In our modern society, putting off health care is a scenario that occurs more frequently than we’d like to admit.
Consider people who disregard their own health care so they can obtain protection for their children. You can say the same for the working professional who refuses to cancel a meeting to fit in a doctor’s appointment. Then there are those who abide by an “ignorance is bliss” approach and avoid the doctor’s office for fear of what they might hear.
But what would you do if you required more than something to fight off a sinus infection or your yearly flu vaccine? If you woke up one morning and had total hearing loss in one if not both ears what would you do then?
There’s a good possibility your hearing will not ever return if you simply attempt to put it off. Hearing specialists warn that if you don’t get sudden temporary hearing loss treated immediately, especially if it’s at the nerve level, it might become permanent.
What is Sudden Hearing Loss?
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), only about half the individuals who experience sudden hearing loss–the rapid loss of 30 decibels or more of hearing ability–will regain some or all of their hearing naturally.
Many people would be surprised to find out how often sudden hearing loss happens. 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. That means that around 400,000 (or more) Americans may develop sudden loss of hearing every year.
Sudden hearing loss can actually occur over a few hours or days so the term is a bit of a misnomer.
What is The Cause of Sudden Hearing Loss?
Due to the fact that the onset can take place over hours or days, doctors are usually not able to learn what’s behind the cause for most cases. The sad 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, getting treatment as soon as possible after the onset of sudden hearing loss gives you the best chance to recover at least some of your normal hearing.
Sudden Hearing Loss; How do You Treat it?
In most cases, specifically those where the cause is unknown, the normal course of treatment involves corticosteroids. As with all steroid use, the objective is to reduce inflammation and decrease swelling.
As medicine has advanced and more researchers have conducted additional studies on sudden hearing loss, the preferred method of treatment has changed. Pill form is how these steroids were classically prescribed, but this presented a challenge for individuals who were unable to take oral steroids and those who were leery of the side effects connected with the medication.
A 2011 clinical trial backed by the NIDCD revealed that an injection of steroids through the eardrum was just as reliable as oral steroids, even making it possible for the medication to flow right into the inner ear, without the disadvantage of the oral alternatives. These injections are now a common method of treatment in the offices of ear, nose and throat specialists around the country.
A panel of tests that could diagnose the inherent issue causing your sudden hearing loss can be arranged by your doctor and that’s another reason why seeking immediate medical attention is crucial. These tests could include blood-work, an MRI or other methods of imaging and even an examination of your balance.
New Treatments For Sudden Hearing Loss May be on The Horizon
Researchers continue to work on the issue but honestly, there’s a lack of concrete facts about the cause of sudden loss of hearing. A potentially safer way of administering steroids is the new development of infusing the drug into microspheres.
Researchers have shown that even though they may not have all the answers about sudden hearing loss, your chances of getting your hearing back is increased by seeking early treatment. Contact a hearing expert if you have hearing loss of any type.