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Sudden Hearing Loss Is An Often Overlooked Medical Crisis

by April Maguire

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hearing loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!

If you're suddenly struck with severe chest pain or one of your limbs spontaneously goes numb, odds are you would pay a visit to a doctor sooner rather than later. Strangely, however, people don't feel the same way about sudden hearing loss. Often, when people lose the ability to hear out of one of their ears, they attribute it to a buildup of wax or some other benign cause, but permanent hearing loss can happen suddenly and without warning, and it's a serious problem that, according to doctors, doesn't get the attention it deserves.

Sudden Deafness

We often think of hearing loss as a condition that manifests gradually, getting worse as we get older, and typically that's exactly how it occurs. Unfortunately though, for more than 60,000 Americans a year, hearing loss can occur almost instantly, seemingly without any underlying cause. This problem is known as sudden sensorineural hearing loss and it can happen to people of any age at virtually at any time. Sounds scary, right? Well, it certainly is, and the one bit of good news is that, if it's caught early enough, doctor can often intervene and hopefully preserve some degree of hearing.

Despite their ability to treat the problem, doctors are still at a loss as to why sudden sensorineural hearing loss occurs. In a small percentage of cases, the hearing loss is the result of either a viral infection, an autoimmune disorder or circulation issues. Overwhelmingly, however, there is no noticeable cause. Patients often report a popping or crackling sound in their ears, then their hearing ability quickly deteriorates as the nerves within the ear die off.

So if you suddenly find that your hearing is impaired, how do you know if you're in the midst of a medical emergency? There's actually an easy way to tell. All you have to do is hum. If the sound of your humming is louder in the affected ear, then that means you simply have a clog, most likely from earwax. On the other hand, if your voice sounds louder in your unaffected ear, then you might be in the midst of sudden sensorineural hearing loss and you should see a doctor immediately.

A simple hearing test is all that's needed for a diagnosis. If the doctor determines that you're suffering from sudden sensorineural hearing loss, he or she will administer injectable or oral steroids to decrease the inflammation in the ear, increase the blood flow, and preserve the affected nerves. Sadly though, this intervention can only be done in the early stages. If the hearing loss is allowed to persist, it will become permanent.

Given this risk, it's important not to ignore sudden hearing loss. If you have any doubt about the cause of the problem, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hearing loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!

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