximately half of those with SSNHL will spontaneously get back some of their hearing abilities in the affected ear.
Getting an early diagnosis, and treatment can help beat the odds. It’s best to see a healthcare professional within 24 to 48 hours.
Your healthcare professional will examine you by determining whether or not there is a physical reason for your sudden hearing loss. There may be fluid in your ear, earwax obstructing the ear canal or your eardrum might be punctured. Other possible causes may be due to head trauma, being exposed to specific chemotherapy medications or neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). Medical professionals are unable to diagnose the exact cause of SSNHL in about 90 percent of those who are affected.
Studies are still being conducted, but some research recommends that there is a connection with the metabolic system -- a group of conditions including high blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and waist circumference that is bigger than the average size.
Exams and Specialists
If a physical examination does not disclose an obvious reason for sudden hearing loss, you can see a hearing instrument specialist within a few days.
At Pure Sound Hearing Aids, our specialists can conduct a pure-tone audiometry test, which plays a sequence of tones with an audiometer. This hearing tone test will measure the frequencies of tones that you are able to hear.
Throughout the pure-tone audiometry test, you will wear headphones and sit inside a soundproof booth. The specialist will sit outside of the booth, operate the audiometer and document your responses. You will be asked to press a button on a hand-held device each time you hear a tone. The tones will fluctuate in loudness (decibels) and pitch (frequency), in order to analyze the hearing abilities of your inner ear to recognize sound vibrations.
If you, or a loved one, have experienced sudden hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids to schedule an appointment and consultation.
Pure Sound services will only be available by appointment and for essential visits at this time. Essential visits include all appointments that require repairs, re-fittings and new hearing aid fittings. If you are having any problems with your hearing aids, or need supplies for your hearing aids, please call us before visiting one of our offices.