Sudden Deafness

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sudden Deafness/Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) happens when there is damage to tiny hair cells in the cochlear and/or the auditory nerve. In children, the most common causes of SNHL include inner ear abnormalities, genetic variations, jaundice (or a yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes), and viral infection from the mother during pregnancy. In adults, SNHL is most commonly caused by aging, exposure to loud noises, head trauma, or other conditions.

Symptoms of SNHL may include:

  • Muffled hearing
  • Difficulty understanding speech
  • Sudden or steady loss of hearing
  • Full or “stuffy” sensation in the ear
  • Ringing in the ear
  • Dizziness

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy  (HBOT) involves breathing pure oxygen in a specially designed chamber and it is sometimes used as a treatment to increase the supply of oxygen to the ear and brain in an attempt to reduce the severity of hearing loss and tinnitus.

If you are experiencing Sudden Deafness/Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SNHL), you should see an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) specialist who can make the correct diagnosis.

Your ENT specialist may recommend specific treatment options based on the results of your hearing test (Audiometry test), or other potential tests such as a X-Ray, CT or MRI imaging scan.