Brookings

Sudden Hearing Loss

What is Sudden Hearing Loss?

  • A rapid hearing loss, typically in one ear, occurring over a period of 72 hours or less
  • A medical emergency that requires immediate diagnosis and treatment
  • Associated symptoms MAY include tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and/or dizziness (vertigo)

What causes Sudden Hearing Loss?

  • Infectious diseases such as mumps, measles or chickenpox
  • Circulatory and inner ear problems such as Meniere’s disease
  • Trauma, such as a head injury that disrupts cochlear blood flow
  • Acoustic neuroma (non-cancerous tumor) of the acoustic nerve

Symptoms:

  • A hearing test that measures a loss of at least 30dB
  • Inability to hear when using the “deafened” ear in a telephone call or conversation
  • Noticing a loud “pop” or explosive sound just before severe hearing loss occurs

Diagnosis:

  • Talk honestly with your Audiologist about sudden changes in your ability to hear
  • Allow your Audiologist to professionally evaluate the type and severity of your hearing loss
  • Allow your Audiologist to evaluate the function of your inner ear
  • Co-ordinate with a Physician to order an MRI to rule out acoustic neuroma

Return to: Hearing Education Center > Disease Diagnosis & Treatment > Sudden Hearing Loss