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Thread: Sudden hearing loss - my experience SSHL

  1. Default Sudden hearing loss - my experience SSHL

    I'm writing this so that it might be helpful for anyone who has this experience.
    First of all this condition is properly called Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSHL).
    It should be treated as a medical emergency - the equivalent of losing the vision in one eye suddenly (and usually without obvious cause.).

    My Experience:
    About five years ago I awoke on Thanksgiving day with no hearing in my left ear. I could not even perceive a dial tone from a regular phone - at all.
    I went into my Internal Medicine doctor's office on Friday. The ENT clinic was closed but my doctor did a phone consult with the ENT on call. She started me on high dose oral steroids.
    On Monday I had no improvement and I was in the ENT clinic as they opened.The doctor saw me and I had a hearing test. I could perceive no words, at all!(I'll look for my test to post results, and edit this).
    Over the weekend, my wife and I had searched the internet for information. One of the things we saw was a multi-location study, treating SSHL by employing (on the experimental side) the use of steroids injected through the ear drum. The purpose of the study was to look at alternate treatments for SSHL - particularly for those who are at risk or cannot tolerate oral steroids.
    Those who were randomly assigned to the standard treatment regime were given oral steroids.

    I requested that the doctor look at the study and give me the injected steroid treatment. While trained in Cleveland or Cincinnati, he was not familiar with this mode of treatment. He said he would consider it. Meantime I considered going to one of the study sights to enroll - problem being that I could be put in the standard treatment group. I also spoke to the administrators at two of the study sites where I thought I could go and pass the time between treatments.
    The ENT doctor also ordered an MRI - to ensure that I did not have a tumor compromising my auditory nerve or inner ear - none was found.

    The ENT doctor notified me that he had spoken with those doing the study and was willing to treat me with the injected steroids.So, I returned to the ENT clinic on Thursday (one week after onset) and received my first treatment. (Note: I had completed the five day course of oral steroids) By the following Sunday following I was experiencing the return of some of my hearing in that ear - altho' distorted.
    We attended a concert and I had to wear an ear plug in that ear.... also in the grocery store in 'beep!' of the scanner was loud and distorted - disturbing.
    What followed was four additional treatments - two per week for two more weeks. At the end of the treatment my hearing was retested and my left ear tested about where my right ear had tested.

    Subsequently, I heard that the study was suspended because the injected steroids were so much more effective than oral steroids that it was not considered ethical to continue with the 'standard' oral steroid treatment.

    Now five years + later, the tinnitus in my left ear is somewhat worse than my right and my upper range hearing is slightly worse than my right (annoying, tho).

    miscellaneous details:
    I believe that my SSHL was probably due to a virus - about 30 days earlier I had an episode of the type of dizziness/associated nausea that is associated with inner ear problems. It went away (then) over night and I sought no treatment.

    The steroid that I received was only available from one provider in my small area and had a preservative in it that I don't think was in the steroid used in the study. I had about one hour of fairly intense pain after treatment as the steroid dripped down my eustachian tube. Ice packs and over the counter pain killers were a sufficient treatment.

    SSHL happens across the population and is no more present in any specific population by age, gender, etc.

    My doctor uses injected steroids (with patient consent) as his standard treatment for SSHL

    Most GP's and Internists may encounter one or two cases of SSHL in the course of many decades of practising medicine.

    While 'sudden' hearing loss can be plugged ears, plugged eustachian tubes, etc, actual SSHL requires rapid treatment.  Going on an antibiotic, waiting three weeks for an ENT clinic appointment etc is a prescription for permanent hearing loss.
    JimC
    Fairbanks, AK

  2. #2
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    You are fortunate compared to me. I had Meniere's diagnosed but wasn't advised to seek immediate help. The attacks were quite severe but stopped after a few months. It really affected my word recognition. Aids help but it isn't like good hearing. I am glad you found information and a doctor that could help.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by akphonguy View Post
    I'm writing this so that it might be helpful for anyone who has this experience.
    First of all this condition is properly called Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSHL).
    It should be treated as a medical emergency - the equivalent of losing the vision in one eye suddenly (and usually without obvious cause.).

    My Experience:
    About five years ago I awoke on Thanksgiving day with no hearing in my left ear. I could not even perceive a dial tone from a regular phone - at all.
    I went into my Internal Medicine doctor's office on Friday. The ENT clinic was closed but my doctor did a phone consult with the ENT on call. She started me on high dose oral steroids.
    On Monday I had no improvement and I was in the ENT clinic as they opened.The doctor saw me and I had a hearing test. I could perceive no words, at all!(I'll look for my test to post results, and edit this).
    Over the weekend, my wife and I had searched the internet for information. One of the things we saw was a multi-location study, treating SSHL by employing (on the experimental side) the use of steroids injected through the ear drum. The purpose of the study was to look at alternate treatments for SSHL - particularly for those who are at risk or cannot tolerate oral steroids.
    Those who were randomly assigned to the standard treatment regime were given oral steroids.

    I requested that the doctor look at the study and give me the injected steroid treatment. While trained in Cleveland or Cincinnati, he was not familiar with this mode of treatment. He said he would consider it. Meantime I considered going to one of the study sights to enroll - problem being that I could be put in the standard treatment group. I also spoke to the administrators at two of the study sites where I thought I could go and pass the time between treatments.
    The ENT doctor also ordered an MRI - to ensure that I did not have a tumor compromising my auditory nerve or inner ear - none was found.

    The ENT doctor notified me that he had spoken with those doing the study and was willing to treat me with the injected steroids.So, I returned to the ENT clinic on Thursday (one week after onset) and received my first treatment. (Note: I had completed the five day course of oral steroids) By the following Sunday following I was experiencing the return of some of my hearing in that ear - altho' distorted.
    We attended a concert and I had to wear an ear plug in that ear.... also in the grocery store in 'beep!' of the scanner was loud and distorted - disturbing.
    What followed was four additional treatments - two per week for two more weeks. At the end of the treatment my hearing was retested and my left ear tested about where my right ear had tested.

    Subsequently, I heard that the study was suspended because the injected steroids were so much more effective than oral steroids that it was not considered ethical to continue with the 'standard' oral steroid treatment.

    Now five years + later, the tinnitus in my left ear is somewhat worse than my right and my upper range hearing is slightly worse than my right (annoying, tho).

    miscellaneous details:
    I believe that my SSHL was probably due to a virus - about 30 days earlier I had an episode of the type of dizziness/associated nausea that is associated with inner ear problems. It went away (then) over night and I sought no treatment.

    The steroid that I received was only available from one provider in my small area and had a preservative in it that I don't think was in the steroid used in the study. I had about one hour of fairly intense pain after treatment as the steroid dripped down my eustachian tube. Ice packs and over the counter pain killers were a sufficient treatment.

    SSHL happens across the population and is no more present in any specific population by age, gender, etc.

    My doctor uses injected steroids (with patient consent) as his standard treatment for SSHL

    Most GP's and Internists may encounter one or two cases of SSHL in the course of many decades of practising medicine.

    While 'sudden' hearing loss can be plugged ears, plugged eustachian tubes, etc, actual SSHL requires rapid treatment.  Going on an antibiotic, waiting three weeks for an ENT clinic appointment etc is a prescription for permanent hearing loss.
    You were lucky in that you took an active approach in getting what you needed to give you the best shot at regaining your hearing. Unfortunately, many doctors don't consider sudden hearing loss an emergency and give the patient decongestants, oral steroids, etc. and send the patient home. By the time they go to an ENT or are referred to an ENT the damage is done. I have a couple friends who basically lost their hearing in one ear because their doctor didn't take their sudden hearing loss seriously.
    Oticon Agil Pro w/streamer

    -250 500 1000 1500 2000 3000 4000 6000 8000
    L 10--5----10----30---50----70----85---80---80
    R 5--10----20----35---45----85----85--100--100

    SP Disc ------------- SRT
    L 88% @55db ------- L-10
    R 90% @55db------- R-25

  4. #4

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    This happened to me two years ago...woke up with raging tinnitus and no hearing in my left ear. Not one doctor I called would see me or even suggested I go to the ER. On the third day, a Monday, I went to urgent care, where the doctor had experienced the same thing. He put me on high dose of prednisone for about 10 days. Hearing returned but was completely synthetic and artificial hearing. Two additional episodes and then an extreme Meniere's experience. Lost 60% hearing and claritiy in left ear, had three courses of steroid injections into eardrum and hearing loss seemed to stop at that point.

    The many doctors I saw, especially the ENTs, were casual and unworried by my plight. I brought them research, but only when I got uveitis--in addition to episcleritis, did anyone show concern. I guess going blind is worse to them than going dear. My ophthalmologic freaked out (because it was in both eyes, not just one) and only the rheumatologist ran tests and diagnosed me with Cogan's syndrome (autoimmune vasulitis that attacks ears and eyes). I'm now on methotrexate, which has kept my eyes and ear stable.

    I still get Meniere's attacks and worry about further hearing loss and attacks on my other ear.

    I got hearing aids last month (rexton trax 42) and have somewhat improved clarity in left ear (unaided right ear gets 24/25 words/left ear w aid-12/25, but extremely distorted.

    I urge anyone who experiences sudden hearing loss, one- or two-sided, to rush to urgent or emergency care and insist on oral steroids. Follow through carefully with any and all doctors and do not allow yourself to become dear, perhaps unnecessarily, because the doctors are ignorant of and complacent about this condition.
    Robin

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by robink View Post
    I urge anyone who experiences sudden hearing loss, one- or two-sided, to rush to urgent or emergency care and insist on oral steroids. Follow through carefully with any and all doctors and do not allow yourself to become dear, perhaps unnecessarily, because the doctors are ignorant of and complacent about this condition.
    Robin
    I have central serous chorioretinopathy in both eyes which can lead to blurred vision and/or detached retina. Things that aggravate this condition is stress, caffeine, and steroids, so in my case I want my retina specialist by in before taking any steroids. I rather lose my hearing than my site.
    Freq...Left...Right
    250....15....15
    500....10....10
    1000..10....5
    2000..10....10
    3000..20....20
    4000..55....55
    6000..55....70
    8000..40....65

    SRT L/R 15/15

    WRS @65 L/R 100/100

  6. Default

    My story of SSNHL:
    One early morning I woke up with severe vomiting and dizziness. The dizziness was such that going to the attached bathroom was also an issue. Also felt that my left ear was 'blocked'. Initially, went to a general medicine doctor, since at that point of time, vomiting and dehydration was the main concern. When I told the doctor about my ear block, he did not take it seriously and just tested my outer ear and said everything was fine. At this point of time, he did not ask me whether I was able to hear in my left ear. And, I too was not aware that a person with no history of ear infection, could suddenly go deaf in one ear.

    After 2 days when the vomiting and dizziness came under control and I made my first phone call (after 2 days) with my left ear, I realised that I cannot hear anything. Then we rushed to an ENT who was quite useless. By the time I went to the ENT OPD of a good hospital, it was 5 days. The doctor there was good and immediately gave steroid injection directly to my ear and put me on a 10 day oral course. There was slight recovery esp. in the initial days of the steroid treatment. This was a case of sudden senso-neural hearing loss, the cause of which is yet unknown.
    Today after 4 months, my left ear has profound-severe loss, with some tinnitus.

    Shared my story for the benefit of all who are not aware of such sudden problems coming out of the blue, which should be treated as medical emergencies requiring
    attention within 48 hrs. Also that the ear does a lot more than hearing, esp. on maintaining balance of the body.

  7. Default

    this is a good read. not to take away from this but how does inflammation or fluid build up kill our hearing?
    Last edited by doubledown; 05-14-2016 at 11:44 PM.

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