According to experts, it is estimated that sudden deafness affects one to six people in 5,000. Although the proportion could be much higher since, in reality, this disorder is often not diagnosed. Although it can occur at any age, sudden deafness occurs most often in adults between the ages of 45 and 55.
What is sudden deafness
Sudden sensorineural deafness or sudden hearing loss presents as a sudden and unexplained loss of hearing. Affected people often discover that they have lost their hearing upon waking up. Other people, just before losing their hearing, feel a loud explosive sound.
People affected by this disorder also usually notice other symptoms such as a feeling of fullness in the ear, dizziness or tinnitus.
Sudden deafness causes and consequences
Although only 10% of people diagnosed with sudden deafness have an identifiable cause, there are several disorders that affect the ear and can cause it:
- head trauma
- autoimmune diseases,
- exposure to certain medications to treat cancer or serious infections,
- blood circulation problems,
- neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis and
- disorders of the inner ear, such as Ménière’s disease.
It is also important to keep in mind if sudden hearing loss occurs in one or both ears. For example, if only one ear is affected, tumors in the auditory nerve can be ruled out. In the same way, an autoimmune disease can affect one or both ears.
Sudden deafness causes and treatment
Depending on the cause of sudden sensorineural deafness, one or another treatment can be established. In general, when the causes are unknown, corticosteroids are usually used. Its function is to reduce inflammation and swelling.
If the underlying cause is discovered, additional treatment can be determined. For example, if the cause is an infection, antibiotics will be necessary. If the toxicity of any previous medication is determined, your doctor will recommend another medication. If the patient has an autoimmune disease, it is very possible that he will prescribe medication to suppress his immune system.
If the hearing loss is severe, does not respond to treatment and affects both ears, it is very possible that they recommend the use of hearing aids or the implantation of cochlear implants. In this section a hearing center like Audiotek will be very helpful .
Diagnosis of sudden hearing loss
Given the possibility of sudden deafness, the first step is to rule out a conductive hearing loss. That is, hearing loss caused by an obstruction in the ear.
A pure tone audiometry is then performed that will determine any sensorineural hearing loss.
If sudden sensorineural deafness is diagnosed, then other tests are performed to determine the underlying cause. These tests may include blood tests, imaging tests and balance tests.