What causes sudden hearing loss?

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), sudden deafness, or sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL), strikes one person per 5,000 every year, typically adults in their 40s and 50s. Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL) usually comes on suddenly and rapidly, and nine out of 10 people with SSHL lose hearing in one ear.

Unfortunately, most people who experience SSHL delay treatment or don’t seek treatment at all, because they think the condition is due to allergies, sinus infections, or earwax impaction. If you suspect you have SSHL, you should seek immediate medical care, because any delayed treatment could result in a permanent hearing loss.

About 80% of people diagnosed with SSHL do not have any identifiable cause. For the other 20%, causes have been attributed to secondary issues associated with primary illnesses or medical conditions, including:

  • Ototoxic drugs (drugs that affect the sensory cells in the inner ear) 
  • Autoimmune Diseases (such as Cogan’s Syndrome) 
  • Trauma (head injury)
  • Infectious Diseases 
  • Blood Circulation Problems
  • Tumors (tumors on the nerve that connects the ear to the brain)
  • Neurologic Diseases and Disorders (such as Multiple Sclerosis)
  • Disorders of the Inner Ear (such as Ménière’s Disease)

If you suspect you may have SSHL, contact us today for a full evaluation.