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What is Sudden Hearing Loss?

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Have you ever experienced a sudden, unexplained hearing loss in one or both ears? This may be a sign of sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL), a medical emergency that requires urgent evaluation and treatment by an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist.

Sudden hearing loss is defined as a hearing loss of at least 30 decibels over three contiguous frequencies within a 72-hour period, with no apparent cause or trigger. It can occur in people of all ages and can be associated with various factors, such as viral infections, autoimmune disorders, head trauma, noise exposure, or certain medications.

If you experience sudden hearing loss, it's crucial to seek immediate medical attention, as early diagnosis and treatment can improve your chances of recovering your hearing. Delaying treatment for more than two weeks can significantly reduce the effectiveness of treatment and increase the risk of permanent hearing loss.

At our ENT practice, we offer a comprehensive evaluation of sudden hearing loss, including a detailed medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests, such as audiometry, imaging, and blood tests. We'll also assess your risk factors and potential causes of your hearing loss to develop an individualized treatment plan that addresses your specific needs and preferences.

Treatment options for sudden hearing loss may include:

  • Corticosteroids: Oral or intratympanic corticosteroids are the most common treatment for sudden hearing loss, as they can reduce inflammation and swelling in the inner ear and improve blood flow and oxygenation.

  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT): HBOT involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber, which can enhance tissue repair and regeneration in the inner ear and promote healing.

  • Antiviral or immunosuppressive drugs: If your hearing loss is caused by a viral infection or autoimmune disorder, we may prescribe antiviral or immunosuppressive medications to suppress the infection or inflammation and prevent further damage.

  • Hearing aids or cochlear implants: If your hearing loss is permanent or severe, we may recommend hearing aids or cochlear implants to improve your hearing and communication abilities.

If you or your loved one experiences sudden hearing loss, don't hesitate to seek urgent medical attention from our experienced Los Angeles ENT team. We're dedicated to providing you with prompt and effective care to preserve your hearing and improve your quality of life. Call us today to schedule your appointment.