Hearing loss usually occurs suddenly and unexpectedly. In most cases, one ear is then affected by the sudden hearing loss. The signs of this disease are hearing loss or even deafness, dizziness and ringing in the ears (tinnitus). The causes are circulatory disorders, which can be triggered primarily by stress and smoking.
What is hearing loss?
According to abbreviationfinder, hearing loss usually occurs suddenly and manifests itself through clear symptoms. Those affected perceive a sudden hearing loss, which can go as far as deafness.
A sudden hearing loss is an illness in which the affected person suddenly hears either nothing or only very little. The extent can be quite different and range from only slightly reduced hearing to complete deafness. Usually only one ear is affected; one rarely hears anything in both ears.
Accompanying symptoms such as ringing in the ears or a dull feeling in the ear are not uncommon with this disease. Around 30 percent of patients also experience dizziness. In Germany, around 16,000 people suffer from sudden hearing loss every year; This disease is one of the most common ear diseases. Incidentally, people between the ages of 50 and 60 are most commonly affected. In children, on the other hand, this disease is rather rare.
In most cases, however, hearing returns on its own within 24 hours.
The most common cause of sudden hearing loss is assumed to be a circulatory disorder in the inner ear. In this inner ear are the so-called hair cells, which are responsible for hearing. These send sounds to the auditory center in the human brain via the auditory nerve. Small blood vessels are responsible for the oxygen and nutrient supply in these hair cells.
However, if these are not supplied with sufficient blood, the hair cells are also impaired in their function and sudden hearing loss can be the result. Small blood clots are often responsible for this disease. Since these are similar to the blood clots in a heart attack, it is also referred to as an inner ear infarction. Elevated blood lipid levels can lead to such blood clots, and excessive consumption of nicotine can of course also lead to sudden hearing loss.
Even fluctuations in blood pressure or certain diseases of the human heart often lead to sudden hearing loss. In rare cases, tumors trigger this disease.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
Hearing loss usually occurs suddenly and manifests itself through clear symptoms. Those affected perceive a sudden hearing loss, which can go as far as deafness. This is accompanied by a dull feeling of pressure in the ear and unusual ringing in the ears. A hearing impairment, in which certain sounds are perceived distortedly, can also set in. The hearing problems are usually limited to one ear.
The hearing problems can cause dizziness, nausea and occasionally vomiting. The hearing loss itself rarely affects all hearing. Those affected often only perceive individual pitches worse, while other pitches are perceived as before. So-called double hearing is also typical of sudden hearing loss.
The same sound is perceived differently in both ears – in one ear, for example, the high tones are distorted or tinnitus occurs, while only a slight hearing loss is noticed in the other ear. These hearing problems sometimes have a significant impact on the quality of life and well-being of those affected.
Especially with longer-lasting complaints, psychological complaints, up to and including depression, often set in. Depending on the cause, other symptoms can occur, such as earache, which occurs primarily in connection with arteriosclerosis and coagulation disorders.
course of the disease
Hearing loss usually occurs suddenly and without warning. However, in most patients, symptoms disappear almost as quickly as they appeared. Nevertheless, a doctor should be consulted at the first signs, as the chances of recovery from this disease are the better the earlier treatment is started. If the appropriate therapy is given just a few hours after the first symptoms appear, the chances of recovery are at least 80 to 90 percent.
The patient suffers from a severe impairment of the quality of life due to sudden hearing loss. There is a very sudden loss of hearing, resulting in hearing loss or, in the worst case, direct deafness. Many people experience a panic attack when they suddenly come on. Furthermore, there are also various noises in the ear, which can lead to sleep disorders and general irritability.
Those affected suffer from circulatory disorders, dizziness and stress. As the disease progresses, the patient may faint and injure himself. If the patient suffers from complete hearing loss, depressive moods and other psychological complaints can develop. Young people in particular suffer greatly from the symptoms of sudden hearing loss.
The treatment takes place with the help of infusions that stimulate blood circulation. There are no further complications. However, it cannot be predicted whether the treatment will lead to an improvement in symptoms. In most cases, however, the disease progresses positively without complications. If there is an infection in the ear, antibiotics are usually used to treat it.
When should you go to the doctor?
If there is a complete sudden hearing loss, that is, one ear or maybe even both ears are completely deaf, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible. It’s important to remain calm, as stress can make symptoms worse.
If the hearing is only muffled, it is initially sufficient to allow yourself rest, drink a lot and avoid alcohol and smoking. Most of the time, the symptoms will go away on their own. If this is not the case, or if the symptoms even worsen, then it is advisable to consult a doctor. Even 48 hours after a suspected sudden hearing loss, a doctor’s visit is sufficient, since it can still be treated. First of all, a visit to the family doctor is recommended, who will make an initial diagnosis and then, if necessary, refer you to an ear, nose and throat specialist. Often there is no sudden hearing loss, but the ear is clogged with dirt or too much earwax, so that hearing is impaired.
Treatment & Therapy
All symptoms that indicate sudden hearing loss should be treated immediately by a doctor, because the faster this disease is recognized, the better the chances of recovery. On the other hand, if symptoms such as sudden hearing loss, ringing in the ears or dizziness are ignored, the worst that can happen is deafness that can no longer be treated.
The attending doctor will first perform an ear examination, the so-called otoscopy, to rule out injuries to the eardrum. The extent of the hearing loss is then determined with special hearing tests.
In the further therapy for the diagnosis of sudden hearing loss, it is now important to ensure that the inner ear is supplied with sufficient blood again – infusion therapy is usually used here. For a period of about 14 days, the patient receives a drug once a day through the veins that thins the blood. Drugs to expand the blood vessels are also often administered in the event of sudden hearing loss. Cortisone preparations, in turn, help against the inflammation in the ear that occurs with sudden hearing loss.
Aftercare for sudden hearing loss depends on the severity of the event and its possible consequences. A mild sudden hearing loss that has resolved spontaneously and completely usually requires less follow-up care than one that was severe and caused hearing loss or tinnitus. The causes of the sudden hearing loss are also crucial.
If stress has been identified as the reason for the sudden hearing loss, the follow-up care must be designed differently than with dehydration. Therefore, the aftercare is specific and should ideally be discussed with the doctor treating you, for example the ENT doctor, or even a hearing aid acoustician. Drinking a sufficient amount is always advisable to support blood circulation in the body and in the areas affected by sudden hearing loss.
Water and tea are best. Alcohol and caffeine, especially in large quantities, are not recommended, as is the consumption of nicotine. Medications that could be related to the sudden hearing loss should be critically questioned together with the doctor to determine whether they are necessary. Stress as a trigger for sudden hearing loss must be reduced step by step as best as possible in order to prevent a recurrence. Autogenic training, progressive muscle relaxation according to Jacobsen and yoga can also help here. If hearing problems are present after the sudden hearing loss, these are best discussed with the qualified hearing care professional.
You can do that yourself
If a sudden hearing loss is suspected, an ENT doctor should be consulted immediately in order to avoid permanent damage. Some factors favor this form of the disease, which can be eliminated or at least reduced by those affected themselves. These include smoking and any form of stress.
With the help of medically supervised therapy, smoking cessation can be completed if the patient is willing to do so. Reducing stress is often more difficult because several factors interact. First and foremost, it should be checked whether there is stress due to strong noise pollution. Those affected would now have to consider in the next step whether and how this can be reduced.
In order to protect the body from a relapse even after the hearing aid has been treated, it is important to strengthen the immune system. This should be achieved through a healthy lifestyle (abstaining from alcohol and nicotine) and a balanced diet. If the body is sufficiently supplied with minerals and vitamins, it can heal inflammation itself. Those affected should also choose options for active stress reduction. Exercises such as yoga or Chi Gong as well as autogenic training or progressive muscle relaxation according to Jacobsen are suitable for this. Courses are held in sports centers or physiotherapyoffered. The exercises learned can then be easily incorporated into everyday life.
In the acute stage, coconut oil can be used as a substitute for a cortisone preparation. This also has an anti-inflammatory effect, but does not cause any undesirable side effects.