Most people think of hearing loss as a congenital condition or something that happens slowly over time as we age. However, a startling number of people actually fall victim to a severe hearing loss out of the blue and without warning. This condition is called sudden hearing loss (SLH), and it can be mysterious and alarming to those affected by it.
*The loss is experienced immediately or over a short period of time, up to three days.
*Sometimes it is accompanied by a loud pop or sound in the ear.
*Many people report dizziness or vertigo.
*Up to 70 percent report experiencing tinnitus, a buzzing or ringing in their ears.
In most cases, professionals are uncertain of the cause of the sudden loss. It remains one of medicine’s greatest mysteries. This sudden loss happens either with or without pain. Sometimes it happens after attending an event like a concert or a fireworks show, sometimes this sudden loss happens after taking prescription drugs or with head trauma, an allergic reaction or certain viral infections.
*SHL is rare, occurring in an estimated five to twenty individuals per ten thousand annually.
*Ninety percent of those who suffer from SHL are affected in only one ear.
*Only 10 to 15 percent of people know the cause of their SHL.
Some people regain their hearing over a relatively short amount of time without any treatment at all, but about 15 percent experience loss that worsens over time. Steroid treatments will benefit some and in certain cases surgery will be recommended. For those that don’t respond to these treatments, hearing aids can help to regain some or all of the hearing.
Successful treatment depends on the immediacy of treatment. If you wake up with sudden hearing loss, get to a doctor right away. An ear, nose, and throat specialist is best trained to address this loss.
If you have any questions about SHL or any type of hearing question contact Hidden Hearing.