Delhi:- A sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL) or sudden deafness occurs after losing hearing over a period of three days. It can happen in one or both ears. There is a surge in the cases of SSHL in the age group 30-60 due to factors such as tumors, head trauma, earwax that gets accumulated in the ear canal, viral infections, and vascular disorders. It is the need of the hour to consult the doctor if one is unable to hear properly.
There are different types of hearing loss that occur owing to the problem with the eardrum, middle ear (hearing bones) or inner ear (cochlea and hearing nerve). SensoriNeural Hearing loss (SNHL) is that which occurs at the inner ear. This can occur progressively or suddenly. While sudden SNHL can occur due to certain medications, age, viral infections, a number of times the cause of sudden sensorineural hearing loss is unknown i.e. idiopathic.
According to the data published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2020, approximately 466 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss and 34 million of these are children. Moreover, by 2050 over 900 million people will have disabling hearing loss. A hearing loss can make a big difference in your life. It can be isolating because there will not be a free-flow of communication.
Dr Sanjiv Dang, ENT Specialist, Apollo spectra Delhi Said, ‘‘Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL) is a common occurrence when one’s inner ear, the cochlea in the inner ear, or the nerve pathways between the ear and the brain tend to get damaged. “Vertigo, viral infections such as mumps, measles, rubella, meningitis, developmental abnormalities, blood circulation problems, neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis, autoimmune diseases, ageing, prescription drugs, and presence of ear wax in the ear canal. The symptoms of it are the inability to hear high-pitched sounds, dizziness, tinnitus, and even balance problems. Also, the majority of cases of sudden hearing loss go unreported as not many people are aware of it and living with this disability. Hearing loss can lead to morbidity. One can recover from it normally within 14 days. Those with severe sudden hearing loss will find it challenging to recover if the hearing loss is present along with vertigo. It will be essential for those with sudden hearing loss to seek appropriate treatment.
Dr Dang added, “If one experiences sudden hearing loss owing to a build-up of earwax in the ear canals, consult a doctor who will remove it and help you to restore the hearing. If the hearing loss is temporary, one will be able to recover with an expert’s guidance. However, if the hearing loss is permanent then one will require hearing aids or even hearing implants such as cochlear. Remember that timely intervention is key to restoring the hearing.”
A cochlear implant is known as an electronic device that can restore useful hearing. It can provide improved communication abilities for children or adults who have severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss (nerve deafness) and who cannot benefit from hearing aids. It offers benefits like hearing speech, environmental sounds, and music. People are able to understand speech without lip-reading and can have interactive conversations over standard and mobile phones. Cochlear implant surgery lasts about two hours and is performed while the patient is under general anaesthesia. Activation of the implant takes place approximately three weeks after implantation after proper healing.
“To prevent hearing loss, do not turn your television or sound system on high volume. Wear ear protectors if you are using noisy equipment such as drills or saws. Take a break from noise at regular intervals. Remove the ear wax properly. Do not go shooting without the proper sort of ear protectors. Explosive noises can damage your hearing instantly. Ensure good control of diabetes and other chronic illnesses. Get your hearing tested if you encounter difficulty in hearing,” concluded Dr Dang.