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Sudden Hearing Loss: By The Numbers

 In Hearing Loss, Sudden Hearing Loss
Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL), or sudden deafness, is a rapid, unexplained loss of hearing that develops suddenly or over a period of several days. The three important statistics below can help shed light on SSHL and what to do if you experience a sudden hearing loss.

1. Various studies estimate that sudden sensorineural hearing loss affects between 5-30 people per 100,000 each year.

Despite these estimates, the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) warns that the number of new cases could be higher because SSHL often goes undiagnosed. For this reason, it is important to see an audiologist and schedule a hearing exam in order to accurately diagnose your hearing loss

2. The NIDCD estimates that only 10 to 15 percent of patients have their sudden sensorineural hearing loss traced to a specific cause.

Dr. Mark Syms explains that the specific causes of SSHL have been studied in the hearing organ of patients who have later passed away. “For a patient in front of me seeking care, I can’t know [the cause] because the only way I would be able to know that is to take the hearing organ out of their head,” he says.

Meaning: the only way this is accomplished is if you’re already dead.

3. The majority of SSHL patients — roughly 9 out of 10 — lose hearing in only one ear.

The only way to accurately diagnose the severity and cause of hearing loss is to have a hearing exam administered.

If you’d like to schedule a comprehensive evaluation by Our Team Of Board-Certified Otologist And Audiologists, Contact The Arizona Ear Center by phone at 602.313.1243, or by email at

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