Sudden Deafness

Also known as: sudden hearing loss, SSHL, sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL).

What is sudden deafness?

When a person’s hearing becomes reduced by 30 decibels or more over the course of 72 hours or less, the condition is known as sudden deafness. It can range in severity and be caused by a variety of different medical conditions or other factors.
 

What causes sudden deafness? 

Underlying medical conditions such as Meniere’s disease, infections or neurological disorders, among many others, can contribute to sudden deafness. Injuries, infections or ear damage from loud noises are other potential causes. Often the cause is unknown.
 

What are the symptoms of sudden deafness? 

Along with the sudden hearing loss, people with sudden deafness may experience ringing in the ears, dizziness or a loud popping sound right before their hearing disappears. Some people recover their hearing spontaneous after a few weeks, while others do not.
 

What are sudden deafness care options? 

Medications known as corticosteroids are effective at treating sudden deafness in many people. Other cases of sudden deafness can be helped by treating the underlying illness that led to sudden deafness.

Reviewed by: Yamilet Tirado, MD

This page was last updated on: 2/1/2018 8:48:58 AM

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Dr. Yamilet Tirado is employed by Pediatric Specialists of America (PSA), the physician-led multispecialty group practice of Nicklaus Children’s Health System. She is a pediatric otolaryngologist/ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist within the Division of Otolaryngology and sees patients at Nicklaus Children's Hospital and the Nicklaus Children's Aventura Care Center.