Hearing loss usually occurs over a period of months to years. However, a very small percentage of people develop sudden onset of hearing loss, usually in one ear, in a matter of seconds to hours. This may involve a feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear, tinnitus (ringing), speech and sound distortion, and dizziness and/or vertigo. An upper respiratory infection or other illness may precede sudden hearing loss but is often not the case. Most cases have no identifiable cause, but in approximately 1% of patients with sudden hearing loss, there may be a benign tumor on the balance nerve, which can only be identified on an MRI.
Sudden hearing loss is complicated and diagnoses by a primary physician or urgent care are often incorrect. If you experience sudden hearing loss, you should call us immediately, 303.788.7880. Delaying proper diagnosis and treatment can exacerbate the degree and duration of loss.
Sudden Hearing Loss is a medical EMERGENCY. Immediate diagnosis and treatment by an ear specialist determines the prognosis for hearing recovery.
The diagnosis of sudden loss can only be confirmed by specialized hearing testing equipment in a sound-proof booth by a trained audiologist. Treatment must be initiated early and correctly for the best chance of hearing recovery. Treatment involves high doses of steroids either orally or injected through the eardrum (transtympanic therapy) to maximize the steroids delivered to the inner ear.
If you or a family member experience a sudden hearing loss, contact the specialists at Denver Ear Associates immediately. Time lost can mean permanent hearing loss.