In April 2009 [Wayne Curtis] woke up and suddenly realized he couldn’t hear anything out of his left ear… “[T]here was no pain so I didn’t worry about it.” He knew he hadn’t injured his ear or done anything unusual, so he figured it would clear up on its own. — The Washington Post
This scenario is all too real for those who endure a phenomenon known as sudden sensorineural hearing loss. According to The Washington Post, this form of deafness affects “between five and 20 people per 100,000 annually.” There is no known cause for sudden hearing loss, which is sometimes accompanied by a loud bang or pop in the ear. It could occur during the day or in the middle of the night, but it always catches people by surprise.
Importance of Treating Sudden Deafness
Regardless of how or why it happens, sudden deafness is a medical emergency that results in severe hearing and speech-understanding deficiencies. Hearing tests conducted after sudden deafness show permanent hearing loss of the inner ear. Though it can’t “clear up on its own,” evidence suggests that a high dosage of steroids within 72 hours following the event dramatically increases the likelihood of a return to normal functionality.
Delayed intervention may or may not result in a change, especially if it occurs later than one week from the time of deafness. After the brief window of opportunity, standard hearing aids, special cross aids, and various therapeutic services can improve speech understanding and help with communication. No matter the outcome, Dr. Jessica Woods, AuD, CCC-A emphasizes that hope isn’t lost for those who lose their hearing suddenly.
Did you or someone you know just encounter sudden deafness that fits the description above? Please don’t wait — contact us for assistance in receiving prompt treatment for sensorineural hearing loss.