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Sudden Hearing Loss
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Sudden Hearing Loss

Hi I am in my forties with no medical issues.  Exercise daily, etc.  I woke up early sunday morning with the sound of whooshing in my right ear.  Went back to sleep and woke up couple hours later with my ear screaming and realized that I had lost hearing in my right ear.  Went to the walk in clinic and was told that my nasal passages were clogged and had fluid in my ear.  Placed on allegra and sudafed and was told that if it did not get better prescribed antibotics.  Next day went to ent. By the way slight vertigo had kicked in.  ENT performed hearing test.  Left sign norman and right side complete loss.  We advised of clinic drs. diagnosis of allegra and sudafed. Told to stop and was placed on prednisone and antibotics for ten days.  An MRI was done and came back normal.  On sixth day now, still no hearing and white noise is driving me crazy.  What are my chances of regaining any hearing back and how long.  I go back to ent in a week.  Is there something else that can be done.  Is there a way of telling if there is nerve damage.   HELP!  A response will be greatly appreciated and maybe some relief.
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Are you getting antibiotics, or antivirals? If you don't have a middle ear infection, not sure why they would give antibiotics. Antivirals are sometimes given for sudden hearing loss, on the theory that it's a virus affecting the 8th cranial nerve (the nerve of hearing and balance).

Plus the prednisone, of course, which is really the one treatment considered standard, even though it often doesn't help. Hope you're getting a high starting dose --60 mg? You were SMART to go to an ENT soon. Most PCPs seem to have never heard of sudden hearing loss nor know that it's a MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Unfortunately, sudden hearing loss does not always improve, and they can rarely determine the cause of it (90 percent of the time it remains idiopathic, i.e., of unknown cause).

Keep with the steroids and ask whether you should also be on an antiviral (which is a speculative treatment but they often like to throw everything at you anyway). Some people get steroid shots through the eardrum if the oral prednisone doesn't work. Hopefully you are going back for follow-up soon and another hearing test.

The best experts to treat sudden hearing loss are called neuro-otologists. These are ENTs with extra training and interest in the ear and hearing. You can find lists of them at the American Neurotology Society Web site and also the Vestibular Disorders Association Web site. Don't be afraid to go see a bigger expert even in the middle of your treatment.

If you don't get your hearing back, there are options for single-sided deafness, namely the Baha (bone-anchored hearing system), the TransEar, or the CROS hearing aid. These do not restore hearing, but allow sound coming from your bad side to be routed to the good inner ear on the opposite side. It's too early to think about that, but just so you know that if you don't get your hearing back, most people still function quite well with one good ear, and there are options that you may want to look into.

Make sure your ENT is up on the latest in treatment of sudden hearing loss, much preferably a neuro-otologist, stick with the treatments, and keep your fingers crossed! Good luck!!

Nancy T (sudden left-side hearing loss 10 years ago; very happy camper with my Baha which I got last year!)
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