Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss, typically abbreviated SSHL, is a frightening problem that hits about 4,000 people each year in the United States. It is an affliction that doctors still do not quite understand, as there are over 100 things that can cause sudden hearing loss. Even then, some people who are stuck with SSHL never do find out what caused their problem.
SSHL is technically defined as a loss of hearing that reduces your hearing capabilities by more than 30 dB, spanning at least three contiguous frequencies. This loss can happen either suddenly or over a span of about 72 hours. While SSHL usually only strikes one ear, some people have reported the unexplainable deafness in both. With this type of hearing loss, a person may also experience tinnitus and / or dizziness.
Most people say that they wake up to discover that they are deaf in an ear. Others do not notice the change until they try to use one ear alone, like listening to the phone. Even more rarely, some people hear a "pop" noise before suddenly losing their hearing. People can recover from SSHL just as suddenly, with some undergoing a spontaneous recovery without medical intervention within three days after the strike. Others only have to wait a week or two before their hearing is restored, although 15% of sufferers of SSHL never recover and actually get worse.
In looking for the likely cause for the hearing loss, doctors may interview you about your past health issues or any injuries you might have sustained. Only about 10-15% of SSHL sufferers can determine what might have hurt their ears, which may include:
Infectious disease or virus
Loss of blood circulation
Toxins like chemicals or snake bites
Head or ear trauma
Birth defects or abnormal tissue growth
Immunological or neurological disorders
Because so little is known about the cause of SSHL, doctors do not have an exact method to fight the problem. They do, however, recommend to visit a physician immediately because research has shown that the quicker the treatment, the better. After asking you about medications or experiences that may have caused the deafness, a doctor may ask you to discontinue a potentially harmful medicine. Typically, a healthcare professional will prescribe stereoids, which help reduce inflammation and promote immunological strength. These can help with the SSHL if it is infection or virus-related.
Sadly, sometimes doctors can not help with the SSHL. Thus, to stay active and able to hear, many people turn to hearing aids. Studies have shown that bone anchored cochlear systems tend to have the most success with people with SSHL, although there are a number of other hearing aid devices that can help with the deafness.
For more information on hearing disorders and the hearing aids that help, check out Hearing Planet today.