Sudden Hearing Loss
What is Sudden Hearing Loss?
Sudden hearing loss (SHL) is defined as greater than 30 dB hearing reduction, over at least three contiguous frequencies, occurring over a period of 72 hours or less. The condition may appear instantaneously or develop rapidly over a period of a few hours or days. SHL may affect one ear or frequently involve both ears and in many cases (40%) a strange and annoying buzzing sound called "tinnitus" is also reported. The incidence of SHL has been quoted at 5-20 per 1000/people annually however, recent data suggests that number may be 300 per 1000 or more.
What Causes Sudden Hearing Loss?
Causes for SHL may include infectious, circulatory inner ear problems related to disease, or trauma, metabolic, neurologic, toxic, cochlear or other issues. In most patients the cause of SHL remains unknown.
How is Sudden Hearing Loss Diagnosed?
Usually after an emergency referral from a front-line physician, an ENT specialist (Otolaryngologist) will conduct careful patient historical and physical examinations looking for potential infectious causes. In many cases audiograms and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) together with blood studies will be conducted in order to rule out certain diseases or disorders.
A new management paradigm for sudden hearing loss was introduced to Ontario Physicians in 2014 as an insured service under OHIP.
Best Practice Protocol : 3 essential components are:
||Urgent commencement of intratympanic
||An intense short course of hyperbaric oxygen therapy
||A pulse course of systemic steroids.