Sudden hearing loss is a frightening thought. Just imagine waking up one day and not being able to hear! Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL), also known as sudden deafness, affects about one in every 5,000 adults every year.

If I woke up without hearing: What should I do?

Sudden hearing loss (SSNHL) is a medical emergency. If you wake up with a hearing loss, you will need to contact an ENT Specialist immediately. Sometimes, you might feel uncomfortable fullness in your ear. Ringing in the ear might also happen sometimes. SSNHL may often occur in one ear.

In some cases, “sudden” hearing loss is gradual than just wake up one day without hearing. It could take over minutes or even hours.

If you’re experiencing sudden hearing loss:

  1. Call your General Physician
  2. Go to an ENT department at a nearby Hospital.

Sudden hearing loss treatment

Time period plays an important role with sudden hearing loss. To treat SSNHL, a time period of 10-14 days is required. It can also be permanent.

Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss is treated with corticosteroids, either injections or a pill. It’s vital that you seek treatment as soon as you notice your hearing problem. 85% of patients who receive proper medical treatment regain their hearing.

If you are left with permanent hearing loss after a bout of SSNHL, the best treatment is hearing aids.

How does sudden hearing loss happen?

It’s still not known what causes SSNHL. Experts say that viral infections, immune system problems, blocked blood flow to the ear, or inflammation in the ear could all cause the onset of sudden hearing loss. SSNHL can occur at any age, but it seems to affect people between their 40s and 60s most often.

They tend to experience balance issues, which can in turn increase your risk of falling. In few of the cases, sudden hearing loss may be the result of a small stroke or an auditory tumour.