More frequently than we would like to admit, in our modern day society, we neglect health care.
Think of the parents who regularly put the needs of their children ahead of their own, ensuring their sons and daughters receive proactive and reactive care when necessary, but neglecting to do the same for themselves. The same goes for the working professional who refuses to cancel a meeting to fit in a doctor’s appointment. Then there are people who live by an “ignorance is bliss” attitude and avoid the doctor’s office for fear of what they could hear.
But what would you do if you needed more than just this year’s preventive flu shot or something to get rid of a sinus infection? What would you do if you woke up one morning with unexpected and total loss of hearing in one if not both ears?
There’s a good chance your hearing will never come back if you simply try to put it off. Hearing specialists caution that if you don’t have sudden temporary hearing loss taken care of right away, especially 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 often 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 about 400,000 Americans or more could develop sudden hearing loss.
Sudden hearing loss can actually take place over a few hours or days so the term is somewhat of a misconception.
Sudden Hearing Loss; What is The Cause?
Doctors are often unable to find the cause because it happens over hours or even days. The unfortunate reality is that only about 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.
As stated, receiving treatment as soon as possible after the start of sudden hearing loss gives you the best possibility of recovering at least some of your normal function.
How do You Deal With Sudden Hearing Loss?
In many cases, particularly those where the cause is unknown, the usual course of treatment involves corticosteroids. As with all steroid use, the purpose is to reduce inflammation and decrease swelling.
The preferred means of treatment has changed since researchers have conducted more studies on sudden loss of hearing and medicine has modernized. Historically, doctors prescribed these steroids in pill form, but this was a challenge for individuals who were unable to take oral steroids and those who were worried about the side effects associated with the medication.
A 2011 clinical trial supported by the NIDCD discovered that an injection of steroids into the eardrum was just as effective as oral steroids, even making it possible for the medication to flow straight into the inner ear, without the drawback of the oral alternatives. Ear, nose and throat specialist around the country regularly give these injections in the office.
A panel of tests that might diagnose the underlying problem causing your sudden loss of hearing can be ordered by your doctor and that’s another reason why seeking prompt medical attention is essential. These tests may include blood-work, an MRI or other techniques for imaging and even a test of your ability to balance.
We Could be Getting Close to New Treatment For Sudden Hearing Loss
Researchers continue to work on the problem but honestly, there is a lack of concrete information around the cause of sudden loss of hearing. New advancements with infusing drugs into small microspheres would offer a new technique of administering the steroids in what might be a safer way.
Researchers have shown that even though they may not have all the answers regarding sudden loss of hearing, your chances of restoring your hearing is improved by getting early treatment. Contact a hearing professional if you are experiencing hearing loss of any kind.