Sudden hearing loss is a topic I've written about in the past but I think it's time to talk about it again. Recently, I have had two people in the office complaining about a sudden hearing loss. Even though both of the people were experienced, long-term hearing aid users, they experienced a phenomenon called sudden hearing loss. In one case, the person went to bed feeling fine and when they woke up, couldn't hear out of one ear. At first, they thought it was the hearing aid not working but subsequent testing indicated it wasn't the hearing aid but a sudden hearing loss. In both cases, they waited a few days before contacting me and I referred them immediately to an Ear, Nose and Throat physician. Immediate treatment is a key factor in whether or not the hearing will recover.
A sudden hearing loss can happen to anyone; you do not have to have an underlying hearing loss or any other disease pathology. I always use this comparison: if you woke up in the morning and were blind in one eye, you would immediately head to the emergency room. It's a little harder with hearing loss: maybe it's just wax or maybe you think you are coming down with a cold or your allergies are bad. If this happens to you, get to an ENT right away. Ideally, treatment should occur within 48 hours of the incident.
There is not a lot of research on this since it is somewhat uncommon and since most people don't report it right away, it is difficult to determine the cause. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our office for more information.