Sudden Sensory Hearing Loss: Be Aware and act quickly

Sudden Sensory Hearing Loss: Be Aware and act quickly

At the first signs of hearing loss it is important to see an audiologist or hearing care professional for diagnosis and treatment to avoid further hearing loss.

Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL) or sudden deafness is a rapid, usually unexplained loss of hearing in one ear. Even though most patients put off seeing a doctor in the wake of losing hearing in the ear, this is considered an ear or hearing related emergency that requires immediate attention. Delaying SHHL diagnosis and treatment ca significantly decrease the effectiveness of treatment.

What Are the Signs of SSHL?

Usually, people with SSHL will notice the symptoms as:

* Sudden Deafness or hearing loss

* Possible dizziness

* Tinnitus in the impacted ear (ringing in the ears)

* Inability to properly use the deafened ear, such as when they use a phone

* An alarming "pop" just before their hearing disappears

* Loss of hearing in the morning when they wake up

Treatment success; meaning a return to normal function is best when treated within 72 hrs of onset. SSHL appears to attack the auditory nerve disrupting sound and is disconcerting for the sufferer. Undergoing any intervention and seeing a hearing healthcare professional is essential.

Grand River Hearing & Tinnitus Centre

Sudden SensoryHearing Loss

What Causes Sudden Deafness?

Not all SSHL can be the cause of sudden deafness; however, the most common reasons are:

• Trauma, such as a head injury

• Infectious diseases

• Blood circulation problems

• Autoimmune diseases such as Cogan’s syndrome

Ototoxic drugs (drugs that harm the sensory cells in the inner ear)

• Neurologic diseases and disorders, e.g., multiple sclerosis

• A tumor on the nerve that connects the ear to the brain

• Disorders of the inner ear, e.g., Ménière’s disease

In diagnosing SSHL, a healthcare professional will use a hearing test called pure tone audiometry that will help them determine whether your condition was caused by a sensorineural deficit or by sound not reaching the inner ear.

How Is Sudden Deafness Treated?

Corticosteroids are the usually prescribed treatment, especially in cases where the cause is unknown. Steroids are typically prescribed in pill form, but they’re also used in the way of a direct injection behind the eardrum into the middle ear - the physician will determine the best course of action.

If you experience sudden sensorineural hearing loss or long-term hearing problems, Grand River Hearing and Tinnitus Centre is capable of providing a patient-centered approach to hearing healthcare. We’ll help you become part of the dialogue, again.


Conrad Medical Centre, 16 Andrew St., Kitchener, ON, N2H 5R2 519.804.2596

Medical Centre at The Boardwalk, 430 The Boardwalk Suite 403, Waterloo, ON, N2T 0C1 519.208.0233

Grand River Hearing and Tinnitus Centre

Grand River Hearing and Tinnitus Centre