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SUDDEN HEARING LOSS

What is this condition?

This is an uncommon condition. If a person develops a hearing loss over a period of 48 hours, it is labelled as a sudden hearing loss. It usually affects one ear, but rarely can involve both. In either case the effect is dramatic, and debilitating for the person involved.

What causes this problem?

Injury to ear or head can lead to this condition. The injury can be physical or due to exposure to a loud sound. However, in many cases it is difficult to ascertain the exact cause of the hearing loss. There are various reasons provided in medical literature to explain the causes for this condition. The most accepted explanations include a viral infection of the inner ear or a blood clot occluding the blood supply to the inner ear.

How is it managed?

It is important to start treatment for this problem as soon as possible. A baseline hearing test is done, and medication started that will calm any inflammation of the inner ear. Also, a scan is arranged to rule out any swelling of the hearing nerve that may have caused this condition. Regular follow-up is required to note the progression of the hearing loss if any, and these also serve as an indicator of long term prognosis.

AGE RELATED HEARING LOSS

What is age related hearing loss?

This condition, which affects all individuals in some form, is also called Presbyacusis. The inner ear hair cells that are vital to our hearing degenerate gradually leading to a hearing loss.

What is its management?

At the moment there is no medication that will reverse these changes or help regenerate dying hair cells. Management involves documenting the hearing loss in the first instance. If the hearing loss is affecting communication with friends or family, a hearing aid fitting can be organised.

Nowadays most hearing aids are digital. They can be tailored to the person’s hearing loss. There is a wide range of hearing aids available, and one can choose an aid that best suits the person’s needs. Advances in this field are always ongoing, and it is possible to find a suitable hearing aid that will amplify sound efficiently and be cosmetically acceptable. We work closely with hearing aid providers who specialise in this field, and would be happy to recommend them.

ear anatomy
inner ear
hearing test
hearing difficulty
noise exposure
brain scan
hearing aids

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