Sudden hearing loss is a hearing loss that occurs in less than 3 days. In its most general definition, it can be called as sudden loss of hearing ability despite having normal hearing function. Patients often complain of feeling intense tinnitus or ear congestion when they wake up in the morning. Soon after, hearing loss occurs. However, we can state that hearing loss may occur simultaneously with tinnitus or ear congestion in some patients.

Studies show that the incidence of sudden hearing loss is five per one hundred thousand. Therefore, we can say that it is not one of the most common problems in society. One of the most frequently asked questions is whether hearing loss is more common in men or women. However, sudden hearing loss is generally seen equally in men and women. Although it is a problem mostly experienced between the ages of 50 and 60, we should note that it can be seen at any age. Although it is seen more intensely in very young individuals, it can occur less frequently in the middle age group.

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The Symptoms of Sudden Hearing Loss

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It is possible to list the symptoms of sudden hearing loss that are frequently experienced as follows:

  • Ear Ringing
  • A feeling of fullness in the ear
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of balance

When these symptoms occur, a very high rate of hearing loss, such as in 70% of patients, also occurs. In the remaining 30%, hearing loss occurs later. However, we can also mention that the hearing ability is completely lost within a maximum of 3 days after the onset of hearing loss. For this reason, we should underline that it is necessary to consult an otolaryngologist without wasting time when symptoms occur.

The Reasons of Sudden Hearing Loss

Of course, patients are curious about the factors that cause sudden hearing loss. However, the number of factors that can cause hearing loss to occur suddenly is extremely high. At the same time, a factor that causes hearing loss cannot be detected in the vast majority of people who have this problem. If a factor that causes hearing loss cannot be detected, then the diagnosis of “Idiopathic sudden hearing loss”(ISHL), can be made. Idiopathic sudden hearing loss is mentioned in 90% of patients with sudden hearing loss.

We can say that viral infection is frequently encountered in the examinations. Measles, mumps, epstein-barr virus, herpes virus, parainfluenza virus, varicella zoster virus, cytomegalovirus can cause this problem. However, we can say that hearing loss is seen after problems such as factors causing vascular occlusion, some neurological problems, autoimmune problems, head trauma. However, some toxic causes, metabolic causes or neoplastic causes may also result in hearing loss. In addition to all these, we can mention that this problem may be experienced for some specific reasons.

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The Treatment of Sudden Hearing Loss

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If the patient has sudden hearing loss, first of all, we should state that it should be determined whether or not he has had an upper respiratory tract infection in the last 2 weeks. At the same time, it is determined whether there are some problems such as hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol, head trauma. The patient’s complaints are also listened to and various tests are requested. Although the cause cannot be determined, treatment should be started as soon as possible.

We can say that there are many treatment options. Commonly preferred treatment methods are as follows:

  • Corticosteroids
  • Vasodilators
  • Antivirals
  • Hemodilution drugs
  • Hyperbaric oxygen

Sometimes, these treatments may need to be applied in combination. The main goal of treatment is to regulate the blood flow in the inner ear. At the same time, treatments to suppress inflammation and existing damage can also be applied. If there is edema, we can state that treatment options to eliminate the existing edema can also be evaluated. In order for the treatment to be successful, it is also ultimately important that the patient changes some life habits such as alcohol or smoking.

Does It Progress?

If the treatment is started early, 85% of results comes back positive from the sudden hearing loss treatment and no progress is seen. However, we can say that the it is not very good when no success has been achieved despite the treatment for two weeks. Late initiation of treatment is an extremely important factor that reduces the chance of success.