If you notice an instantaneous hearing loss in one ear, you may be experiencing sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL), also known as sudden deafness. In medical explanation, it’s when your hearing drops 30 decibels or more in three connected frequencies. In the majority of cases, only one ear is mostly affected, but there are cases where people experience sudden hearing loss in both ears simultaneously. Some people start to notice SSHL when they wake up in the morning. Their hearing just “faded away.” It may start out as a whisper, but can rapidly deteriorate over a period of hours or days.
Common Causes of Sudden Hearing Loss
When the inner ear or the nerve pathways inside the ear gets damaged, it causes SSHL. Although there are many causes for sudden hearing loss, about only 10 to 15 percent of the patients diagnosed with SSHL have an identifiable cause. But here are the three most common causes of sudden deafness:
Infection of the Inner Ear
Viral infections are one of the main reasons for the sudden hearing loss. Studies show that one month after suffering from an upper respiratory infection can lead to SSHL. Diseases associated with sudden sensorineural hearing loss include mumps, measles, rubella, as well as meningitis, syphilis, and AIDS, among many others. This can cause permanent hearing loss or varying stages in the cochlea (the auditory portion of the inner ear).
Damage to the Inner Ear
A bang on the head or a traumatic brain injury can cause your eardrum to rupture and affect your hearing. Hearing loss usually occurs when there is a damage in the inner ear, causing electric and sound signals not efficiently transmitted to the brain. Aging and constant exposure to loud noise may also cause wear and tear on the nerve cells in the cochlea. It disrupts the sound signals that are normally sent to the brain. If your inner ear is damaged, it may be difficult for you to pick out words against background noise and higher pitched tones may become muffled to you.
Meniere’s disease is a disorder that affects the innermost part of the vertebrate ear and this is responsible for your hearing. Meniere’s disease usually affects only one ear and has a chronic long term effect. This disorder causes events in which you will feel a sensation of spinning (vertigo), your hearing will fluctuate, and a ringing sound in your ears may occur. Treatment and lifestyle change can help to mend the symptoms. Although the main cause of Meniere’s disease isn’t known, scientists believe that changes in the fluid in tubes of the inner ear is the main cause.
Sudden hearing loss will certainly affect an individual’s life in a negative way. Beltone DFW will provide comprehensive hearing tests and will gladly assist you in checking the actual cause of SSHL. Give us a call today at (888) 958-8432 or schedule an appointment online to begin exploring your options.