Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSHL) Or Sudden Deafness – Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment

Ranjeet KumarReviewed by Mr. Ranjeet Kumar Sr. Audiologist, Speech Therapist & Cochlear Implant Specialist, BASLP on Apr 27th, 2020 written by Editorial Team

Hearing loss is a condition in which a person loses the ability to hear anything at all. And this condition can be different from people to people. This condition started from mild, which can become severe if left untreated and can be ended up profoundly to Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSHL).

Mild hearing loss is a condition where the sufferer finds it difficult to keep up with soft conversations in noisy or loud environments/surroundings. Severe hearing loss is a kind of severe deafness in which a person is not able to hear loud speech without the usage of hearing aids.

Profound hearing loss is a condition where the sufferer is not being able to hear even with the usage of hearing aids. Sudden hearing loss is an unexpected or quick loss of hearing suddenly. The reason behind sudden hearing loss varies from causes to causes.

You can purchase the latest hearing aids at a fair price through HearingSol, If you have any query regarding Hearing Loss, feel free to call us at +91-9327901950. We are always here to help you.

Sudden sensorineural hearing loss is the same condition as sudden hearing loss which we are going to discuss in this article.

What Is SSHL?

Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSHL) is a quick loss of hearing either in one ear or both ears. SSHL can be happened due to exposure to loud noises or there are many other cases.

It can be temporary or permanent. SSHL occurs because of damage to the sensory organs of the inner ear.

It is an acute disorder. There is a loss of 30dB(decibels) in SSHL. The normal range of human hearing is 30 to 60 dB. If there is a loss of 30dB in SSHL the conversation sounds like a whisper to the patient.

SSHL is a disorder that requires proper treatment and medical care. More than half of the affected people with unilateral SSHL recovers within 1 or 2 weeks if they get the right treatment on time.

Sudden hearing gets worse if not get treated in time and even results in hearing loss. As it is an era of a technology the hearing aids and cochlear implants can help patients to improve their hearing problems.

Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss Causes

The main cause of SSHL is not specific. There are several causes for SSHL which include:

1. Acoustic Neuroma

Acoustic neuroma is also known as vestibulocochlear nerve, vestibular schwannomas, or neurilemmoma. The acoustic neuroma helps in connecting the brain to the inner ear.

There are two different parts of acoustic neuroma. One part forwards the sound and the other one sends balance information from the inner ear to the brain.

Symptoms of the acoustic neuroma are ringing in the ear called tinnitus, sudden loss of hearing, and fullness of ear. Surgical treatment is the only way to get rid of it if the tumor is large.

2. Head Injury or Trauma

Head injury is a kind of injury to your brain skull or scalp. The severe head injury called trauma. Following are two types of head injury:

  • Closed head injury in which the skull of the sufferer does not break.
  • Open head injury in which the skull of sufferer breaks and causes damage to the brain.

Symptoms of head injury might be nausea, headache, spinning sensation, vomiting, and many more. The treatment done by the doctor will be based on your head injury.

3. Menier’s Disease

Meniere’s disease occurs in the inner ear. It generally affects one ear. It causes pain and pressure in the ear due to excess fluid. The other cause can be dizziness, vertigo, and tinnitus.

The symptoms can be hearing loss in the affected ear, headaches, nausea, and many more. It can be treated by medicines, physical therapies, surgery, and hearing aids.

4. Lyme Disease

Lyme diseases are the disease that is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacteria can be transferred to humans by a bite of an infected black-legged or deer tick.

The tick got infected by eating infected deer or mice. To transfer the infection in the human body a tick has to present on the skin for 24 hours to 48 hours.

Symptoms occur in 3 stages. In the first stage, there is a rash on the infected area. After that in stage 2, there will be fever, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, and many more.

Last but not the least 3rd stage, there will be severe headaches, difficulty in concentrating, arthritis, and many more.

Early treatment is best and can be treated with antibiotics. Doxycycline for adults and children who are older than 8 years old. Cefuroxime and amoxicillin for adults, younger children, and women who are pregnant.

Other symptoms can also be seen as blood circulation problems, aging, trauma, Cogan syndrome, etc.

5. Congenital SSHL

These types of hearing loss are common in infants or babies:

  • Congenital Rubella Syndrome – It is the virus transferred to the baby during pregnancy. It can be controlled using the MMR or MMRV vaccine.
  • Cytomegalovirus – The most common cause of congenital sensorineural hearing loss in children. It is a viral infection that causes due to infected body fluids such as saliva or urine. As soon as the infants came into contact with fluids they are easily transmitted.
  • Toxoplasmic – It is a type of parasitic diseases. It can cause congenital sensorineural hearing loss to the fetus in the womb.

Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss Symptoms

Symptoms of the SSHL includes:

1. Dizziness

Dizziness is the feeling of being a weak and unbalanced body. The nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain if it stops functioning causes dizziness. Most of the people feel dizziness like an annoyance in the inner ear.

2. Tinnitus

It is the term that is referred to the ringing, buzzing, whistling in the ears that cause damage to the inner ear. In this disorder, the sound produced from inside of your body, not from the external source.

There are different causes for tinnitus such as exposure to loud noise, earwax, and many more and there are different therapies available to treat tinnitus.

3. Balance Problems

Balance problems are similar to dizziness. In balance problems, you feel like you are spinning while you are standing still. Symptoms of balance problems are blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and many more.

It can cause inner ear problems, head injury, Blood pressure problems, arthritis, and many more things. It can be treated with medicine as well as with surgery.

Diagnosis of Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss

There are various ways to diagnose SSHL which include:

1. Otoscopy

In otoscopy, the external canal of the ear canal is examined. The instrument which is used in otoscopy is otoscope.

This device helps doctors to see directly into the ear canal. It uses the light to see clearly into the ear. It examines the external ear, middle ear, and eardrum.

2. Tympanometry

Tympanometry is a process of examining the condition of the middle ear and movement of the eardrum. It also checks the variations of air pressure in the external canal.

The test helps in recognizing the conductive hearing loss. The result of the tympanometer is called a tympanogram.

3. Audiometry

Audiometry uses the Pure Tone Audiometry(PTA) hearing test. The test can distinguish between the conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss, and mixed hearing loss.

PTA charts the hearing sensitivity for a standard frequency which lies between 250 and 8000Hz. PTA also charts for the high frequency which ranges from 8000 to 20000Hz. The result of audiometry is known as an audiogram.

4. MRI

MRI is abbreviated as Magnetic Resonance Imaging. It is used to plot the image of a body part in detail. MRI is used for congenital hearing loss.

It is used to diagnose the inner ear when there is an alteration in the shape of the inner ear or damage to hair cells. They are also used to recognize the tumor, damage to hearing loss due to bacterial infection.

Treatment of Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss

The sudden hearing loss is treated by the ENT specialist. To treat it effectively is to get treatment as soon as possible. Some common treatments include:

1. Circular Medication

In this procedure, the inner ear’s blood circulation is decreased. The required nutrients are supplied by the blood. If blood circulation is impaired than it damages the hair cells of the ear permanently.

The blood circulation of the inner ear can be treated with circular enhanced medication.

2. Local Anesthesia

Procaine and lidocaine are the two local anesthesia. If sudden deafness occurs than these two local anesthesia is used simultaneously to treat sudden deafness.

In this, administration blocks nerves that leads to vascular constriction. Treatment should be done by concerned doctors.

3. Hearing Aids

Sometimes sudden deafness causes permanent hearing loss. In this, there is permanent damage to the hair cells. Treatment of permanent hearing loss is hearing aids that help the individual to hear the noise around it.

4. Oxygen Pressure Chamber

Another name of the oxygen pressure chamber is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. The treatment is done when suggested by the doctor. It is not an effective way to treat sudden deafness.

5. Dialysis

Dialysis is done for severe cases. It is used to clean the blood of a whole body and circulate it. Another name is heparin-induced extracorporeal LDL precipitation(H.E.L.P).


If sudden deafness occurs. Don’t panic!. Concern your doctor as soon as possible. Based on your reports, you will get the best suitable treatment.

Get the treatment early for better results. Hearing aids are best for those who have hearing-related issues. I hope you like the article on sudden sensorineural deafness.

You can purchase the latest hearing aids at a fair price through HearingSol, If you have any query regarding Hearing Loss, feel free to call us at +91-9327901950. We are always here to help you.

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