Sudden Hearing Loss Not To Be Ignored

Sudden Hearing Loss – Not To Be Ignored

by Keith Alexander, MD
Kentucky Ear, Nose & Throat, A Part of Lexington Clinic

You went to bed with normal hearing but woke up with a sensation of a blocked ear and could not hear anything from that ear.  What is going on?

Sudden hearing loss may be the result of wax in the ear or an ear infection.  However, sudden loss of hearing in one ear may signal a much more serious problem – a nerve loss in the inner ear that can potentially lead to permanent deafness in that ear.  Such a condition requires immediate evaluation by an Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) physician and a hearing test called an audiogram.

Most cases of unilateral sensorineural hearing loss can be treated early on with steroids given either by mouth or injection through the ear drum.  The steroids can potentially reverse the inflammation of the hair cells in the inner ear but only if given soon after the onset of hearing loss.

Fortunately, about 60-80% of sudden hearing loss in one ear improves with treatment, usually within the first 60 days.

Other signs of a sudden hearing loss, requiring immediate attention, include ringing or tinnitus in the affected ear, a sense of fullness or a blocked ear and vertigo or a sense of spinning or dizziness.

If you or a relative have a sudden hearing loss, please call (859) 278-1114 to schedule your appointment with our caring and compassionate ENT specialists at Kentucky Ear Nose & Throat. With 4 convenient locations, our ENT doctors, providers and audiologists provide comprehensive care for your family. 

Keith Alexander, MD is board-certified in Otolaryngology. He provides services in adult and pediatric ear, nose and throat disorders, and treats allergy and sinus patients of all ages. He specializes in functional and cosmetic nasal surgery, including rhinoplasty. Dr. Alexander can be reached at (859) 278-1114.

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