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Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSHL)

 In Arizona Ear Center, Ear Health, Hearing Loss, Sensorineural Hearing Loss, Types of Hearing Loss

Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSHL) is defined as a rapid onset over three days of a subjective sensation of hearing impairment in one or both ears.

Sensorineural hearing loss indicates an abnormality of the cochlea, auditory nerve or higher aspects of the central auditory perception or processing.

The most common used definition from a hearing test point of view is a greater than 30 dB change in at least three consecutive frequencies on the hearing test. Often times a prior hearing test is not available, so comparison to the opposite ear is used.

A sudden sensorineural hearing loss is defined as an idiopathic SSHL (relating to or denoting any disease or condition that arises spontaneously or for which the cause is unknown.) when there is no identified cause after appropriate investigations.

Up to 90% of SSHL are idiopathic at the time that they occur and are presumed to be caused by either a vascular problem or a viral problem.

A confirmed sudden SNHL is considered an emergency and one should pursue an evaluation and possible treatment as soon as possible.To learn more about SSHL and our evaluation and treatment processes, continue reading: “Audiometric Confirmation of Idiopathic 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.

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 602.307.9919, or by email at

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