Aa
Aa
A
A
A
Close
Avatar universal

Sudden Hearing Loss SSNHL

This is not so much a question as it is a case story.  There may be many others like this but I thought that it might be helpful to those looking for answers to SSNHL.

I have waited to write my SSNHL story until the results were complete, or nearly complete, so that I didn't leave anyone wondering how it turned out for me.  My sudden hearling loss began 5 weeks and 2 days ago.  I was walking down a city street while on vacation and the traffic began to sound distorted, somewhat tinny and rather irritating.  Within 4 hours I went from full hearing to virtually no hearing in my left ear.  Prior to the loss my ear began to feel plugged up.  I thought that it was the start of a sinus infection like I have had for each of the 4 previous years.  My eustachian tubes tend to get plugged and I have experienced a very plugged feeling before, but this was different in that my hearing disappeared.   On the way home from vacation I called the ENT specialist that I had visited 5 months earlier for my sinus condition.  At that visit I had a hearing test done to make sure that my sinus issues were not the sign of a hearing condition, so the ENT office had a baseline of where my hearing was at before the hearing loss began.  They scheduled an appointment for me on a Thursday but later called back and said that I had better get in asap, and got me in on a Wednesday, 2 days after the SSNHL began.  The ENT doctor started me on an oral steroid (Prednisone) immediatedly. She told me that ther was a 1 in 3 chance of full recovery, a 1 in 3 chance of partial recovery and a 1 in 3 chance of no recovery.  She said that there was about an equal chance of improvement from the oral steroid as with the ear-injected steroid.  I was on 60mg/day of Prednisone for 5 days, then tapered down 10mg/day for another 4 days.  I found a good app to check my hearing called 'Hearing Test' and monitored my hearing level daily.  During that first week while on the Predisone there was very little progress.  The tones that I could hear needed to be at the 65dB - 70dB level and they were very distorted.  An amplified voice was not recognizable due to the distortion.  On my visit to the specialist one week later, the hearing test at the office was consistent with my app test; a very slight improvement.  At that point the doctor started the steroid injections into my middle ear.  I beleive that the steroid was called Dexamethasone.  She said that her patients have usually responded well to the injections.  She was right.  During week 2 my hearing improved about 30dB, I could start to hear sounds in the 25dB - 30dB range and the distortion was much improved.  I could understand voices again but there was still some distortion at the low frequencies.  Also, 250Hz sounded like a higher frequency in my left ear than in my good right ear.  I got my 2nd steroid injection on the 3rd visit and I again experienced a gradual but steady improvement over the 3rd week.  At the end of that week my hearing improved by another 10dB.  The distortion was gone at this point and I could understand all the voices and words during the hearing test at this visit.  The doctor was very pleased with my progress.  I got my 3rd and final steroid injection on that 4th visit to the doctor.  During the 4th week the improvemnt was much less but there was a small improvement.  Today I had my weekly visit to the doctor again.  My hearing in my left ear improve another 5dB - 10dB and she said that it is almost at the point where it was when it was tested 6 months ago before this all started.  I thought that I wasn't quite back to normal yet because my left ear is not quite up to the level of my right ear but apparently my right ear was a little better than my left before the hearing loss.  
The only explanation that the ENT doctor had for my sudden hearing loss was a viral infection in the inner ear.  Although I read that the frequency of occurence is about 20 out of every 100,000 per year, she said that there has been an abundance of cases in the area this spring.  She said that spring and fall are the peak seasons for this type of virus occurring.  Apparently there is nothing that a person can do to avoid this virus, including wearing stocking hats or ear plugs when the weather is cold and windy.  It is more common in older adults.  She has never had a patient with SSNHL under age 40, however I recently spoke to a woman who had a similar virus called Labrythitis at age 18.  As for the chances of degree of hearing recovery it seems that the only thing that helps is early treatment.  Getting treated within the first week is very important, however even with early treatment people have had no recovery, sorry to say.  For me the injections of Dexametasone were very effective but I have also talked to someone who had full recovery from only taking the oral steroid.  While I was under the treatment I took two additonal things that might have helped me.  I took a vitamin B complex 2 or 3 times a day for nerve health.  I also took 2 heaping teaspoons of tumeric per day.  My family doctor once told me about the anti-inflammatory protperties of tumeric so I thought that it could help to reduce the swelling in my inner ear.  I can't prove that either of these helped one bit but they didn't hurt.  I must admit that suprisingly, I had no stiffness the next day after bending over my car engine for a couple of hours to replace a fan belt last weekend.  At age 62 I usually am stiff the next day after that kind of work.  I may keep taking the tumeric.  It tastes horrible but goes down okay mixed in orange juice.
So that is my experience with SSNHL.  You might say that I was one of the lucky ones to get near full recovery (although I would call it the Lord's grace toward me and answer to prayer).  For those that have had no or very little recovery from SSNHL, I empathize with you.  It must be very discouraging.  However, I have talked to a few people in this category and they have learned to compensate for the hearing loss in one ear and are functioning virtually as they were before.  The one thing that was bothersome to me while I was without hearing in my left ear was that I did not have the ability to locate where the sounds were coming from.  
0 Responses
Have an Answer?

You are reading content posted in the Hearing Loss Community

Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Think a loved one may be experiencing hearing loss? Here are five warning signs to watch for.
Discover the common causes of and treatments for a sore throat.
Learn about what actually causes your temperature to spike.
Find out which foods you should watch out for.
Family medicine doctor Enoch Choi, MD helps differentiate between the common cold and more threatening (bacterial) infections
Dr. Steven Park reveals 5 reasons why breathing through your nose could change your life