Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL) – A sudden loss of hearing
What is sudden hearing loss?
A sudden hearing loss is a sudden-onset hearing loss, is usually one-sided, and usually lasts longer than 30 minutes. This is often accompanied by a ringing, so-called tinnitus, on the affected side of the ear. Dizziness is rarely a symptom and is possibly a sign of other disorders in the inner ear or central nervous system.
yYour ear, nose, and throat specialist can determine whether you are really suffering from sudden hearing loss by means of a clinical examination and a hearing test called pure tone audiometry.
Functional disorders that can trigger a hearing loss include cervical spinal stenosis. Recent studies show a direct neural connection between the head and neck joints of the cervical spine and the auditory and equilibrium nerve nuclei in the brainstem. The exact functional meaning of this still puzzles conventional medical doctors. From a manual therapy and osteopathic point of view, however, a phenomenon that has been observed for a long time now can also be explained anatomically. Thus, disturbances in the joint position and in the surrounding muscular structure of the head joints could contribute to hearing loss via the above mentioned connection.
Muscular tension may occur locally due to overload or trauma, or is a symptom of a more remotely-related disorder. For example, an unrecognized pelvic slant may sooner or later lead to muscular tension in the neck and neck area and may cause the symptoms described above.
Due to the aforementioned phenomena, it can also lead to irritation of the autonomic nervous system, which is located in the immediate anatomical proximity to the spine, ribs, and accompanying muscles. An irritation of the autonomic nervous system may, for example, trigger a hearing loss due to its vascular narrowing effect.
Another common problem is teeth grinding, or bruxism. Through a strong nocturnal “biting” or “crunching” numerous tensions build up in the chewing muscles in the head and neck area and can thus be the starting point for pain.
What is involved in diagnosing a sudden hearing loss?
The detection of functional disorders as the cause of a hearing loss or the diagnosis of disturbance fields require special training in manual medicine / chirotherapy, osteopathy, naturopathy and acupuncture. In this way, partially hidden problems can be identified and treated accordingly.
In order to uncover psychological components, a psychologist or psychiatrist is required. Further neurological examinations may also be necessary to clarify all organic causes.
What therapy for sudden hearing loss is performed?
The treatment of a hearing loss is primarily based on the identified causes.
In conventional throat, nose, and ear medicine, therapy is carried out according to the recommended guidelines for high-dose cortisone therapy. This can be done as a tablet, intravenously, or even with a needle into the middle ear.
However, functional disturbances, which occur very often at the same time, are usually completely disregarded. Nevertheless, experience shows that these often occur in parallel and may trigger or even prolong the symptoms of the hearing loss. The appropriate treatment options include manual medicine / chirotherapy, osteopathy, acupuncture and neural therapy.
Numerous psychological and psychiatric services are available for the treatment of internal tensions, anxiety, and disturbances.
Despite numerous diagnostic and therapeutic options, it is not always possible to find a cause and achieve a successful treatment. In the event of permanent hearing impairment after a thorough audit of the hearing function, it is possible to provide hearing aids in order to reduce the functional impairment and restore quality of life.
What can I do on my own if I experience sudden hearing loss?
First of all, it is important to ensure sufficient hydration if there is no kidney disease. This means that at least the recommended daily amount of 1.5 to 2 liters of fluids, or in the case of sudden hearing loss, more should be consumed.
Furthermore, the ears should be protected from noise at the time of the hearing loss and for up to 6 weeks after the symptoms have subsided. Concerts, clubs, or noisy crowds of people etc. should be avoided or only visited with appropriate hearing protection.
In addition, relaxation techniques, such as meditation or muscle-relaxing methods, and heat treatment of tense muscle groups, such as a hot bath, are often beneficial and may reduce triggers.
Finally, it is to be careful not to take medication without consultation with an ENT specialist in order to supposedly influence the situation. Common opinions about so-called “blood thinners” are often wrong. On the contrary, some of these medications may even be a disadvantage, as they damage the inner ear, so they may have ototoxic effects.
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