Symptoms of sudden hearing loss
Most people tend to experience sudden hearing loss in one ear. As the name suggests, symptoms can come on suddenly, or develop over a few hours or days. People might notice it when they wake up, or find a change in their hearing when they listen to music or make a phone call. Some people may experience a loud popping sound before their hearing reduces.
Other accompanying symptoms include:
A feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear
Dizziness or problems with balance
Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
Causes of sudden hearing loss
Sudden hearing loss can happen for a number of reasons, including:
A build-up of earwax
Injury or trauma to the ear
Side effects of certain medication
A growth in the ear
Diagnosing sudden hearing loss
Any hearing loss you experience suddenly, and without any obvious cause, should be examined as soon as possible.
We’d recommend that you go to your local A&E department or Urgent Care ENT clinic within 24 hours in order to detemine its cause, and the most effective treatment options for you.
Complications of sudden hearing loss
Some cases of sudden hearing loss can result in more long-lasting symptoms such as permament hearing loss in the affected ear, or the development of tinnitus, a condition that involves a persistent or continuous sound of ringing or buzzing in the ear.
Treatment process for sudden hearing loss
Treatment for sudden hearing loss will depend on its cause. Some cases may resolve on their own after a couple of weeks for no apparent reason, but you should seek medical advice as soon as possible as early treatment may increase the likelihood of recovery.
Treatment options typically include things like:
Steroids – to help reduce any inflammation or swelling causing the condition
Antibiotics – if your sudden hearing loss is caused by an infection
Changing medication – some cases might happen due to a side effect of certain medications, so switching to an alternative may help
Hearing aids – in more severe cases, you might be advised to wear hearing aids to improve your hearing, or if you also experience tinnitus, more specialised hearing aids might be recommended that help to mask tinnitus sounds
Lifestyle changes – some people might benefit from reducing risk factors associated with sudden hearing loss, which include things like stress, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity
This will depend on its underlying cause. Some cases will restore your hearing back to normal, whereas some case might result in permanent hearing loss in the affected ear. That’s why early diagnosis and treatment are important in order to increase the chance of successful treatment.
Sudden hearing loss can happen in one or both ears and can be caused by a number or things including, ear infections, injury to the ear, a build-up of earwax, Ménière’s disease, or a side effect of certain medications.
Any kind of sudden hearing loss you experience, particularly when there is no obvious cause, should be treated as an emegency and investigated as soon as possible.