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

In today’s society, neglecting health care is a situation that takes place more often than we’d like to admit.

Think of the parents who regularly put the needs of their children in front of their own, making sure their children receive proactive and reactive care when needed, but neglecting to do the same for themselves. What about professionals who won’t squeeze in a doctor’s appointment because they are to busy going to meetings. Then there are individuals 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 simply this year’s preventive flu vaccine or something to get rid of a sinus infection? What would you do if you woke up one day with sudden and total hearing loss in one or both ears?

If your answer is to just ignore it until your hearing returns, chances are it never will. Hearing professionals caution that if you don’t have sudden temporary hearing loss treated immediately, peculiarly if it’s at the nerve level, it could become permanent.

What is Sudden Hearing Loss?

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

Many people would be shocked to find out how frequently sudden hearing loss occurs. As a matter of fact for every 5,000 people, between one and six are estimated to experience sudden hearing loss. But according to the NIDC, if undiagnosed claims were taken into consideration, that number would be significantly higher. This means that this year around 400,000 Americans or more could develop sudden hearing loss.

The term “sudden” is somewhat 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.

Sudden Hearing Loss; What is The Cause?

Due to the fact that the onset can happen over hours or days, doctors are usually not able to learn what’s behind the cause for most cases. The sad reality is that only about 10 percent of individuals diagnosed with sudden loss of hearing have a cause that can be determined. Out of those cases that hearing professionals can pinpoint, the most common causes are infections, head trauma, autoimmune diseases, exposure to certain drugs, blood circulation problems, neurological disorders and disorders of the inner ear.

Your best possibility of recovering at least some of your regular hearing function, as mentioned, is to get treatment right away.

How do You Handle Sudden Hearing Loss?

In cases when the cause is not known and in most other cases, the usual course of treatment consists of corticosteroids. Decreasing the swelling and reducing inflammation is the goal as with all steroid usage.

As medicine has modernized and more researchers have carried out additional studies on sudden loss of hearing, the preferred method of treatment has evolved. 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 take oral steroids, this presented a challenge.

A 2011 clinical trial supported by the NIDCD found that an injection of steroids into the eardrum was just as reliable as oral steroids, even getting around the drawbacks to oral alternatives by letting the medication to go right into the ear. These injections are now a common approach to treatment in the offices of ear, nose and throat specialists around the country.

Another reason why seeking prompt medical attention is so important is that your doctor might order a group of tests that could diagnose the fundamental problem behind your sudden hearing loss or another threatening condition. These tests may include blood-work, an MRI or other methods of imaging and even an examination of your balance.

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

Researchers continue to work on the issue but honestly, there’s a lack of solid information around the cause of sudden hearing loss. A potentially safer way of administering steroids is the new development of infusing the drug into microspheres.

Researchers have proven that even though they might not have all the answers regarding sudden hearing loss, your chances of getting your hearing back is increased by getting early treatment. Make an appointment with a hearing professional if you have hearing loss of any kind.

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