Whether it happens upon waking up or over the course of a few days, sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL), or sudden hearing loss, is a condition that catches thousands of people by surprise. This condition may leave patients confused and frightened, but with ongoing treatment and medical attention, there’s a chance of recovery.
While the precise cause of sudden hearing loss isn’t yet determined, here are five potential causes of sudden hearing loss.
What Is Sudden Deafness?
Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL) is commonly known as sudden hearing loss or sudden deafness. Sudden deafness typically affects one ear and is caused by an issue in the sensory organs of the inner ear. People who experience sudden deafness may experience hearing loss when they wake up. Others may experience a loud pop in their ears—potentially in addition to symptoms such as ringing in the ears, dizziness, or a feeling of congestion in the ears—before their hearing disappears.
Some people who experience sudden hearing loss will delay their doctor visit because they mistake it for a sinus infection or excess earwax. However, if you experience sudden hearing loss, you’ll need to see an ENT specialist immediately.
Potential Causes of Sudden Deafness
Roughly 10% of people with SSHL know the precise reason behind it; however, most causes are related to other medical conditions. Below are five potential causes of sudden hearing loss:
- Head trauma
- Autoimmune diseases
- Blood circulation issues
- Disorders in the inner ear
How Is Sudden Hearing Loss Treated?
The most common treatment for sudden hearing loss—especially if the cause is unknown—is corticosteroids. This medicine reduces inflammation and helps the body fight illnesses. High doses of corticosteroids should be administered as soon as you are diagnosed. Within two weeks, there may be an improvement in your hearing. However, if the cause of sudden hearing loss is due to a ruptured eardrum, you may need surgery.
If you think you’re experiencing sudden hearing loss, contact your local Houston ENT and Allergy clinic to make an appointment. For over 60 years, we’ve been the first choice for ENT and allergy treatments in Houston and surrounding areas. We take pride in treating our patients and ensuring they get the support they need.