What causes sudden deafness? 

Sudden hearing loss usually occurs because there is something wrong with the inner ear and its sensory organs. More often than not, sudden hearing loss only affects one ear.

Patients usually notice a decline in their sense of hearing after waking up from a night’s rest or hearing a sudden “pop”. Sudden hearing loss is unexplainable and 10% of the cases have been linked to other illnesses and underlying clinical conditions. 

People who suffer from sudden hearing loss usually put off seeing an audiologist or a doctor thinking that this is just something that will pass - which is a very big mistake.

Sudden Hearing Loss Needs Immediate Attention

Based on recent clinical studies, sudden hearing loss occurs in every 20 out of 100,000 people, and 90% of these affected individuals only experience sudden hearing loss in one ear. Sudden hearing loss may also be a genetic factor, which means that babies and children are also susceptible to this occurrence.

Sudden Hearing Loss: How is sudden deafness diagnosed?

Individuals who suffer from sudden hearing loss need to set an appointment with an audiologist or Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist. You need to get a proper diagnosis to avoid putting your hearing at greater risk of not being able to return back to normal.
Sudden hearing loss may not be a critical medical emergency but doctors recommend that people who notice a sudden decline in their hearing need to undergo hearing tests because the earlier it is attended to, the better the outcome and the higher chance of getting the hearing back to normal.


When learning about a patient’s sudden hearing loss symptoms, a doctor needs to rule out if this is conductive hearing loss, a hearing loss that’s caused by an ear obstruction such as earwax or fluid build-up. For cases of sudden hearing loss without an identifiable or obvious cause, a pure tone audiometry test is carried out. This test is carried out a few days after the onset of sudden hearing loss and may be used to identify sensorineural hearing loss. Pure tone audiometry can also measure the range of hearing that has been lost.

Aside from auditory tests, a doctor may also need to carry out additional tests to try to determine or measure other underlying causes for the sudden hearing loss. These may include imaging - magnetic resonance imaging or MRI, blood tests and balance tests.

limit noise exposure

One way to protect your hearing health is to make sure that you consciously limit the duration and intensity of your noise exposure. If you are exposed to loud or industrial noises in your workplace, make sure to use glycerin-filled earmuffs or plastic earplugs to prevent hearing damage.

Have regular checkups

Regular hearing tests are recommended especially if you work in a noisy environment. If it can be established that you have already lost some of your hearing, you and your doctor can work together to take steps to prevent further hearing loss. Having regular hearing check-ups can also be very helpful in case you experience sudden hearing loss because it will be easier to pinpoint the cause thanks to your updated medical records. If you are in the Springfield, PA area, PA Center for Hearing and Balance is ready to take care of your hearing concerns.

less recreational risks

There are some activities that can damage hearing over time, such as snowmobiling, shooting, hunting, going to rock concerts, using power tools, etc. If you happen to engage in those above mentioned activities, make sure that you wear hearing protectors or take regular intervals from the noise so as not to damage your hearing or be susceptible to sudden hearing loss. 

Sudden hearing loss - A Small Window of Time

When you suffer from sudden hearing loss, you only have a small window of time to get it back.  In an issue published by Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery (August 2019), 66,000 new cases of sudden hearing loss are noted per year in the United States. Case numbers are difficult to confirm because SSHL is prone to be underdiagnosed.

The main reason that most people don’t think that sudden hearing loss is an emergency is because it may just be linked to something more ordinary. However, it is worth noting that medical specialists really emphasize that the delay of diagnosing and treating sudden hearing loss can increase the risk of permanent hearing loss.

Nobody really wants to lose their hearing, especially if it can still be prevented or recovered.An audiologist can diagnose sudden hearing loss and offer possibility for preventing further permanent impairment.  

If you or someone you know is experiencing sudden hearing loss,
waste no time and seek medical attention right away.