Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSHL) can be defined as a loss of hearing that occurs immediately or in less than three days, if it occurs to you it is a medical emergency and must be considered as such; if you can not visit your own doctor it is imperative that you go to a local hospital as an emergency patient. Sensorineural hearing loss may be either sensory, which means it directly affect the cochlea or it may be neural in which case it connects the nerves between the cochlea and the brain.
A decibel (dB) is the unit used to measure sound, and a frequency is the word that is used for measuring sound waves. Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss will be diagnosed if you have lost at least 30 dB's over three connected frequencies. In real terms the decibel level of 30 is about half as loud as the sound of normal conversation. In 90% of cases SSHL only occurs in one ear and the most common time that it is noticed, is first thing in the morning when you wake up. Other people notice it when they tried to make a phone call in their deaf ear stop. In some cases just before Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss occurs there can be a loud "pop" immediately before the hearing loss. Many sufferers of SSHL also experience tinnitus which is a loud ringing in their ear, others experience dizziness and nausea; the really unfortunate get both symptoms.
As debilitating as these symptoms are, they are rarely permanent; only about 15% of sufferers find that they hearing loss gets worse. Some people slowly improve over a fortnight or so that a spontaneous recovery without medical intervention usually within the first few days. Although it can affect anyone at any time most sufferers forward in the age range of between 30 and 60. Over 4,000 new cases of Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss are diagnosed annually within the United States alone.
Over A 100 possible causes of sudden deafness have been identified yet anyway this few patients ever get to the bottom of the cause of their hearing loss. In general a doctor will go specifically on your medical history and if you have had a major head trauma just before suffering from Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss it will probably be put down to that. Unfortunately many people can not define a clear cause for their sudden loss of hearing. For optimal hearing it is necessary to have a good blood and airflow within the ear some medical researchers findings indicate that in certain cases it is caused by insufficient oxygen to the inner ear.
Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss may be a byproduct of certain events, certain toxins such as those as found in snake bites can cause it as can immunological diseases such as Cogan's syndrome which is unfortunately rare disease causing inflammation of the eye if left untreated it can cause both blindness and deafness. Ototoxic drugs are drugs that can harm the inner ear and these may cause in hearing loss. Multiple sclerosis patients may also suffer sudden hearing loss, as do suffer of Ménière's disease.
Usually SSHL, is treated with steroids especially in cases where there is no known cause. Steroids allow the body to fight illnesses and it reduces inflammation. In cases where ototoxic drugs that have caused the problem a doctor will probably recommend antibiotics as well as stop taking the original drugs. Some patients improve after they have reduced their salt intake.