Sudden loss of hearing, as its name would suggest, occur at once or within a few hours and affects the inner ear. The level of sudden hearing loss depends on health special factors. It is unclear what factors causes sudden hearing loss and medical world would like to understand this issue.

Sudden hearing loss spectra is a potential condition that varies from slight to sever range. This condition accompanies with tinnitus. We recommend you to consult with your doctor, if this condition is occurred for you. If it takes for a long time or leads to hearing loss, just hearing aids can be effective.

What causes sudden hearing loss?

Many factors are implicated in this disorder such as infectious, circulatory and inner ear problems. The following items cusses some inner ear problems:

  • Meniere’s diseases (it is an ear disorder with symptoms that include vertigo, tinnitus symptom)
  • Neoplastic
  • Traumatic
  • Metabolic
  • Neurologic
  • Immunologic
  • Toxic
  • Cochlear
  • Idiopathic
  • And other factors


Unfortunately, even pathobiology researches couldn’t find the main reason of sudden hearing loss for most patients (Hughes et al., 1996)

How sudden hearing loss is diagnosed?

This disorder mostly figures out by considering the history and physical examination in order to find the potential infectious reasons such as otitis media, systematic disease (those illnesses which target coincidently different body parts and organ) and autotoxin medicine. In fact, sudden hearing loss (SHL) is diagnosable base on the recent reduction in hearing. Generally, it needs an audiogram. On the other hands, blood related studies try to remove sudden hearing loss causes such as syphilis, Lyme disease, metabolic, autoimmune and circulatory disorders.  Brain magnetic resonance imaging is useable for acoustic neuroma improvement. This disorder is an uncommon cancer tumor that grow slowly and affect the nerves between the inner ear and the brain. Up to 15 percent of those patients who suffer of sudden hearing loss, are afflicted with this tumor. Your doctor will ask you the following questions to find the reasons of sudden hearing loss:

  • When did you first consider hearing loss? was it gradually or suddenly?
  • Does it affect both ear or just one of them?
  • Do you have a history of ear infection?
  • Do you have a family history of sudden hearing loss?
  • Did you recently get ill? Do you have history of any special disease?
  • Did you ever expose with loud noise in your work place or home?
  • Did you ever have any head injuries?

When sudden hearing loss is diagnosed, the causes of this disorder will be removed and consequently hearing loss will be treated.

In many cases, the reason of sudden hearing loss is unknown and doctors can’t find the cause. In this case, oral steroid will be prescribing. This medicine is effective to treat unrecognized sudden hearing loss.

But taking steroids for those patients who suffer of some diseases such as diabetes or osteoporosis, is inadvisable. In this case, doctor inject the medicine into the ear’s tympanic membrane to limit the potential effects on the rest of the body.

Sudden hearing loss symptoms

Sudden hearing loss

Ear pressure and tinnitus are the first symptoms of sudden sensorineural hearing loss. Signs appear in ears after some days or at once. The symptoms severity is totally different; it will lead to permanent deafness in the worse condition.

Cochlear cross section. Specialists are diagnosed the impaired blood supply in the cochlea as the cause of sudden hearing loss.

Unexpectedly, earache is not the common sign. It has many reasons and may warn you for the other clinical condition such as infection. Dumb sounds or dizziness can be a symptom of sensorineural loss. According to different studies, 25 percentage of patients diagnosed with the same condition such as dizziness and cardiovascular problems.

The common symptoms are as bellow:

  • Incidence of hearing loss without any recognizable reasons
  • The absence of earache
  • Feeling ear pressure
  • Tinnitus

Sudden hearing loss treatment

If you start treatment earlier, the cusses will be diagnosed easier. It’s better you consult with otorhinolaryngologist within 24 hours of recognizing symptoms and start the treatment quickly.

Sudden hearing loss treatment consist of stimulation of the inner ear’s circulation and remove the possible factors. The other treatment methods are as follow:

The administration of circulation-enhancing (rheological) medication

In case of existence hearing loss, the inner ear’s blood circulation is diminished. Blood supplies the inner ear’s required nutrients. If circulation is prevented, the ear’s sensory hair cells will be damaged forever. More addition, using of circulation-enhancing medicine, not only improve the circulation but also, due to containing cortisone, prevent swelling (anti-edema treatment).

Local anesthesia to block inhibited nerves

Local anesthesia procaine and lidocaine are mostly effective for sudden hearing loss treatment (inotropic therapy). By this method, that should be done under the physician observation in the clinic, the nerves way which lead to vascular constriction are blocked.

Hearing aids

Hearing aids

Sudden hearing loss causes a permanent damage to the hair sensory cells that potentially leads to permanent hearing loss or deafness. The only way to treat the sudden hearing loss along with tinnitus is making use of hearing aids.

Oxygen pressure chamber

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is another option. In this method, the patient breathes inside a highly pressured chamber. Although it is a good treatment method but in accordance to observed medical criteria, may not be very effective.

Treatment for especially severe cases

Dialysis (apheresis) is another option to treat the severe sudden hearing loss. This procedure also called heparin-induced extracorporeal LDL precipitation (H.E.L.P.) whereby the blood will clean of coagulation-prompting substance by this method. This procedure improves the blood flow, severe cases needs inpatient treatment and even outpatient treatment by a specialist is possible.

Treatment in the event of obesity and diabetes

Treating arteriosclerosis (the pile up of fats, cholesterol and the other materials in and on the artery walls) is very important. Changing life style leads to easier treatment, including:

  • Loss weight along with low fat diet and exercise
  • Controlling the level of blood sugar
  • Avoiding nicotine, coffee and alcohol.

All these functions are very effective for treatment procedure.


Although there are the other treatment ways but their effectiveness is not proved and some of them are rejected by traditional medicine.

What should we do if we have hearing loss?

If this is occurred at once or within somedays, it should be treat as soon as possible. Forget all suggestions base on the allergy or the other reasons and see a doctor immediately. If it is happened due to a small and unimportant reason, immediate treatment leads to better hearing even more than first.

Rehabilitation of patients with persistent hearing loss

Sudden hearing loss causes different level of hearing defect. Most patient have difficulty to hear the other people who are sitting on their deaf side or even difficulty to hear the background sounds. Rehabilitation of sudden hearing loss depends on its severity. The level of hearing loss is different from no intervention to the use of hearing aids. But even in severe cases of profound sensorineural hearing loss using of hearing aids and other contributory listening devices might not be effective. In the past, rehabilitation was limited to use of contralateral routing of signal (CROS) that most patient were unsatisfied and it didn’t help them. But todays, bone anchored cochlear stimulator (BAHA) is a good alternative to the CROS and is effective for those patients with severe sensorineural hearing loss. It has many advantages compare to the CROS.