Hearing Loss Symptoms Require Immediate Treatment
Hearing loss is an issue that many individuals experience throughout the course of a lifetime. In most cases, hearing ability is reduced gradually over time until your hearing reaches a level that affects your life. At that time, medical intervention is sought so the quality of life can be maintained or elevated. In some cases, however, marked hearing loss can occur rapidly, either in an instance where you go to sleep with typical hearing and wake up deaf in one ear or when hearing declines rapidly over the course of a few days. Other symptoms such as sudden ringing in your ears or a clogged ear canal could also occur, leading you to wonder when a visit to your physician is warranted. When is hearing loss a medical emergency? Can prompt treatment help you prevent permanent hearing loss?
Sudden Hearing Loss Symptoms
When hearing gradually declines over several years or a lifetime, you sometimes don’t notice the changes until they start having an impact on your everyday life. If you wake up to a sudden hearing loss in one or both ears, it can be frightening and disorienting. Even if the loss takes several days to fully manifest, it’s important to address the issue quickly. This type of hearing loss can be permanent if assessment and treatment are not completed soon after symptoms begin. In some cases, warning signs can occur before the actual loss of hearing, so if you experience any of these symptoms, pay attention to see if the quality of your hearing becomes reduced.
- Sudden, persistent ringing in the ear
- Roaring sound in the ear
- Ear “popping”
- Dizziness accompanying another symptom
Causes of Hearing Loss
In many cases, the cause of sudden hearing loss cannot be determined. If a cause is identified, it can be due to a number of different origins. Sometimes the origin is suspected to viral in nature but not confirmed, while other more obvious causes could include head trauma, autoimmune conditions, circulation issues, or a neurological disease. It’s important to note that a cause is not necessary to pursue treatment. Waiting too long to seek medical attention can lead to permanent loss of hearing, so if you believe you might be suffering from one of these conditions, consult with your physician immediately.
Hearing Loss Treatment Options
Many individuals attempt to “wait it out” after experiencing a sudden decline in hearing in the hopes that hearing will recover in a few days. Sometimes, the cause of hearing loss is a temporary issue that self-resolves. However, since waiting for improvement can lead to permanent damage in some cases, it’s important to seek medical treatment to determine if immediate intervention is needed. Sudden hearing loss should be treated as a medical emergency with a referral to either an ENT specialist, an audiologist, or both. These two types of specialists often work together to develop treatment options for patients with hearing loss. Fortunately, the damage that results from hearing loss that comes on suddenly can often be minimized with prompt treatment. Auditory specialists can determine which type of hearing loss is being experienced and recommend a course of treatment, which could vary from non-invasive medical procedures or medication to surgery and hearing aids.
Hearing loss symptoms may arise as a result of a number of different causes and at any stage of life. When hearing problems occur, it is so important to seek attention as soon as possible, as some hearing loss symptoms may be the result of a medical condition or disease and need to be treated with either surgery or medication.
There are three main types of hearing problems: conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss, and mixed hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is a problem conducting sound waves efficiently anywhere along the passage through the outer ear, the eardrum or the middle ear. Essentially, there exists a blockage that prevents sound from reaching the inner ear. It may be caused by an ear infection, allergy, fluid in the ear from a cold or swimming, impacted ear wax, holes in the eardrum, a benign tumor, head trauma, or even the presence of a foreign body inside the ear. This type of hearing loss is not necessarily permanent and can usually be treated successfully – medically or surgically.
More common is sensorineural hearing loss, or nerve-related hearing loss, which comes from problems of the inner ear. In this case, hearing loss symptoms come from an inability to transmit sound to the brain because the tiny hair cells within the ear are either bent or broken. This prevalent type of hearing loss is due to aging, genetics, exposure to very loud noises, viruses, or head injury. Sensorineural hearing loss cannot be reversed medically. If it is permanent, however, this is where hearing aids can almost always guarantee a quality improvement in hearing.
Let us Help you with Your Hearing Loss Problems
Hearing loss is common, but it doesn’t have to have a negative effect on your lifestyle. If you have gradual hearing loss and want to learn about treatment options, or if you want to learn more about what to do if you or someone you know experiences a sudden loss of hearing, contact Metro Hearing today. Their team of specialists can help you determine the best course of action and get you back on track to the quality of life you deserve. Call Metro Hearing at 602-639-4064