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

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

Think about people who ignore their own health care so they can obtain protection for their children. What about professionals who can’t squeeze in a doctor’s appointment because they are to busy going to meetings. Then there are those who are afraid of what they might hear so they steer clear of the doctor’s office preferring to stay ignorant.

But what would you do if you needed more than just your annual preventive flu shot or something to deal with a sinus infection? What would you do if you woke up one morning with unexpected and complete hearing loss in one or both ears?

There’s a good chance your hearing will never come back if you just try to put it off. Hearing experts caution that sudden, temporary loss of hearing might progress to permanent hearing loss without immediate treatment, specifically if the damage is at the nerve level.

Sudden Hearing Loss, What is it?

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), only about half the people 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.

Sudden hearing loss is more likely to occur than is commonly recognized. As a matter of fact, studies estimate that there are between one and six individuals for every 5,000 yearly who experience sudden hearing loss. But according to the NIDC, if undiagnosed claims were included, that number would go up significantly. That means that around 400,000 (or more) Americans might develop sudden hearing loss each year.

Sudden hearing loss can actually happen over a few hours or days so the term is somewhat of a misconception.

What is The Cause of Sudden Hearing Loss?

Because the onset can take place over hours or days, doctors are seldom able to learn 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 determined. 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 chance of getting back at least some of your normal hearing function, as mentioned, is to get treatment right away.

How do You Treat Sudden Hearing Loss?

In situations when the cause is not known and in many other cases, the usual course of treatment consists of corticosteroids. As with all steroid use, the objective is to minimize inflammation and decrease swelling.

The preferred means of treatment has evolved since researchers have done more studies on sudden hearing loss and medicine has modernized. Classically, doctors prescribed these steroids in pill form, but for people who were worried about the side effects of medication or were not able to use oral steroids, this presented a challenge.

An injection of steroids into the eardrum was as reliable as an oral steroid according to a 2018 NIDCD clinical trial, even side-stepping the downsides to oral alternatives by enabling the medicine to go right into the ear. These injections are now a common method of treatment in the offices of ear, nose and throat specialists around the country.

A panel of tests that may diagnose the root issue causing your sudden loss of hearing can be ordered by your doctor and that’s another reason why getting prompt medical attention is crucial. These tests can even test your ability to keep your balance as well as performing blood-work and several imaging techniques.

We May be Getting Close to New Treatment For Sudden Hearing Loss

Researchers continue to work on the problem but frankly, there’s a lack of solid facts around the cause of sudden hearing loss. New advancements with infusing drugs into tiny microspheres would offer a new technique of administering the steroids in what might be a safer way.

Researchers have proven that even though they might not have all the answers about sudden loss of hearing, your chances of restoring your hearing is improved by seeking early treatment. Contact a hearing professional if you are experiencing hearing loss of any type.