What is Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss(SSHL)?

Sudden hearing loss is defined as an abrupt partial or complete loss of hearing. While sudden deafness can affect both ears, it most often affects one ear. This sudden loss of hearing can occur all at once or develop over the course of a few days. 

To be considered sudden hearing loss, this hearing impairment must develop in less than 72 hours.


attempting to hear something

Have you experienced a sudden decline in your hearing or complete hearing loss in one or both ears? Sudden hearing loss affects many people and is most common after a serious infection or injury. Happy Ears Hearing Center can diagnose and treat sudden hearing loss with a variety of specialized treatments. Read on to learn more about how sudden hearing loss occurs and what your treatment options are.

What Causes Sudden Hearing Loss?

Numerous factors can lead to sudden hearing loss. Some people experience sudden hearing loss in one ear after an injury or trauma to the ear, while others experience it gradually after a severe infection. 

The following are the most common causes of sudden hearing loss:

  • Trauma to the ear
  • Severe infections or viruses, such as COVID-19 or sinus infections
  • Excessive wax buildup
  • Allergies

There are risk factors that increase the likelihood that you will develop sudden deafness. These include certain underlying conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure. Some medical conditions can block proper blood flow to the ear and contribute to sudden hearing loss. 


Symptoms of Sudden Deafness

Sudden hearing loss presents various symptoms that usually affect one ear. Below are some of the symptoms that many patients experience with sudden hearing loss:

  • Noticing a partial or complete inability to hear
  • Thinking that others sound like they are mumbling
  • Being unable to distinguish between background noise and other sounds
  • Having particular trouble hearing consonants
  • Turning up music or the television more frequently
  • Asking others to speak louder
  • Withdrawing from conversations
  • Avoiding phone conversations

In most cases of sudden hearing loss in one ear, no pain is involved. If you are experiencing hearing loss along with pain in one or both ears, you may have experienced severe trauma to the eardrum or other structures within the ear. Contact our staff at Happy Ears Hearing Center, as your ear may require immediate attention.


Will My Hearing Recover?

The biggest concern for most patients is if their hearing will recover after sudden hearing loss. Whether you regain your hearing depends mainly on the underlying cause of your hearing loss. 

Cases caused by trauma or injury may not resolve, but cases caused by infection or illness often get better after treatment. In fact, about half of all patients who experience sudden hearing loss can have their hearing restored within several weeks of onset, however, immediate treatment is necessary within 72 hours.

Hearing aids and other amplifiers can restore hearing in many patients. Happy Ears Hearing Center offers a large selection of hearing aids and other devices to resolve your hearing loss.


Sudden Hearing Loss During COVID-19

Reports show that many people infected with COVID-19 have experienced sudden sensorineural hearing loss. Some patients experience this decline in hearing during an active infection, while others experience it abruptly after other symptoms have resolved. 

The exact reason for sudden hearing loss with COVID-19 is still unknown, but it may be treated and resolved with early diagnosis. 


How Sudden Hearing Loss Is Diagnosed

A series of tests and a thorough evaluation can diagnose sudden hearing loss. 

The audiologists at Happy Ears Hearing Center will perform an examination of your ears and their inner structures, as well as a complete review of your medical history. We do this to look for the underlying causes of your sudden hearing loss and determine the appropriate treatment options.


Treatment for Sudden Hearing Loss at Happy Ears Hearing Center

Contact the team at Happy Ears Hearing Center if you’ve experienced sudden hearing loss after COVID-19 or another illness. We work with patients who have had a rapid decline in hearing with or without a known cause. The sooner you get treatment, the higher the chance of preserving your hearing. 

Our audiologists provide the best tools and treatments to help restore your hearing and improve your quality of life. We have offices conveniently located in Mesa, Surprise, and Peoria, AZ, to provide care to a wide range of patients. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!