Sudden Hearing Loss (SHL) occurs when someone suffers partial or total hearing loss. Nine times out of ten only one ear is affected. The hearing loss may be accompanied by vertigo, tinnitus or both. Men and women are equally affected and most often between 30-60 years old. Approximately one out of three people who develop SHL wake up one morning with a hearing problem and immediately begin searching for the best hearing solutions in Lancaster, PA.
What Causes Sudden Hearing Loss?
Diagnosing the cause of SHL can be difficult. Normally, the individual is otherwise healthy. The exact cause may never be definitively determined since testing results are often normal. Performing a biopsy in the inner ear is seldom, if ever, recommended because of the delicate nature of the inner ear.
* Various illnesses may be associated with hearing loss, including everyday viral illnesses, vascular or Lyme disease, autoimmune issues, head injuries and a number of other health difficulties.
* Wax buildup can cause SHL and can be treated at a doctor’s office.
* Prescription medications can also cause SHL.
* Hearing loss often occurs naturally as someone gets older.
Treating Sudden Hearing Loss
As can be imagined, a mysterious hearing loss that is difficult to diagnose is also difficult to treat. The wide range of possible causes – or no definitive cause – complicates the problem. Only 10-15% of those with SHL will have an identifiable cause. A few possible treatments are shown below.
* Corticosteroids is the most common treatment for SHL when the cause is unknown. They are effective in treating inflammation and reducing swelling associated with many different disorders.
* Antibiotics may be prescribed if an infection is diagnosed.
* Stopping certain prescription drugs may be helpful.
* Drugs may be prescribed for those with an autoimmune condition that has caused the hearing loss.
Improved Hearing with Hearing Aids
A significant amount of research has been done and is ongoing on SHL. Those with less severe hearing issues may decide to live with it. Others find that the use of a hearing aid or other assistive listening device can improve their ability to hear in the problem ear. One option is the bone anchored cochlear stimulator which was found to benefit many patients with severe hearing loss in one ear.
If you are suffering from a sudden hearing loss, call Otolaryngology Physicians of Lancaster. They are committed to providing the best hearing solutions in Lancaster, PA.
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