Sudden hearing loss is a serious condition that impacts many. It is an issue with a fairly straightforward definition. Even the name itself serves to give you an idea of what you’re talking about. However, within that straightforward definition, you are going to find that sudden hearing loss is a considerably more complex subject than you might have expected.
There are several things about sudden hearing loss that are worth keeping in mind.
What Is Sudden Hearing Loss?
Also known as SHL, sudden hearing loss is considered to be any type of hearing reduction that is greater than thirty dB. At the same time, it must also occur over a minimum of three contiguous frequencies, and over a period of seventy-two-hours or less. The particulars of the condition can vary from one individual to the next. One person can experience the worst of sudden hearing loss upon waking up in the morning. Others can experience it a little more gradually, but still over a rate that progresses rapidly across a few hours or couple of days.
The severity can also vary from one person to the next. In most cases, only one ear is going to be impacted by the condition.
The causes for sudden hearing loss can also vary. However, in most cases, the cause of SHL comes down to some sort of trauma. An infection, circulatory problem, or virtually any type of inner ear problem can lead to sudden hearing loss. One of the biggest problems with sudden hearing loss involves trying to figure out a pathology. Although numerous studies have been conducted, the sad reality is that with most patients, the specific cause for SHL in most patients remains unknown.
Diagnosing sudden hearing loss does have a criteria behind it. Otitis media, systemic diseases, and ototoxic medication exposure are all things a doctor is going to consider. In the end, a documented, recent decline in hearing is usually needed to establish a firm sudden hearing loss diagnosis. An audiogram is commonly utilized, and a doctor may also conduct some blood studies.
Treating sudden hearing loss can be challenging, but by no means is it in the realm of being impossible. Some treatments have had their share of controversy, owing to the fact that sudden hearing loss continues to lack a definite cause. Nonetheless, some of the treatment options for sudden hearing loss that have been explored include systemic steroids, anti-viral meds, carbogen therapy, or even no treatment whatsoever.