Everyone will experience hearing loss as they age. It is also a very common case that people will have one ear that will hear a lot better than the other ear. While this is true, it is also true that a sudden loss of hearing is very troublesome indeed and it is something that should be looked into as soon as possible. If you find yourself in a position where you have a sudden hearing loss, then it may very well be the case that you are experiencing sudden hearing loss that is termed as sensorineural. Normally when this happens it is usually due to a kind of deafness within the nerves. Fortunately, there are many benefits of hearing aids that you can make use of but that is after the fact that hearing loss has happened.
According to a lot of research and studies, there are generally about 66,000 new cases of SHL (sensorineural hearing loss) that are recorded every year in just the United States alone. The more worrying aspect of this shocking statistic is that the total number of people who experience SHL may be even higher. This is because this type of hearing loss very often does not get diagnosed properly. This means that the 66,000 number we mentioned above is a very conservative estimate.
One of the main reasons behind this is the fact that people just do not take it as seriously and they do not get medical assistance when it is required. This delay in receiving treatment is a serious issue as it can often lead to hearing loss that is absolutely permanent. It is, therefore, vitally important that you get any case of sudden hearing loss looked into immediately by a doctor. Even if you may not feel anything at the moment, it really has the potential to wreck your life significantly down the line. So, it is best to just completely avoid that risk.
One of the most worrying aspects of SHL is that the cause behind it is not known. Experts have speculated on a number of possible factors, however. It can be things like a viral infection, a malfunction within the immune system, injuries to the ear that are inflammatory, or it can even be due to a blockage of blood flow to the ear. Sometimes, it can even be a combination of multiple of these factors.
It is important to realize that this type of SHL has the potential to affect people from all age groups. However, it is mostly common to happen to those who are within the ages of 50 and 60. Normally, it usually occurs first in one ear. You may hear something that sounds like “a pop,” and it can even feel as though the ear is clogged. Another thing is that hearing just does not go away completely all at once too. It declines very gradually over a period of several minutes or sometimes even hours.
SHL can also seriously affect other aspects of your life as well. Your balance may be affected and that will increase the chances that you will suffer from falls. Sometimes, SHL may be the symptom of a tumor or a small stroke as well. One of the main reasons why this type of illness gets ignored is because the symptoms are very mild at first and resemble those of a head cold or water within the canals of the ear.
How to tell if you have SHL? Humming may be the answer
There is a way to tell if you have just a regular stuffy ear or if you are experiencing a sudden loss of hearing. Try out the following.
First of all, just try humming and humming a bit loudly to yourself. If your hearing is normal, you will be able to hear the sounds properly in both ears. If you are suffering from a loss of hearing in one ear, the humming will shift from one side to another.
For instance, having your right ear affected will make the humming sound much louder in that area. If this is the case, hearing loss is more likely to be conductive hearing loss. This generally happens when the person affected has a cold or has a build-up of earwax.
On the other hand, if the humming sound is much louder in your left ear, it may be the case that the hearing loss in the right ear is due to recent damage to the nerves. This will require prompt medical attention.
Duration and Treatment
Time is really of the essence if you want to be able to save your hearing. Normally, there is about a 10 to 14-day window in which you can treat SHL. If it is not done within that time period, the hearing loss becomes permanent. Therefore, always make sure to get any sudden loss of hearing looked into by your physician. You can also get a referral to visit a throat, nose, and ear specialist if you find yourself experiencing hearing loss that lasts longer than a day.
In general, this type of hearing loss is treated with a thing called corticosteroids. The treatment period is generally around two to about three weeks. The drugs can be taken orally or it can be injected into the eardrums. Corticosteroid pills are normally taken every day for about 14 days at the same exact dosage. The dose is reduced gradually during the final week. If ear injections are given, they are normally given twice in a week for a period of about two weeks.
The main takeaway from this article ought to be that SHL is a serious medical condition and that it should not be taken lightly. It should be looked into immediately. If that is not done, the situation can really escalate quickly.