In our modern society, putting off health care is a scenario that takes place more frequently than we’d like to acknowledge.
Think of the parents who regularly put the needs of their children in front of their own, making sure their sons and daughters receive proactive and reactive care when necessary, but neglecting to do the same for themselves. The same goes for the working professional who refuses to cancel a meeting to fit in a doctor’s appointment. Then there are those who live by an “ignorance is bliss” approach and stay away from the doctor’s office for fear of what they might hear.
But what would you do if you needed more than just your annual preventive flu shot or something to get rid of a sinus infection? 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 try to put it off. Hearing specialists warn that sudden, temporary loss of hearing could advance to permanent hearing loss without immediate treatment, specifically if the damage is at the nerve level.
Sudden Hearing Loss, What is it?
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), only about half the individuals who experience sudden hearing loss–the sudden 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 occurs. As a matter of fact for every 5,000 people, between one and six are estimated to experience sudden loss of hearing. But according to the NIDC, if undiagnosed claims were included, that number would be significantly higher. This means that this year around 400,000 Americans or more could develop sudden hearing loss.
Sudden hearing loss can actually take place over a few hours or days so the term is a bit of a misnomer.
What is The Cause of Sudden Hearing Loss?
Doctors are often not able to figure out the cause because it happens over hours or even days. The unfortunate truth is that only around 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.
Your best possibility of getting back at least some of your regular hearing function, as mentioned, is to get treatment as soon as possible.
Sudden Hearing Loss; How do You Treat it?
In situations when the cause is unknown and in many other cases, the usual course of treatment involves corticosteroids. As with all steroid usage, the objective is to minimize inflammation and decrease swelling.
As medicine has become more modern and more researchers have conducted additional studies on sudden loss of hearing, the preferred method of treatment has evolved. Historically, doctors prescribed these steroids in pill form, but this was a challenge for those who were unable to take oral steroids and those who were worried about the side effects connected with the medication.
A 2011 clinical trial established by the NIDCD discovered that an injection of steroids into the eardrum proved to be just as reliable as oral steroids, even allowing the medication to go straight into the inner ear, without the drawback of the oral alternatives. Ear, nose and throat specialist around the country routinely give these injections in the office.
Another reason why getting prompt medical care is so crucial is that your doctor might order a group of tests that could diagnose the underlying problem behind your sudden loss of hearing or another dangerous condition. These tests can even test your ability to keep your balance as well as doing blood-work and several imaging techniques.
New Treatments For Sudden Hearing Loss Could be on The Horizon
Given the lack of concrete information around the cause of sudden hearing loss, continuing research digs deeper into what could be the cause. New developments with infusing drugs into small microspheres would provide a new technique of administering the steroids in what might be a safer way.
Researchers have proven that even though they might not have all the answers about sudden loss of hearing, your chances of getting your hearing back is increased by seeking early treatment. Contact a hearing expert if you have hearing loss of any kind.