Sudden hearing loss

Sudden sensorineural hearing loss, commonly known as acute deafness is described as a medical emergency by suffering a rapid loss of hearing at once.


The early-stage symptoms of sudden hearing loss can be ear pressure and/or tinnitus. Most patients may suffer a muffled sound in the ear or dizzy spells, but an earache is not common case. The severity of the symptoms and inner ear inflammations may vary throughout the time course. We, therefore, suggest that anyone who experiences a sudden hearing loss should see the doctor immediately.


Since little is known about the exact cause of most hearing loss, people often misunderstand that the acute deafness is only due to allergies, earwax blockage or a sinus infection. There are, however, more than one identifiable causes, including infectious diseases, a traumatic injury, immune disorders, ototoxic medications that harm the sensory cells in the inner ear, hearing nerve tumor, abrupt changes in air pressure and Meniere's disease.


To appropriately diagnose the sudden deafness, the doctor will proceed a hearing test to ascertain the problem by taking microscopic examination. Various supplementary exams, i.e. blood tests, ear ultrasound and imaging, are proceeded accordingly to get further clarification. During the examinations, the practitioner will check the ear canal function and determine the spectrum of hearing impairment.


When the otologic emergency occurs, it is commonly treated with corticosteroids. It is a medical solution to reduce inflammation and decrease swelling. About 70% of patients responded positively to the steroids and gradually get recovered. In The Specialists, ENT doctor will inject the medication to the middle ear cavity with aid of syringe to facilitate the action. The microscope is applied during the whole process. The treatment lasts for two weeks with four separate injections. More than 50% of patients can restore their lost hearing.


The sudden hearing loss should be treated within 72 hours, and the recovery rate is about 85%. If delaying for more than two weeks, it may decrease the effectiveness of treatment and increase the chance of permanent hearing loss.