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For the most part, hearing loss is a condition that occurs gradually. In the case of presbycusis (age-related hearing loss), hearing loss occurs due to the natural process of aging. With noise-induced hearing loss, it happens over time when a person is exposed to dangerously loud noises. In both cases, hearing loss occurs due to long-term damage or deterioration of the inner ear hair cells – the cells responsible for translating sound wave vibrations into neural signals that are registered by your brain as sound.
Like presbycusis and noise-induced hearing loss, sudden hearing loss is also a form of sensorineural hearing loss, but it occurs less frequently. Today, we explore the condition of sudden hearing loss and how it may be treated.
What is Sudden Hearing Loss?
According to the American Hearing Research Foundation, Sudden hearing loss is defined as “greater than 30 decibels hearing deduction, over at least three contiguous frequencies, occurring over a period of 72 hours or less.”
To put this into context, 30 decibels is quite a leap for sound. Consider that a regular conversation registers at 60 decibels and the sound of a motorcycle’s engine 25 feet away registers at 90 decibels. These two sounds are markedly different in volume. Therefore, a loss of 30 decibels in the hearing range is quite extreme within a short period. We also hear sounds at different frequencies – low to high – and a significant change in our ability to hear different frequencies also signifies sudden hearing loss.
Some people say they identified their hearing loss right away in the morning, while others say it took hours or days to develop. The degree of hearing loss, on the other hand, differs from patient to patient.
Other symptoms are reported with sudden hearing loss, such as tinnitus (an ear ringing without an external stimulus). Sudden hearing loss appears among five to 30 people out of 100,000 a year in the US, making up less than 1% of all sensorineural hearing loss cases.
Sudden hearing loss may occur due to any damage to inner ear hair cells; sharing causes with sensorineural hearing loss: Meniere’s disease, ototoxic medication (medication that harms your inner ear cells), or one-time exposure to loud noise (an explosion, for example).
Treating Sudden Hearing Loss
If you’ve suddenly lost your hearing, you should seek medical help straight soon. Do not wait a few days to find out if your hearing has returned. During this time, the condition may worsen, increasing your chances of irreversible hearing loss.
The best treatment relies on what caused the sudden hearing loss in the first place. In some circumstances, acute hearing loss can be treated by treating the infection, removing a tumor, or switching drugs. Within the first week or two, your hearing loss may restore to normal.
Getting a hearing test
Suppose your hearing loss persists after immediate medical attention. In that case, thoughts must be turned toward longer-term care, and that’s where we come in.
It’s time to have a hearing test after consulting with your doctor. Your new hearing range will be revealed through a hearing test. We’ll ask questions about your lifestyle and hearing needs as part of the hearing test so we can make sure you get the hearing aids that are perfect for you.
Sudden hearing loss frequently affects only one ear. For single-sided hearing loss, we offer a variety of hearing aids. These hearing aids transmit all noises from your “poor” ear to your “good” ear wirelessly, allowing you to hear clearly. You won’t have to swivel your head to hear the person next to you since your hearing aids will take care of everything. These devices can also assist you in locating noises or determining their source.
We have a variety of hearing aids to fit your needs. We have hearing aids for everyone, whether you’re busy, spend a lot of time in noisy environments, want to mingle, or can’t wait to listen to music again. Advanced programs, features, and settings will enable you to hear all you’ve been missing. Contact us to set up an appointment!