It can be defined as a loss of at least 30 dB (decibels) in 3 consecutive sound frequencies in the hearing test (audiometry) that occurs in less than 3 days.
Incidence of sudden hearing loss; 5 to 20 per hundred thousand. Although it can occur in both women, it is known that it is more common in the 40s. It usually affects only one ear..
What are the Causes?
Although the exact cause of sudden hearing loss is not reported, there are some reasons that are effective in its occurrence:
Viral infections: Viral infections such as mumps, measles, rubella, herpes virus, flu can affect the auditory nerves and cause sudden hearing loss.
Vascular Occlusion: Veins feeding the inner ear, which is the center of hearing and balance, are very delicate, thin and few in number. Sudden hearing loss may occur as a result of any cause that may obstruct the vessel, such as a blood clotting disorder or embolism.
Autoimmune Diseases: Our defense cells, which are responsible for protecting our body, have the ability to distinguish between what is in our body and what is not. Sometimes this mechanism is broken. Our defense cells are perceived as foreign substances. It wages war on our own body cells. Sudden hearing loss can occur when the inner ear is affected by this condition.
Bacterial Infections: Sudden hearing loss can be observed with bacterial infection of the structure called labyrinth in the inner ear.
Tumors: Tumors such as meningioma, hemangioma, acoustic neuroma can cause sudden hearing loss by affecting the auditory nerves or other ear structures.
Medications: Use of some drugs such as streptomycin, cyclophosphamide, some diuretics, cisplatin can cause sudden hearing loss.
Traumas: In addition to an inner ear trauma that can be caused by head trauma, pressure changes that may cause tears in the mucous membranes of the inner ear structures can also result in sudden hearing loss.
Metabolic Diseases: It is known that diseases such as diabetes and fat metabolism disorders can cause sudden hearing loss.
How is the Diagnosis ?
The most striking feature is that hearing loss develops in less than 3 days. Some patients may experience dizziness as well as hearing loss.
- The main test for the diagnosis of sudden hearing loss; audiometry (hearing test). In the hearing test, at least 30 dB (decibel) hearing loss should be detected in three consecutive frequencies.
- Metabolic and etiological factors are screened in the blood test.
- If the hearing loss does not improve in three weeks, detailed examination is performed with MR and tomography.
Our patients who apply to our department with sudden hearing loss in the first 10 days are taken to hyperbaric oxygen therapy. The best results in this treatment are obtained in patients who apply in the first 48 hours. The success rate of this treatment is low in patients who have passed 15 days after sudden hearing loss.
In the treatment of this
Some treatments such as blood thinners, systemic or local (in-ear) corticosteroids, carbogens, high molecular weight serums, vitamins and diuretics, coenzyme Q can be applied individually or in combination.
Factors affecting the course of the disease can be listed as follows;
- Advanced age
- Concomitant dizziness
- Vascular risk factors
- Presence of metabolic diseases such as diabetes, alcohol and cigarette use
- Late initiation of treatment (after 3 days)
The most important issue in sudden hearing loss is to start treatment as soon as possible. The more time wasted in this disease, the less hopeful there is for a good response to treatment.