Understanding Sudden Hearing Loss

Understanding Sudden Hearing Loss

Ron Middleton Health, Hearing Health, hearing loss, Hearing loss prevention, Hearing Loss Treatment, Research, Resource

Ron Middleton

Ron has been a part of the Lifestyle team helping people hear better since 2005. Before joining our team, Ron served in the U.S. Air Force for 22 years. As a Master Sergeant, he was Superintendent of Wing Aircrew Life Support and oversaw a staff of nearly 100. For the past decade, Ron has contributed to the community through leadership roles in the Tucson Downtown Lions Club.
Ron Middleton

By far, the most common form of hearing loss is slowly degenerative. Many of us have friends, family members, or loved ones who have experienced this kind of hearing loss as a natural part of the aging process. Our ears are subjected to so many sounds over our lifetimes that it is no surprise we slowly lose our ability to hear some of those sounds with many years of use. However, natural hearing loss as a part of the aging process is not the only type of hearing loss. Some people are born with hearing impairments, though this form of hearing loss is not considered “acquired.” Another type of hearing loss may occur suddenly, and we will be considering that type of hearing loss today. You might ask what are the causes and treatments of this kind of hearing loss, and we will also take a look at the ways to prevent sudden hearing loss.

Causes of Sudden Hearing Loss

The causes of sudden hearing loss are sometimes unknown, due to the very wide range of experiences and conditions that can bring on a sudden loss of hearing. Some say that sudden hearing loss can be caused by stress, and cardiovascular health may be an intermediary step in the mechanism linking stress and sudden hearing loss. Yet, other occurrences of sudden hearing loss come from health conditions, including viral and bacterial infections. Viral causes of sudden hearing loss include chicken pox or herpes. Circulatory disorders such as arteriosclerosis can cause sudden hearing loss, particularly when linked with a cardiovascular incident. Metabolic disorders such as diabetes or high cholesterol can cause sudden hearing loss, as well. Injuries can also cause sudden hearing loss, which may come as no surprise. Cervical spine injuries, otherwise known as whiplash, can be known as a cause, as well as the associated sonic events of accidents, car crashes, or explosions. These very loud sounds can cause immediate hearing loss, though it may or may not be permanent. Finally, autoimmune diseases can cause sudden hearing loss, as well.

Treatment for Sudden Hearing Loss

Just as the causes are varied and sometimes unknown, so are the possibilities for treatment of sudden hearing loss. If the loss has been caused by an infection, disease, or other treatable health condition, treatment of that underlying cause can take care of sudden hearing loss, as well. When circulation within the inner ear has been impaired, circulation-enhancing (rheological) medication can alleviate the problem. Local anesthesia can be used to block inhibited nerves when there is a problem in the auditory neural network.

If the sudden hearing loss has been caused by exposure to a sudden loud sound, such as an explosion, car crash, or other accident, then the hearing may come back with time. Sudden tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, can be associated with exposure to very loud sounds, and this condition may in some cases go away on its own.

The most common treatment for hearing loss is the use of hearing aids. Although this treatment may not cure the underlying cause of the hearing loss, it is a way to regain the ability to hear clearly in those ranges, and innovations in hearing assistance technology are truly remarkable. With the use of hearing aids, even those who have had serious sudden hearing loss can regain the ability to hear clearly and easily.

Prevention of Sudden Hearing Loss

One of the best preventative measures that you can take against sudden hearing loss is to wear hearing protection in places where sudden loud noises might occur, such as a workplace, factory, or test site. In addition to wearing hearing protection, preventative health measures against cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol can be helpful.

These preventions include the classic factors of exercise and a heart-healthy diet. Limiting sodium intake and consumption of very fatty foods or red meats can help ward off cardiovascular disease. Beyond these regular health measures, scheduling regular visits to Lifestyle Hearing Solutions can help catch sudden hearing loss as soon as it occurs. If you are concerned about your hearing abilities, contact us today to schedule an appointment. The sooner you engage in treatment, the better!