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We’ve all had experiences where we couldn’t hear or our hearing has become dampened. You may have gotten water stuck in your ear or maybe your ears didn’t pop after flying on a plane. It is frustrating when you aren’t able to hear, and it can be scary when you can’t hear all of a sudden.

Sudden Hearing Loss in Naples and Estero, FL

Understanding Sudden Hearing Loss

Sudden hearing loss is the decrease and/or loss of hearing that is unexplained with no warning and no apparent reason over the course of 24 hours or less. It occurs in the cochlea (the hearing organ of the inner ear) or in the hearing nerve and never in the middle or outer ear. The most common causes of sudden hearing loss are from viral infections, head trauma, or vascular issues, but may also occur from a stroke, loss of blood flow to the inner ear, or a ruptured membrane in the inner ear. Even more rare are cases of sudden hearing loss from Meniere’s disease, autoimmune inner ear disease, or a tumor of the hearing nerve. 85% of the mild sudden hearing loss cases are treated with steroids and the patient recovers within one to two weeks from the hearing loss. Patients recover because they received immediate medical attention and didn’t delay in receiving care. If sudden hearing loss is not treated promptly, it may result in a permanent loss of hearing.

Recognizing the Signs of Sudden Hearing Loss

Sudden hearing loss may initially be misdiagnosed as an ear infection or wax impaction because the symptoms are similar. To know if your diagnosis is correct or you truly do have sudden hearing loss, pay attention to the following signs that indicate sudden hearing loss and not another reason for hearing loss. (These signs may be subtle at first so be diligent as more symptoms arise.) Sudden hearing loss most often occurs only in one ear and begins with a pop heard or feel like your ear is clogged. Patients that are diagnosed with sudden hearing loss have reported: the feeling of fullness in the affected ear; dizziness and/or vertigo; balance issues; facial weakness and/or numbness; hoarseness and a difficulty in swallowing; and change in taste. If any of these symptoms are present, please seek medical attention as soon as possible. Many people don’t recognize these signs until they wake up in the morning and try to use one or both ears for the first time. Other people don’t recognize their sudden hearing loss until they use the phone and they can’t hear or the conversation is muddled. A quick test is to hum and see if you can hear it in both ears. If you can only hear it in one ear, you have experienced sudden hearing loss.

Causes of Hearing Loss in Naples and Estero, FL

Responding to Sudden Hearing Loss

The best and most effective response to sudden hearing loss is seeking medical attention as quickly as possible. The longer sudden hearing loss goes untreated, the more likely that it will be permanent. On the other hand, prompt medical intervention can increase the chances of successful treatment and recovery. When you receive care for your sudden hearing loss you will most likely first be treated with a common, oral steroid like Prednisone. The steroid will help with the reduction of inflammation and suppress the immune response. If the case is more severe a steroid injection will be administered. If the sudden hearing loss is the result of an impaction, a steroid will not be administered, but will be loosened with oil and then flushed or suctioned out by the doctor. When allergies are the cause of sudden hearing loss decongestants and antihistamines are administered to treat the cause of the allergy. Sudden hearing loss from a viral infection will be treated by administering an antiviral or antibacterial medication. In the 3% of cases of sudden hearing loss that are a result of a tumor the treatment is radiation and or surgery to remove the tumor. In each of these situations, the most effective and efficient way to treat sudden hearing loss is seeking medical attention as soon as possible.

Expert Care at Florida Gulf Coast Hearing Center

Florida Gulf Coast Hearing Center are located in Naples, Estero, and Physicians Regional Hospital in Naples, Florida. We are regularly contacted to provide emergency hearing care when sudden hearing loss occurs. At each of our locations, we have experienced audiologists that are available to test, diagnose, and treat sudden hearing loss. Our experts use the most advanced diagnostic tools to determine the best corrective actions for your sudden hearing loss. The most common treatment options offered by Florida Gulf Coast Hearing Center are: hearing instruments like hearing aids; coccular implants; and corrective surgery. Again, if you have experienced sudden hearing loss, contact us at one of our three locations.