Sudden hearing loss - or sudden sensorineural hearing loss - is defined as a loss greater than 30dB in three contiguous frequencies, occurring over a period of less than three days.
Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) may be noticed upon awakening in the morning or develop rapidly over hours or days. You may hear a ”?pop' in the ear prior to the hearing loss.
70% of Sudden sensorineural hearing loss patients also suffer from tinnitus. Vertigo is present in 50% of the Sudden sensorineural hearing loss cases.
Everybody loses these tiny hair cells in the cochlea throughout life, while the hearing gradually becomes less acute.
However, the hair cells can also be damaged by excessive noise. As a result of prolonged exposure to high intensity noise either from the work environment or from listening to loud music, sensorineural hearing impairment is becoming more common.
You can also suffer from sensorineural hearing loss having been exposed to diseases such as mumps, meningitis, multiple sclerosis, ménières disease or if you have used certain drugs, in particular aspirin, cisplatin, quinine or the antibiotics streptomycin and gentamicin.
Sensorineural hearing impairment may also occur if your mother has had rubella (German measles) during pregnancy, or if your birth weight was low.
Sensorineural hearing loss can be inherited and finally you may lose your hearing ability due to head/ear injuries.
Depending on timing, intra-tympanic steroid injection is also offered (dexamethasone 10-24mg/cc). Intra-typmpanic steroid injection is performed by inserting a needle through the eardrum and injecting about of highly concentrated steroids directly into the middle ear space. The patient is than instructed to keep the affected ear up for 30 minutes without swallowing, yawning, or popping the ear. After injection, the patient is allowed to immediately resume normal activities. This steroid injection has also been used to treat Meniere's Disease flare-ups.