sudden sensorineural hearing loss

Last reviewed 01/2018

  • sudden sensorineural hearing loss (sudden deafness) (1)
    • a rapid loss of hearing that occurs suddenly or over a period of up to 72 hours
    • a medical emergency
    • can affect anyone
      • common between the ages of 30 and 60
    • causes include
      • infections
      • trauma (e.g.head injury)
      • immunological (e.g.Cogan's syndrome)
      • toxins
      • ototoxic drugs
      • multiple sclerosis
      • Ménière's disease
    • associated features
      • tinitus
      • vertigo (2)
    • investigations
      • audiogram
      • MRI of brain - to exclude acoustic neuroma
      • blood studies - to look for systemic causes
    • diagnosis
      • based on clinical history
      • when there is a loss of at least 30 decibels in three connected frequencies (1)

Reference:

(1)sudden sensorineural hearing loss , National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health

(2)sudden hearing loss, ©American Hearing Research Foundation