If you wake up one morning and are unable to hear out of one ear (or both), or you notice a significant drop in your hearing over a few days, time is of the essence both for diagnosis and treatment.
If the sudden hearing loss is due to an issue in the inner ear (sudden sensorineural hearing loss), it is imperative that the condition is diagnosed and treated correctly and quickly – ideally within 48 hours of the hearing loss first being noticed, certainly no longer than 10 days.
Generally the sooner treatment is received, the more effective the recovery of hearing is.
Unfortunately, if correct treatment is not received within the relatively short treatment window, the hearing loss experienced can be irreversible.
Mackay Hearing principal audiologist and director Jodie Miles has noticed a recent surge in sudden sensorineural hearing loss cases that have been treated incorrectly or not at all, during the treatment window.
“In the first half of 2019, we have had 8 cases of sudden hearing loss, which is the most I have encountered in a 6 month period in all my time as an Audiologist” Ms Miles said.
“Sudden sensorineural hearing loss often comes with a feeling of ‘fullness’ or being ‘blocked-up’ in the affected ear, which can result in the condition being mistaken for an outer or middle ear issue, such as a middle ear infection or wax blockage.
“Incorrectly treating outer or middle ear issues is ineffective and wastes valuable time within the sudden sensorineural hearing loss treatment window”.
Ms Miles advises that the first step in dealing with sudden hearing loss, should be to have it accurately diagnosed by a qualified and experienced hearing health professional.
“The hearing tests I perform in the clinic are comprehensive and can determine whether the sudden hearing loss is due to an issue in the inner ear”.
“If it is, we liaise with relevant medical professionals to assist in ensuring that the client receives urgent treatment within the treatment window”.
Treatment usually involves a course of steroids administered by GPs in consultation with an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist.
“If the correct treatment is administered quickly, in most cases at least some of the client’s hearing is recovered”.
Sudden hearing loss can also be a symptom of other serious health issues, and this should be discussed further with the client’s GP.
If you or a loved one lose a significant amount of hearing quickly (suddenly or over a period of up to 3 days), please contact us immediately on 4952 4649 to book a hearing test. Please mention that you have experienced a sudden hearing loss, and we will arrange for your hearing to be tested urgently.
Find out more about Mackay Hearing at mackayhearing.com.au or call 4952 4649.