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What Causes Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss?

 In Arizona Ear Center, Ear Health, Hearing Evaluation, Hearing Loss, Hearing Loss Treatment, Sensorineural Hearing Loss, Sudden Hearing Loss, Types of Hearing Loss

What causes sudden sensorineural hearing loss?

This is always the first question that any patient who suffers from a sudden sensorineural (nerve) hearing loss asks at an evaluation.

An essential part of determining what caused the hearing loss is a complete evaluation, including a comprehensive audiologic evaluaton, a history, and a physical examination.  A medical examination is necessary to ensure other diseases or systemic processes are not the cause of the hearing loss.
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Once the cause has been established, the hearing loss is categorized as an idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss.  Idiopathic simply means that the cause is known.

Research studies suggest that 90% of these are caused by viruses and blood supply issues to the ear.

This has been established by harvesting the ear bones of patients who have suffered a idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss. The bone is cut into very small slices and examined under a microscope and these causes have been determined.

Unfortunately, this analysis can only be performed after patient has passed away.  Therefore, the exact cause of an idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss is not knowable to a patient. A patient can donate his or her ear bone for analysis to help advance the understanding of sudden sensorineural hearing loss.

Curious about the sudden hearing loss experience? Visit our YouTube channel and learn about one patient’s journey from sudden hearing loss to the full restoration of his hearing.

What can I do to restore my sudden sensorineural hearing loss?

If you have recently suffered a sudden sensorineural hearing loss, the most important thing you can do to restore your hearing loss is to expeditiously seek hearing health care.

You should undergo a comprehensive audiologic evaluation and an evaluation by a physician who specializes in sudden sensorineural hearing loss. Once the sudden hearing loss has been established, the options for treating the hearing loss include: observation, oral steroids, and transtympanic infusion, and hyperbaric oxygen will be discussed and a collaborative treatment plan will be formulated.

If a cause of the sudden hearing loss is determined, a treatment plan for the underlying cause will be formulated.

To schedule a comprehensive audiologic evaluation and discuss treatment options, please contact Arizona Ear Center by phone at 602.307.9919, or by email at

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