Sudden Onset (Sensorineural) Hearing Loss
As the name suggests, it’s a sudden rapid and unexplained loss of hearing ability either in one or both ears more commonly affects 1 ear at once
It should be considered a medical emergency
The most commonly affected age group is right from young patients to the geriatric age group, typically seen in adults in their 40s and 50s
Recently, the actual number of new cases have been seen in younger age groups say early 20s dues to exposure to loud volumes or loud music
What are the Symptoms?
Patients usually experience
- A) sudden block in the ear
- B) abrupt loss of hearing ability which is normal till the previous day
- C) whistling/ ringing sound (tinnitus) in either of the ear
- D) vertigo
Why is this a concern?
The above symptoms can be misunderstood as to be due to cold or clod sequelae or wax in the ear and if not diagnosed and treated at the right time within the right span can lead to permanent hearing loss( which should be diagnosed and started on treatment within 72 Hours of symptoms )
When does hearing loss need attention?
Presenting with a complaint of sudden block in the ear, dizziness or ringing sound which was normal till the day before should be considered a medical emergency
How to prevent it?
10% to 15% of the cases of sudden sensorineural hearing loss have an identifiable cause
However, listening to high-volume music on earphones or chronic exposure to loud music should be avoided
What are the Treatment modalities?
An ENT doctor should be consulted for immediate medical intervention, ideally within 72 Hours of hearing losses.
A pure tone audiometry test is conducted to determine the type of hearing loss and the range of hearing loss
The best modality treatment is available that is intratympanic steroid injection not accompanied with any side effects since it is injected locally at the preferred site of damage and not given orally or intravenously
Block in the ear or sudden loss of hearing shouldn’t be misdiagnosed and should be reported to an ent doctor
Ear Nose Throat (Ent)
Dr. Monika Bhagat
MBBS, MBBS MS
Consultant – Ear Nose Throat (Ent)