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Whether you have previous hearing loss or not, sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL) can be disorienting, even frightening. SSHL is sudden hearing loss in one or both ears that can occur immediately or over several days.

Causes

There’s a laundry list of things that can cause SSHL, but determining the cause will be essential to proper treatment. 

SSHL may be caused by:

  • Head injury or trauma
  • A malformed inner ear
  • Tumors or abnormal tissue growths
  • Extensive exposure to loud noises
  • Damaged auditory nerve pathways 
  • Neurological, autoimmune, or hearing conditions
  • Aging
  • Medications

Symptoms

SSHL may occur right after you wake up and get out of bed. It’s also common to notice it when you use headphones or earbuds. If SSHL occurs over several days, you may notice you’re struggling with group conversations. 

You may also experience:

  • An inability to hear high-pitched sounds
  • Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears
  • Dizziness or balance problems

Treatment

Seek medical treatment immediately if you display symptoms of SSHL. You decrease your chance of recovering your hearing the longer you wait to treat it. Your audiologist will conduct:

  • Physical exams to rule out earwax buildup or blockages
  • An audiogram to assess the severity of your hearing loss
  • Refer for an order for MRI or CT scan to detect other anomalies

It’s essential to explain all your symptoms, medical history, and prescription and over-the-counter medication use. This will help your audiologist narrow the possible causes of your SSHL.

Treatment can include:

  • Steroids to reduce inflammation in the inner and middle ear
  • Antibiotics for infections
  • Cochlear implants to improve hearing

Come to Audiology & Hearing Services of Charlotte if you suspect you have SSHL. We guarantee personalized care, so you can leave knowing you’ve received the best possible treatment. Call us at 704-412-7975 or contact us online to learn more about our services.