Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss: What You Need to Know

Hearing loss is a common occurrence as people age. However, if you have a sudden hearing loss in one or both ears, you may be suffering from a type of nerve deafness known as sudden sensorineural hearing loss, or SSHL.

People with SSHL often delay seeking medical help because they believe their hearing loss is caused by allergies, a sinus infection, earwax blocking the ear canal or other common conditions. However, people who develop sudden deafness symptoms, should treat it as a medical emergency and seek medical help as soon as possible ideally in less than 72 hours from the onset of your change in condition. You should ALWAYS go to your nearest Emergency Room for immediate treatment.

But what exactly are the symptoms, causes, and treatments for this incidence? Let’s have a look at the specifics together.

What Is Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss:

ear pain

As the name implies, sudden sensorineural hearing loss is a sudden loss of hearing in the ear or the hearing nerve that can last up to 72 hours. Meaning that you have up to 72 hours to treat this condition before there is little to no chance of recovery.

It causes a notable hearing loss, usually in one ear, and the degree can vary. Typically, an individual’s sudden hearing loss is discovered when they wake up in the morning.

Other signs and symptoms that may accompany a sudden loss of hearing include but are not limited to the following aspects:

  • Distortion of sounds in the ear
  • Tinnitus, a ringing in one or both of the ears
  • A blocked or full feeling in the ear (aural fullness)
  • Nausea/vomiting. Feelings of anxiety

Analysts claim that one to six people per 5,000 are diagnosed with SSHL each year. Although the real number of new SSHL cases might be substantially higher due to the fact that SSHL often stays undiagnosed. It is most common in adults aged 30-60. Males and females are both under the same risk of SHL.

Primary Causes Of SHL:

Generally, sudden sensorineural hearing loss can be caused by a variety of factors: however, in more than 75 percent of instances, the exact cause of a sudden hearing loss is still unknown.

Common causes of sudden hearing deafness might include but are not limited to the following:

  • Idiopathic (unknown cause)
  • Viral infections
  • Anomalies of the cochlea’s blood flow
  • Metabolic causes
  • Toxic causes such as drugs that might damage the ear as a side effect
  • In some rare cases trauma, stress, or a head injury
  • For various uncommon cases due to the growth on the auditory (hearing) nerve.

Common Symptoms of Sudden Hearing Loss:

hearing loss

The initial indicators of a sudden hearing loss are usually ear pressure and/or tinnitus. Common symptoms might appear all at once or over the course of a few days, typically in one ear, and can vary from mild to severe. Permanent deafness is possible in the worst-case scenarios.

Typically, earache is not a common symptom of a sudden hearing loss. Pain in one ear can be caused by a variety of factors and may suggest the presence of another medical condition. At the same time, the presence of a muffled sound in the ear of dizzy spells could be a sign of it.

The following are the most prevalent signs and symptoms of sudden hearing loss:

  • Hearing loss occurs for no apparent reason.
  • The absence of earache
  • Hearing loss only in one ear

Symptoms that come with it include:

  • Dizziness
  • Sensation loss in the outer ear
  • Pressure in the ears
  • Tinnitus

Compilations Followed By Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss:

Hearing loss occurring suddenly can lead to a variety of issues and side effects, including long-term or permanent hearing loss or full deafness. Tinnitus, which can often be accompanied by a constant feeling of pressure in the ear, is another possible long-term consequence. Sudden hearing loss can also be accompanied by a sense of interior restlessness and a racing heartbeat.

Treatment For Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss:

In most cases, an Otolaryngologist (ENT) doctor will likely administer a high-dose steroid injection directly into the ear to bolster your immune system as a first treatment. This treatment often helps, but the timing of your visit to the Emergency Room is critical.

Keep in mind, if you experience any of the symptoms of a sudden hearing loss, you should go to the Emergency Room as soon as possible.

Sudden hearing loss can have some severe consequences including full deafness in your ears. While its primary case still remains uncertain, there are various practices that can help prevent sudden hearing loss and diverse treatments to prevent the worst-case scenarios. If you feel like there is a sudden change to your hearing, go to your nearest Emergency Room ASAP.

Hearing Aid Source is committed to keeping your hearing health to its best. If you need professional help with your hearing complications feel free to contact our hearing specialists in Toronto.