In our modern society, putting off health care is a situation that happens more often than we’d like to admit.
Consider the parents who regularly put the needs of their children before of their own, making sure their sons and daughters obtain proactive and reactive care when required, but failing to do the same for themselves. You can say the same for the working professional who won’t cancel a meeting to fit in a doctor’s appointment. Then there are those who are afraid of what they could hear so they avoid the doctor’s office preferring to stay ignorant.
But what action would you take if you needed more than something to deal with a sinus infection or your yearly flu vaccine? If you woke up one morning and had total hearing loss in one or both ears what would you do then?
There’s a good chance your hearing will never come back if you just try to put it off. Hearing specialists warn that if you don’t get sudden temporary hearing loss treated immediately, particularly if it’s at the nerve level, it might become permanent.
Sudden Hearing Loss, What is it?
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), only about half the people 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 shocked to know how often sudden hearing loss happens. As a matter of fact, studies estimate that there are between one and six people for every 5,000 yearly who experience sudden hearing loss. Having said that, the NIDCD warns that the number of undiagnosed cases would cause that figure to go up if you were to include them. This means that this year about 400,000 Americans or more could develop sudden hearing loss.
Sudden hearing loss can actually happen over several 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 occur over hours or days, doctors are usually not able to learn what causes most cases. The unfortunate reality is that only about 10 percent of people diagnosed with sudden hearing loss have a cause that can be identified. Infections, head trauma, autoimmune diseases, exposure to certain drugs, blood circulation problems, neurological disorders and disorders of the inner ear 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 right away.
How do You Deal With Sudden Hearing Loss?
In many cases, particularly those where the cause is not known, the normal course of treatment involves corticosteroids. As with all steroid usage, the objective is to reduce inflammation and decrease swelling.
The preferred means of treatment has changed since researchers have carried out more studies on sudden hearing loss and medicine has advanced. Pill form is how these steroids were historically prescribed, but for individuals who were worried about the side effects of medication or were not able to take oral steroids, this presented a challenge.
A 2011 clinical trial supported by the NIDCD discovered that an injection of steroids into the eardrum was just as reliable as oral steroids, even allowing the medication to go directly into the inner ear, without the drawback of the oral alternatives. Ear, nose and throat specialist around the country regularly give these injections in the office.
Another reason why seeking immediate medical care is so important is that your doctor may order a panel of tests that could diagnose the fundamental issue behind your sudden hearing loss or another threatening condition. These tests can even determine your ability to keep your balance as well as performing blood-work and several imaging techniques.
New Treatments For Sudden Hearing Loss Could be on The Horizon
Given the lack of concrete information about the cause of sudden hearing loss, ongoing research goes deeper into what could be the culprit. A potentially safer way of administering steroids is the new advancement of infusing the drug into microspheres.
Researchers have proven that even though they might not have all the answers about sudden hearing loss, your chances of getting your hearing back is improved by seeking early treatment. If you’re experiencing hearing loss, either sudden or gradual, you should contact a hearing specialist immediately.