One of the most devastating hearing losses is the sudden hearing loss (SHL). This occurs relatively quickly in a matter of hours or days and can affect one or both ears. Many specialists state that this type of loss is frequent in people between the age group of 30-60 years and has an equal occurrence rates in both men and women. It is important to note that SHL affect people differently but it is often accompanied with other conditions like vertigo or tinnitus or both. The condition may be mild or server and may affect various parts of the hearing frequency range. It may also be temporary or permanent.
There are two types of this condition: sudden conductive and sudden sensorineural hearing. These conditions will be treated differently because they are of different natures. The sudden conductive condition is relatively easy to diagnose and fix and are therefore not considered a medical emergency. On the other hand the sudden sensorineural condition is a medical emergency and patients need to see an otologist or a neurologist. This condition usually occurs within three days and the loss is more than 30DB as shown on the audiogram. In other situations, the condition may be instantaneous and the patients may hear a loud sound or a pop sound before their hearing disappears.
The condition is not idiopathic as there are quite a number of known causes. One of them is autoimmune conditions such as lupus, relapsing polychodritis and Ulcerative colitis among others. Vascular conditions like red blood cell deformity, sickle cell and blood dyscrasias; Neurological Neoplastic like acoustic Neuroma, leukemia and multiple sclerosis are also some of the causes of this condition. People who have undergone trauma or have infections due to viruses and toxins in the body may also suffer from sudden hearing loss. Sometimes it may be difficult for the ear specialists to determine the cause of the condition and may render it as idiopathic.
For those patients with history of SSHL associated with situations look straining, diving or recent surgery it is important to see a specialist as it will require a surgery. Patients diagnosed with idiopathic SSHL usually recover completely without treatment but others may require some treatment options in order to regain their ears while others do not recover whether they have been treated or not.