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My hypothesis on underlying cause of SSHL
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My hypothesis on underlying cause of SSHL


I write those comments to relief my own anxiety on earing issue. My problem is that I have a bit of medical background and self-diagnosed my situation as it worsen in real time(but I am not a MD). And I never thought my science classes on earing and neurology would be turned against my own anatomy so rapidly.

First of all I will repeat it again and again until ENTs can hear it; incus dislocation due to head trauma which can be caused by a car,motorcycle accident, physical assault or any fast air flow rushing into the middle can rotate the incus into an unwanted position.

Unfortunately, this situation often passed under the radar as many ENTs CT does not always clearly show the misaligned incus; some papers suggest that a collateral CT can help to see better the rotated bone.

Inner ear damage is definitly the cause of sudden sensironeural hearing loss. But what  is the techinical reason? And more to the point, why is it so rapid? The inner ear and cochlea is sealed from air. If the cochlea can be punctured due to some loud soud  or other reasons, air molecules will penetrate into the inner ear.  

The inner ear contains about 100 hair cells, each them having aroudn 10 hairs, making it a total of  around 10 000 hairs. But those hairs are unlike the ones on top of our head. Their function is to convert  mechanical sound into electrical sound known in physiology as action potential.  

If air, and in particular I suspect oxygen are in contact with those hairs, they can be oxydized and therefore damaged.
I like to compare my own hypothesis to Parkinson disease which I also studied in my class. That particular region of the brain (I forget which) involved with Parkinson and motor function has a number of nerve cells. If more than 50% of those cells die, Parkinson condition will  follow. This has already been documented and is not an hypothesis.

I believe that when a certain "treshold" just like in the case of Parkinson disease is reached in terms of  the  number of those 10 000 hairs  of hair cell damaged, sudden hearing loss occured. This is why it is so sudden; it's because it is treshold driven. Anybody who has done a ph titration in a chemistry lab I think can understand what I mean.

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2 Comments Post a Comment
Avatar n tn
I don't even think a Chemist would understand what you are trying to say....  I don't even understand what you are saying, and I am an audiologist.

You need to really do some more research, you may want to look over this site, it covers cochlear mechanics http://umech.mit.edu/hearing/intro/intro.html

(if memory serves me correct the cochlea has about 32,000 hair cells)

First you state your incus is dislocated, (the incus is located in the middle ear cavity) and then you go on to say you have a sensory neural hearing loss, that would mean cochlear damage, the inner ear.

If you have both a middle ear pathology and an inner ear pathology, then you now have a "mixed" loss.  

Regarding air causing your  causing your inner ear to oxidize...  (do you mean rust)

Regardless, if there was air in the inner ear, this would mean you have a fistula or a "leak" and the fluid would drain out of your cochlea...   sure I guess that would mean that your cochlea is now freely exposed to oxygen....   but that is not half of the problem..    You have to have fluid in your inner ear to hear, period... that is all there is to it.  You have to have the hydrophonic action going on in the inner ear to hear, no fluid no Hydrophonics.

Theoritically, a simple Tympanogram from a machine that costs about 3-15K USD could tell you if you have an ossicular chain disarticulation...  you would not even need a million dollar CT machine....

Any how, there are many theories as to the cause of SSNHL, and I personally accept the "Virus" hypothesis the most. I have seen to many people respond well to anti-viral therapy to deny that there seems to be some vallidity to the theory.
Avatar m tn

Nobody really know how many hairs in the inner ear, some scientist say 15000 some say 16000 ; some say 20000.

The cause of SSHL and recovery is still very much a mystery. 30% will recover fully by itself ; 30% will recover partially and 30 % will never recover with or without immediate medical treatment by the widely used steriods.

Some got it due to stress ; some due to virus ; some due to mini-stroke : the tiny blood vessel broke. There are just too many possibility.

Also no-one can see inside a cochlea yet : so any tool is just guessing what goes wrong or what did not goes wrong. Still it is just guessing.

Let me share broadly the challenges to finding a cure:

1. finding a cure -

a. using stem cell (human ear nerve recently grow in UK Uni lab by Dr. Marcelo N. Rivolta of the University of Sheffield )

b. using gene (injecting turn-on gene and suppressing turn-off gene)
c. brain material (recently discovered)
this is the link for the brain material which can be transplanted to the ear :


2. Delivery of treatment to ear cochlea where damaged ear hair cell is

3. Volunteers

4. Funding.

For 1 , I understand that there are at least 20 to 30 teams of scientists in different countries looking at hearing loss. Perhaps a solution is just round the corner.

For 2, If a potential treatment can be delivered to a guinea pig inner ear , the same technique should be able to be used on human

For 3, I am sure there are plenty of volunteers who will sign a no-liabiliy contract to try out whatever trials there is. I can volunter also.

For 4, with at least 10 million hearing loss (due to nerve damage) sufferers in the developed and developing countries (like US, UK, European countries, Japan, Korea, ), can't we all group up and donate at least $1 each and there will be a working captial of at least $10 m annually ? May be the problem is not lack of funding but the sufferers do not know that the scientists need money and the sufferes do not know how to donate ?

Some one should start something

From : ***@****
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