Causes Of Sensorineural Hearing Loss
As stated above, the inner ear has two sections, one for hearing and the other for balance . For this article, we are mostly concerned with hearing loss due to disorders in the cochlea but some conditions affecting hearing also affect balance.
Its also the case that tinnitus can accompany almost all causes of hearing loss, especially those arising in the cochlea and/or centrally.
Diagnosing Sudden Hearing Loss
A diagnosis for sudden hearing loss is determined through process of elimination. Various examination procedures are all performed to obtain the best results. For example, an ENT doctor can use otoscopy to discover obstructions or injuries in the ear canal. By using hearing tests , a doctor can determine the extent and localization of your hearing loss, and classify your sudden hearing loss into high, mid, or low frequency. A pure-tone audiogram is performed during the diagnostic process to determine if you have pan cochlear sensorineural hearing loss.
How hearing aids can help in the event of sudden hearing lossWearing hearing aids will alleviate the effects of sudden hearing loss if your hearing loss persists over time. Ideally, the appropriate medication should be administered within 24 hours after you notice the symptoms. If treatment does not follow within this period, and your hearing loss becomes chronic, we recommend the use of hearing aids to provide relief. If your sudden hearing loss occurs with tinnitus, the noiser function in most hearing aids can help treat both conditions.
Viruses That Cause Hearing Loss
As mentioned above, viral causes of hearing loss can vary between congenital, acquired, and both. It’s important to differentiate between these three in order to successfully diagnose someone. If you or a loved one is suffering from sudden SNHL or sudden sensorineural hearing loss, it is vital that you seek help from a professional. While you can find information about potential viruses online, only a doctor can diagnose and treat you.
Children who suffer from congenital viruses are at a greater risk of hearing loss. These viruses can include:
Children and adults suffering from SNHL can also be diagnosed with the following viruses, which cause both congenital and acquired hearing loss after infection.
- HSV Types 1 & 2. Both HSV one and two belong to the herpesvirus family, and this virus can occur in children and adults. While adults might acquire this virus through contact, children with HSV1 or HSV2-positive mothers can become infected in-utero. To prevent infection of children from their mothers, therapies, medications, and cesarean births are recommended.
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus . A well-known RNA virus that can lead to AIDS, along with a variety of other conditions and illnesses. By killing T-cells, children and adults suffering from HIV become susceptible to opportunistic infections. Hearing loss is a common side effect of HIV, with 2/3 of HIV-positive children suffering SNHL, and 1/2 of that group suffering from developed hearing loss.
Also Check: What Is The Life Expectancy Of Hearing Aids
What Is Mnires Disease
Ménières disease is a disorder of the inner ear that causes severe dizziness , ringing in the ears , hearing loss, and a feeling of fullness or congestion in the ear. Ménières disease usually affects only one ear.
Attacks of dizziness may come on suddenly or after a short period of tinnitus or muffled hearing. Some people will have single attacks of dizziness separated by long periods of time. Others may experience many attacks closer together over a number of days. Some people with Ménières disease have vertigo so extreme that they lose their balance and fall. These episodes are called drop attacks.Ménières disease can develop at any age, but it is more likely to happen to adults between 40 and 60 years of age. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders estimates that approximately 615,000 individuals in the United States are currently diagnosed with Ménières disease and that 45,500 cases are newly diagnosed each year.
Social Isolation Loneliness And Stigma
Impact on society and economy
Years Lived with Disability and Disability Adjusted Life Years
WHO estimates that unaddressed hearing loss poses an annual global cost of US$ 980 billion. This includes health sector costs , costs of educational support, loss of productivity, and societal costs. 57% of these costs are attributed to low- and middle-income countries.
Don’t Miss: How To Unpop Ears From Water
Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease
As explained above, autoimmune inner ear disease is a specific kind of autoimmune disease that targets certain inner ear cells and causes your immune system to view them as foreign. This disease can occur on its own or be part of a wider spread autoimmune disorder.;
AIED is also extremely rare. While hearing loss is one of the most common disabilities, less than one percent of people with hearing loss will experience AIED. Despite it being so rare, it has had very definable presentations in the people who have developed it.;
Typically a person who has AIED will experience this disease with a sudden onset of hearing loss. This is called sensorineural hearing loss, or SNHL.
Not only does it develop quickly, but it typically develops unilaterally before eventually becoming bilateral. This means that the most common presentation of AIED will be sudden, unexplained loss of hearing in one ear over a short period of time, eventually followed by loss of hearing in the second ear as well.
This disease has proven hard to diagnose because it is similar in presentation to many others. The ability to recognize that the immune system is attacking healthy cells in the ear is difficult. One symptom that has been reported commonly with AIED is the presence of tinnitus.;
Sudden Hearing Loss Treatment
Shortly after experiencing sudden hearing loss, your doctor will want to focus on reducing some risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and diabetes. Youll also need to take steps to ensure the reduction of stress in your personal life. If your sudden hearing loss began more than a year ago, the only option left is to alleviate it with the help of hearing aids.
However, the earlier you start treatment, the better the prognosis. In a best-case scenario, you would see an ENT doctor within the first 24 hours and get help right away. Treatment for sudden hearing loss involves stimulation of inner ear circulation and the elimination of possible triggers. Other forms of treatment include:
Circulation-enhancing medicationIn the event of sudden hearing loss, the inner ears blood circulation is reduced or impaired. Blood supplies the inner ear with required nutrients, and if circulation is inhibited, the sensory hair cells of the ear are permanently damaged. Circulation can be improved with circulation-enhancing medication, which can also include cortisone to prevent any swelling .
Local anesthesia to block inhibited nervesLocal anesthetics like procaine and lidocaine are frequently used by a medical professional to treat sudden hearing loss. These anesthetics block nerves that potentially lead to vascular constriction.
Recommended Reading: How To Tell Ear Infection Toddler
Did A Virus Cause My Sudden Hearing Loss
Researchers think that in cases of sudden hearing loss where no obvious cause can be identified, a mild viral infection may have been to blame. This is because people often report having a head cold or respiratory infection in the days and weeks before they lost their hearing.
How would it do this?;The virus itselfor the resulting inflammationsomehow damages the inner ear’s delicate hair cells and/or the blood supply. Any number of viruses may be responsible, including some that may not produce many symptoms, meaning a;person is unaware they’re sick until they experience hearing loss. This is an area of emerging research.
Types Of Sudden Hearing Loss
Sudden idiopathic hearing lossIdiopathic means without recognizable cause. This is the most common type of hearing loss. Extensive examination cannot determine an organic cause.
Stress-related sudden hearing lossStress is a frequent trigger for sudden hearing loss. Therefore, it is imperative that you reduce your stress levels so that you can better cope with demanding situations. Regular exercise can be helpful in eliminating stress.
A persons medical history can play an important role in diagnosing sudden hearing loss, and may contain vital clues that could indicate possible causes of their current hearing difficulty. In addition to medical history, other diagnostic methods, such as Fowlers pure-tone audiometry, brainstem electrical response audiometry , or the measurement of otoacoustic emissions , serve to exclude a diseased acoustic nerve as the cause of impaired hearing.
Don’t Miss: How To Turn On Hearing Aid Mode On Iphone
What Is Sudden Hearing Loss
Also known as sudden sensorineural hearing loss, or SSNHL, sudden-onset hearing loss occurs all at once or over the course of several days. About one;out of every 5,000 adults experiences sudden-onset hearing loss;annually, though that number could be much higher due to the number of cases that go unreported and undiagnosed.
Men and women are affected equally, and the average age of first occurrence is typically mid-40s to mid-50s.;
For most people, the immediate assumption is that they are suffering from allergies, an earwax blockage or sinus infection, so they might decide not to seek treatmentbut prompt treatment is vital.;
Testing For Sudden Hearing Loss
If you suspect you might have SSNHL, the first step is to make an appointment with a hearing healthcare professional. She may conduct a hearing test called pure tone audiometry;to measure the hearing loss.;
The test can also determine the range of hearing loss in decibels. SSNHL will be diagnosed in the case of a hearing loss of at least 30 decibels in at least three;connected frequencies. After diagnosis, she may order further tests in an attempt to determine an underlying cause. Blood tests, MRIs;and balance tests are just a few examples that might help get to the bottom of your hearing loss.
If any of;your healthcare providers are unwilling to thoroughly investigate your sudden hearing loss, seek a second opinion. As audiologist Dennis Colucci stated, healthcare providers must “understand that sudden hearing loss is a medical emergency. Without immediate action, there is likely to be less benefit and more burden to patients, their families, and the healthcare system.”
Read Also: Can Otomize Ear Spray Give You Hearing Loss
Sudden Hearing Loss As An Initial Symptom
Based on published case reports, it appears that sudden;hearing loss is rarely a symptom of coronavirus onset.
In a June 2020;report, several Iranian;patients reported hearing loss in one ear, as well as vertigo. In another report about;sudden sensorineural hearing loss and COVID-19,;one Egyptian man with no other coronavirus symptoms developed sudden hearing loss, and then tested positive for coronavirus.
But beyond those reports, not much has been published by researchers.;
Note:;Sudden hearing loss is a medical emergency. Seek medical attention if you experience sudden hearing loss in one ear. The faster you get treatment, the more likely you’ll get your hearing back.
Preliminary Report Teases Apart Vaers Data To Identify Most Likely Cases
byJudy George, Senior Staff Writer, MedPage Today May 20, 2021
Sudden sensorineural hearing loss was reported after people received COVID-19 vaccines but appeared to occur less frequently than expected, a preliminary analysis suggested.
Incidence estimates of sudden sensorineural hearing loss after COVID-19 vaccination ranged from 0.3 to 4.1 per 100,000 per year based on Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System data, reported Eric Formeister, MD, MS, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and co-authors in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.
The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery estimates that sudden sensorineural hearing loss affects 5 to 27 per 100,000 people annually, with about 66,000 new cases a year in the U.S.
“Among the otolaryngology community and larger medical community, there is a lot of interest surrounding a perception of an increased rate of sudden hearing loss that has been observed in some patients after COVID vaccination,” Formeister told MedPage Today.
“However, sudden hearing loss can also occur naturally, so it is not known whether sudden hearing loss occurring after COVID vaccination is coincidental or may be related to the vaccine,” he added. “Further, some patients who have suffered sudden hearing loss after the first dose have been hesitant to receive the second dose due to safety concerns.”
Recommended Reading: Can You Get Free Hearing Aids On The Nhs
Location Of Endolymphatic Sac
Symptoms Of Sudden Hearing Loss
Some people notice sudden hearing loss when they wake up first thing in the morning and realize their hearing is different. Others dont notice a difference until they hold the phone up to the affected ear or try to listen to headphones. In some cases SSNHL is preceded by a very noticeable pop,”;which can be quite alarming.
Afterward,;some patients report a feeling of fullness in the affected ear or a strange feeling on that side of the head, possibly accompanied by sudden ringing in the ear ;and dizziness. This is sometimes called “aural fullness.”
Don’t Miss: How To Say The N Word In Sign Language
Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sudden sensorineural hearing loss affects nerves of the inner ear. It is unrelated to earwax.
Symptoms include sudden hearing loss or a blocked ear that develops rapidly over hours. It may lead to sudden deafness. It rarely affects both ears. Although a cold may be present, ear pain and infection is not common.
It is an emergency and you should call your ENT as soon as possible.
Treatment involves recovering hearing to prevent permanent loss of hearing. For those who have incomplete recoveries, there are several options for improving hearing.
What Viruses Cause Hearing Problems
A person with normal hearing can distinguish between 5- 20 decibels of sound. For example, such quiet sounds as breathing. Since, in most cases, hearing loss develops slowly, the person usually cant notice the initial stages of the problem. As a result, the patient loses precious time by seeking help from the doctor too late.
What are the first causes of hearing loss that come to mind?
- Age-related changes
- Head or auditory injuries
- Drug side effects
Many viruses cause hearing loss too! Nothing can be done about age-related changes, but its quite possible to defend yourself from dangerous infections and consequences. Protect your hearing!
You might be surprised, but infections affecting different parts of the ear are one of the common causes of temporary or permanent hearing loss. Under the age of 15, infectious diseases rank first among the causes of hearing loss that could be prevented .
Depending on the infection route, three main types of viral diseases lead to one or another form of hearing loss.
Read Also: How To Set Up Signia Hearing Aids
Many Causes Many Treatments
There are dozens of possible causes, so when a patient comes in for treatment, Wiet and his colleagues conduct a detailed examination in an effort to discover what’s behind the sudden loss of hearing.
Top causes of sudden hearing loss include the following:
- Ongoing exposure to loud music
- Illnesses such as mumps, meningitis, multiple sclerosis or measles
- Head trauma
- Drugs such as aspirin, cisplatin and quinine, or the antibiotics streptomycin and gentamcin
Sometimes the problem proves to be high platelet count or a blockage in the cochlear artery, which carries blood from the heart to the ear. Other potential causes include overuse of opiate drugs and autoimmune inner ear disease, in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the ear.
Main Causes Of Sudden Hearing Loss
For some, its a noticeable difference immediately upon waking.; For others, it occurs rapidly over a course of hours or one or two days.; However it manifests, sudden sensorineural hearing loss , or sudden deafness, is a condition that takes thousands of Americans by surprise each year.
A sudden and drastic drop in hearing can be disconcerting to say the least.; Its frightening, confusing, and although about half of patients will recover some, if not all, of their hearing, half will not.; Prompt medical attention and ongoing treatment are necessary in the effort to identify an underlying cause, as well as the most effective treatment option.; While the precise factors leading to SSHL are identified in only 10 to 15 percent of patients, the following three sources are among the most common:
Also Check: Is There A Way To Treat Tinnitus
Sinus Congestion And Hearing Loss
Chances are that if youre wondering, Can a sinus infection cause hearing loss? youve already got an inkling of what might be behind this symptom. The most common form of hearing loss due to a sinus infection is caused by severe congestion and sinus blockage specifically, sinus blockage of the Eustachian tube, a small section of your ear that helps regulate pressure.
Fluid in the Eustachian tube can cause muffled hearing. Many people equate the sensation to that of descending in an airplane, being underwater, or even having earplugs in.
Changes in hearing such can be distressing. In general, its wise to visit a doctor as soon as you notice any difference in the quality of your hearing, but to have hearing loss coupled with a sinus infection may indicate that your infection has become more severe, and thus definitely warrants a visit to your ENT.
Complications Following Sudden Hearing Loss
Sudden hearing loss may result in various complications, including persistent or permanent hearing loss or complete deafness. Another possible long-term complication is the development of tinnitus, which can also be accompanied by a permanent feeling of pressure in the ear. In some cases, sudden hearing loss is followed by a feeling of internal restlessness and a racing heartbeat.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Most Powerful Hearing Aid On The Market