SSNHL, short for sudden sensorineural hearing loss, can occur all at once or over the course of several days. Every year, about one in every 5,000 adults experiences sudden-onset hearing loss. Having said that, it is possible the number is much higher due to the number of cases that go unreported and undiagnosed.
While it is often downplayed as not serious, if you or a loved one has developed a sudden hearing loss, you should see a doctor immediately. The sooner you get a thorough audiological workup, the better your chances are for a full recovery.
The average age of first occurance is typically mid-40s to mid-50s. Men and women are affected equally.
Most people assume they are suffering from allergies, an earwax blockage or sinus infection, so they may not immediately seek treatment, but prompt treatment is vital.
Some people may feel a popping sensation or ringing in the ear. In most cases, a cause can’t be found, although viral infections can be a key reason.
Steroids can reduce harmful inflammation in the inner ear. Without prompt treatment, hearing loss can be permanent.