You find yourself struggling to hear the television, so you turn up the volume. Then, suddenly, you can’t hear it at all.
Events like this are typical for people who experience sudden hearing loss. But why does this happen? What causes sudden hearing loss? Is it treatable?
Sudden hearing loss is usually the result of a single event that causes trauma to one or both of your ears. Hearing loss can occur within one to three days after the initial trauma.
The hair cells in the ear suffer damage that cannot be repaired, so the inner ear swells as an immune response to protect itself. The swelling then worsens the damage to nerve synapses that send sound messages to your brain causing your hearing to suddenly “disappear.”
What Causes It?
There are several things that can cause sudden hearing loss including:
- Head trauma or damage to the ear drum
- Exposure to sudden, loud noises like fireworks
- Ear infections
- Reduced blood flow to the inner ear
- Neurologic disorders
Symptoms that accompany sudden hearing loss are ear pressure, dizziness, tinnitus – buzzing or ringing in the ears – and earache.
How Is It Treated?
The most important thing is to seek medical assistance as quickly as you can to curb any further damage to your ears. You can receive different treatments for sudden hearing loss depending on the cause. Some auditory injuries can heal on their own and infections can be treated or left to run their course.
Other methods to reduce damage include:
- Steroids: These can be taken orally or injected to stop inflammation from further damaging your ears after trauma.
- Hyperbaric oxygen: A breathing treatment that increases your blood oxygen level and helps your ears recover faster.
Whatever the cause, don’t ignore the symptoms. If your general physician is not available, visit the emergency room or an urgent care.
For information on how Manatee Ear Center can assist you with your hearing health, call us at 941-745-1518 or schedule an appointment online.