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

More frequently than we would like to admit, in our modern day society, we neglect health care.

Think about people who disregard their own health care so they can obtain protection for their children. How about professionals who won’t fit in a doctor’s appointment because they are to busy going to meetings. Then there are those who are frightened of what they could hear so they avoid the doctor’s office preferring to stay ignorant.

But what would you do if you needed more than something to fight off a sinus infection or your yearly flu vaccine? What would you do if you woke up one day with sudden and complete loss of hearing in one if not both ears?

If your answer is to just ignore it until your hearing returns, there’s a good chance it never will. Hearing professionals caution that if you don’t have sudden temporary hearing loss taken care of immediately, peculiarly if it’s at the nerve level, it might become permanent.

What is Sudden Hearing Loss?

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

Many people would be surprised to know how frequently sudden hearing loss occurs. In fact, studies estimate that there are between one and six individuals for every 5,000 each year who experience sudden hearing loss. But according to the NIDC, if undiagnosed claims were taken into consideration, that number would be significantly higher. That means that around 400,000 (or more) Americans might develop sudden loss of hearing every year.

The term “sudden” is a bit of a misconception in this instance as what’s categorically labeled as sudden hearing loss can happen over several hours or up to three days.

What is The Cause of Sudden Hearing Loss?

Because the onset can take place over hours or days, doctors are usually not able to discover what causes most cases. The unfortunate fact 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 possibility of recovering at least some of your regular hearing function, as mentioned, is to get treatment as soon as possible.

How do You Handle Sudden Hearing Loss?

In the majority of cases, particularly those where the cause is unknown, the normal course of treatment involves corticosteroids. As with all steroid use, the goal is to minimize inflammation and decrease swelling.

As medicine has advanced and more researchers have carried out additional studies on sudden loss of hearing, the preferred method of treatment has evolved. Historically, doctors prescribed these steroids in pill form, but this presented a challenge for individuals who were not able to take oral steroids and those who were leery of the side effects linked to the medication.

An injection of steroids into the eardrum was as effective as an oral steroid according to a 2018 NIDCD clinical trial, even enabling the medication to flow directly into the inner ear, without the downside of the oral options. Ear, nose and throat specialist around the country routinely give these injections in the office.

Another reason why getting immediate medical attention is so important is that your doctor may order a group of tests that could diagnose the underlying issue behind your sudden loss of hearing or another threatening condition. These tests can even determine your ability to keep your balance as well as performing blood-work and several imaging methods.

New Treatments For Sudden Hearing Loss May be on The Horizon

Researchers continue to work on the problem but frankly, there is a lack of solid facts around the cause of sudden hearing loss. A potentially safer way of administering steroids is the new advancement of infusing the drug into microspheres.

Researchers have shown that even though they may not have all the answers concerning sudden loss of hearing, your chances of getting your hearing back is increased by seeking early treatment. If you’re experiencing hearing loss, either gradual or sudden, you should get in touch with a hearing specialist immediately.

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