Understanding Sudden Hearing Loss

Understanding Sudden Hearing Loss

 

Although most people lose their hearing progressively as a natural part of the aging process, other adults have an entirely different experience. Imagine that one day you woke up with noticeable hearing loss. Some people have this experience in both ears, while others have sudden hearing loss in only one ear. Those who have sudden hearing loss in only one ear might not notice until they try to use that ear to use the phone. Still others might hear a sudden popping sound after which they notice that their hearing is seriously compromised. Some have a feeling of dullness, fullness, or ringing in the ear prior to sudden hearing loss, while others simply lose their hearing without warning.

These experiences of sudden hearing loss are varied, and the causes can be equally varied, as well. In order to better understand sudden hearing loss, let’s take a look at the range of possible causes, diagnosis and treatment, as well as the ways you can prevent sudden hearing loss from happening in the first place.

Causes of Sudden Hearing Loss

The causes of sudden hearing loss are as varied as the experiences mentioned above. The most obvious cause of sudden hearing loss is an injury that affects the ears. These injuries may be caused by an accident or other catastrophic event, but the injury can also happen in terms of exposure to injurious sound. Sound in itself is merely a pressure wave pressing itself against the particles of air, so a very loud blast, explosion, or car crash can create such air pressure that it damages the sensitive features of the inner ear.

Other major causes include infections, either viral or bacterial, and autoimmune diseases can cause sudden hearing loss, as well. Certain drugs have been found to cause sudden hearing loss, particularly those used to treat cancer or other severe infections. Neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, can cause sudden hearing loss, as can disorders of the inner ear, such as Ménière’s Disease.

One fascinating place for further research is the link between circulation and cardiovascular health and the possibility of sudden hearing loss. The organs of the middle and inner ear require adequate blood flow to do their work of hearing, and poor circulation can have an effect on the ability to properly hear. Stress may be a cause of this type of cardiovascular disorder, so stress may be indirectly linked to sudden hearing loss, as well.

The main preventative measures to sudden hearing loss are to wear hearing protection in risky situations and maintain good overall health through diet, exercise, and regular checkups with your primary care physician.

Diagnosis of Sudden Hearing Loss

Although there is a wide range of causes of sudden hearing loss, only about 10 percent of cases can be accurately diagnosed. Many cases of sudden hearing loss are mysterious in origin, and audiologists and hearing specialists are tasked with trying to devise a treatment plan. The first step is to observe the ear itself and make sure there is not an obstruction or visible problem in the outer or middle ear. Pure tone audiometry is the proper examination to discover if a person has suffered sudden hearing loss. If that is the case, the patient will have lost at least 30 decibels in three connected frequencies within a 72-hour period. Many report that other people’s voices have suddenly begun to sound like they are whispering. Those patients who have other symptoms may need other tests to determine the cause of sudden hearing loss and to come up with a treatment plan.

Treatment and Prevention of Sudden Hearing Loss

Sudden hearing loss treatment plans depend both on the cause and on the degree of severity. If the cause is unknown, the most common treatment plan is to administer corticosteroids. With the administration of these steroids, it is crucial to get going right away, ideally within two to four months of the beginning of the incident. If you feel that you have experienced sudden hearing loss, contact us at Hearing Consultants.

Depending on the severity of the condition, digital hearing aids may be a possible treatment plan, and more severe cases or total deafness may even require cochlear implants to assist the remaining hearing. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Great Things to Hear This Holiday Season in Cincinnati

Great Things to Hear This Holiday Season in Cincinnati

Take some time during the hustle and bustle of the holidays to meet with family and friends and enjoy the season. Its not all about presents – its about making lovely memories. At Hearing Consultants, we want you to stay connected to family, friends and the sights and sounds of the season – which is the reason you should take care of your hearing health. Here are some of our favorite activities to consider this holiday season.

Santaland – Holiday in Lights

various performances and events – Dec. 1 – Dec. 23
Sharon Woods/Sharon Centre
First, there’s more than a mile of spectacular holiday lights including 120 moving holiday themed figures from Jolly Saint Nick to depictions of the 12 days of Christmas. Drop in to the Sharon Centre where Santa’s elves have created a winter wonderland including lots of family friendly entertainment, a holiday train display, sweets, a selfie holiday photo-op area and, of course, gift options. Check out Everette Green, the talking Christmas tree, enjoy performances of the Dickens Carolers and there will also be performances of Ebenezer Scrooge.

PNC Festival of Lights

Dec. 1- Jan. 1
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
Voted Best Zoo Lights in the USA, this year the zoo tries to outdo last year’s set up. Enjoy the “Wild Wonderland” which includes 3 million (yes, you read that right – 3 million) LED lights, and a black-light puppet show. There’s a Wild Lights Show on Swan Lake, you can ride the BB&T Toyland Express Train Ride, hear a story from Mrs. Claus, write Santa a letter at the Holiday Post office and find the hidden fairies in Fairyland. All this in addition to the 22 larger than life Animal Lanterns throughout the zoo AND the new indoor Gorilla World exhibit is open!

The Nutcracker

Dec. 13 – 24
Music Hall
Recognized by the community as one of Cincinnati’s favorite traditions, the Cincinnati Ballet once again presents the charming Christmas tale set to Tchaikovsky’s beloved musical score. Take a journey with Clara and her Nutcracker Prince to the Land of Sweets where the Sugar Plum fairy will shower you with treats and celebrations. Gorgeous sets, memorable costumes and a chance for photo opportunities with the Snow Queen and Nutcracker 35 minutes prior to the start of each evening show in Corbett Tower.

A Christmas Carol

Dec. 13 – 29
Marx Theatre
Hundreds of costumes and thrilling special effects make this one of the Playhouse’s most popular productions. A Christmas Carol is the story of ultimate redemption. Four ghosts show Ebenezer Scrooge its never too late to change your miserly ways – just in time for Christmas.

Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and Then Some!)

Dec. 14 – 30
The Otto Budig Theater
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company brings back their holiday smash hit by Michael Carleton, James Fitzgerald and john K. Alvarez. Directed by Jeremy Dubin, this begins as an annual production of “A Christmas Carol” and evolves – or devolves as the case may be – into an irreverent look at all the beloved holiday classics including “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Frosty the Snowman,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “It’s a Charlie Brown Christmas.”

The Ghosts of Christmas Eve

Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Dec. 14
US Bank Arena
Here’s to a rock ‘n roll holiday. Enjoy this production which revolves around a runaway who finds shelter in an abandoned theater on Christmas Eve. She experiences ghostly musical performances from the theater’s past. Powerful storytelling interlaced with presentations of Christmas favorites including “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and “O Holy Night” along with some original Christmas songs.

Amahl and the Night Visitors

Dec. 21 – 23
Xavier University – Gallagher Student Center Theater
Music, miracles and some mischief all come together in the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra’s performance of Gian Carlo Menotti’s Christmas chamber opera Amal and the Night Visitors. This is the tale of the shepherd boy Amahl, his mother and their life-changing encounter with the Three Wise Men. We’ve got opera singers, Pones Inc. dancers, Madcap puppet and a full choir.

Winterfest

Dec. 1 – 31
Kings Island
Holiday shows, carolers in traditional costumes, shops with holiday gifts and decorations. The park is transformed into a land of enchanting productions and events including ice skating on the Royal Fountain, the transformation of the Eiffel Tower into a truly magical 314 foot Christmas tree, millions of lights and dozens of holiday characters including Jack Frost, the Sugar Plum Fairy and Candy Cane. Listen to Blitzen’s Brass Band, go to a Build-A-Bear workshop, check out the Peanuts characters in Charlie Brown’s Christmas Town and attend one of the performances of Charlie Brown’s Christmas Spectacular. It’s an upbeat Broadway style show that is sure to get you in the Christmas spirit.

Visit us at Hearing Consultants

We wish you a happy and joyous holiday season. Enjoy your time with family and friends and make some spectacular memories. And don’t miss a minute of the sights and sounds – we’re here for you so schedule your hearing evaluation and stay connected to the sounds of the holidays.