Sudden hearing loss. When should I start worrying?

hearing loss

Today, hearing problems are not uncommon. It is necessary to inform the population about possible problems and difficulties that arise if hearing health is not monitored. Hearing problems are among the top 10 most common health problems worldwide. Millions of people live with the inability to hear the world around them to the fullest.

Hearing loss is often associated with age-related changes. Everyone risks facing a gradual decrease in hearing acuity sooner or later. The key word here is gradual. What if you heard well yesterday, but woke up in the morning and found hearing loss in one or both ears? Such a situation does not occur as rarely as you think and poses a serious threat to your hearing health. We are talking about sudden hearing loss, which is strikingly different from other hearing problems!

What is sudden hearing loss?

The term sudden hearing loss speaks for itself. A person abruptly, within a few hours, loses his hearing in this situation. Hearing can disappear within a few hours. A scenario is also possible when a person wakes up and finds himself in a new state. Doctors diagnose the problem in about 1 in 5,000 people every year. However, audiologists emphasize that this indicator is underestimated, since not every case falls into their field of view. Indeed, many people attribute such hearing impairment to earwax, sinusitis, or seasonal allergies and do not turn to an audiologist, believing that everything will pass by itself. Such a delay plays a cruel joke.

In case of sudden hearing loss, timely seeking help plays an important role in preserving hearing. Specialists regard this condition as urgent, requiring urgent medical care. The only correct solution in case of such a situation is a consultation with an ear doctor Staten Island.

What are the symptoms and causes of the problem?

Sudden hearing loss is much less common than a gradual decrease in hearing acuity. Don’t be fooled by the statistics. Perhaps this is a small percentage of the total number of patients with hearing loss, nevertheless, it is hundreds of thousands of people. As in the case of hearing impairment, this indicator is gradually increasing every year.

The problem is aggravated by various factors. Most citizens simply do not know what to do in such a situation. As a result, they waste precious time and turn to the doctor with serious complications. Detecting sudden hearing loss in time is an important issue on which the health of your hearing depends. It is necessary to understand the causes of the problem and its symptoms, which indicate impending danger. Let’s take everything in order.

Signs of sudden hearing loss

Sudden hearing loss is a serious problem, but its symptoms allow you to quickly identify it for timely treatment. When should I worry and make an appointment with a doctor?

  • A sharp decrease in the perception of speech and sounds
  • Ear pain
  • Noise, squeaking, buzzing
  • Dizziness, nausea
  • Spatial disorientation
  • Ear discharge
  • Malaise, fever (typical in the presence of infectious diseases)
  • Weakness and fatigue or numbness

A decrease in hearing acuity can occur in one or both ears and with different intensities. What happens after such symptoms? In some patients, hearing returns to normal within a few days or weeks. But in a significant part of patients without the necessary treatment, irreversible hearing loss occurs. Therefore, if you or your loved ones have similar symptoms, do not waste time and hope that your hearing will recover on its own. Be sure to seek medical help.

What are the causes of the problem?

Depending on the cause of sudden hearing loss, patients may have various symptoms. People with different causes have different sets of symptoms. Let’s look at the causes of this serious problem.

  • Acute infection. Lyme disease or mumps virus can give a complication in the form of sudden hearing loss. If the problem is not stopped, the patient risks losing hearing in the affected ear (in rare cases in both) forever
  • Pressure changes. Sudden onset of the activity process (scuba diving, rapid descent of the aircraft) or after an ear injury
  • Meniere’s disease. This is the accumulation of fluid in the cavities of the inner ear, which affects its functioning
  • Head injury. Such an injury causes sudden hearing loss in only one ear
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Drug side effects. Patients who have recently started taking ototoxic drugs may experience dizziness or spatial disorientation. There is a risk of sudden hearing loss in one or both ears
  • Stroke. A striking sign of a stroke is hearing loss in only one ear. In some cases, there are difficulties with maintaining balance and impaired coordination

Most of the causes of sudden hearing loss differ from the causes of gradual hearing loss (age-related changes, prolonged noise exposure, etc.). However, it is worth noting another important fact. In 90% of cases of sudden hearing loss, its cause remains unclear. Even medical examinations cannot always determine what caused the problem. Therefore, scientific research in this area continues!

What to do?

Did you wake up in the morning and feel hearing loss, although everything was fine in the evening? To begin with, do not panic, because panic will only worsen the condition and lead to wrong actions. You should not self-medicate or postpone solving the problem. Remember, sudden hearing loss is a dangerous problem. It requires the right approach and treatment. Of course, in some patients, hearing gradually recovers after a sharp decline. But most people experience irreversible changes. The only correct solution when the first symptoms of sudden hearing loss appear is to seek medical help! And the sooner you get to the doctor’s office, the higher the chances of preserving your hearing!

As was written above, there are different reasons for sudden hearing loss. Only doctors can make the correct diagnosis after certain medical examinations.

The treatment of hearing loss varies depending on the cause. The course of treatment may take a long time. It is important to follow the recommendations of a specialist and be under supervision. In 80% of cases, proper treatment allows you to fully or partially restore lost hearing.

There is also a possibility that the hearing may not return in full. The patient will most likely be recommended hearing aids. They align the sound picture and remove the feeling of discomfort when communicating.


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