Shortly after experiencing sudden hearing loss, your doctor will want to focus on reducing some risk factors – such as obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and diabetes. You’ll also need to take steps to ensure the reduction of stress in your personal life. If your sudden hearing loss began more than a year ago, the only option left is to alleviate it with the help of hearing aids.
However, the earlier you start treatment, the better the prognosis. In a best-case scenario, you would see an ENT doctor within the first 24 hours and get help right away. Treatment for sudden hearing loss involves stimulation of inner ear circulation and the elimination of possible triggers. Other forms of treatment include:
Circulation-enhancing (rheological) medication
In the event of sudden hearing loss, the inner ear’s blood circulation is reduced or impaired. Blood supplies the inner ear with required nutrients, and if circulation is inhibited, the sensory hair cells of the ear are permanently damaged. Circulation can be improved with circulation-enhancing medication, which can also include cortisone to prevent any swelling (anti-edema treatment).
Local anesthesia to block inhibited nerves
Local anesthetics like procaine and lidocaine are frequently used by a medical professional to treat sudden hearing loss. These anesthetics block nerves that potentially lead to vascular constriction.
Sudden hearing loss causes permanent damage to cells in your ears, which could potentially lead to permanent hearing loss. Hearing loss that is combined with tinnitus should be treated with hearing aids that generate a soft noise to distract the individual experiencing tinnitus symptoms. This function is referred to as a ‘noiser’ and is ideal for very quiet hearing environments.
For particularly severe cases
Dialysis (apheresis) is performed if the sudden hearing loss is particularly severe because during dialysis, the blood is cleansed of coagulation-promoting substances. This drastically improves blood flow and circulation, which helps alleviate sudden hearing loss.
In the event of obesity and/or diabetes
Treating arteriosclerosis (the build-up of fats, cholesterol, and other substances in and on artery walls) is extremely important. Lifestyle changes are also necessary to treat sudden hearing loss, including: weight loss (a low-fat diet and exercise), adjustment of blood sugar levels, as well as avoiding nicotine, coffee, and alcohol. These lifestyle changes are imperative for effective treatment.
How hearing aids can help in the event of sudden hearing loss
Wearing hearing aids will alleviate the effects of sudden hearing loss if your hearing loss persists over time. Ideally, the appropriate medication should be administered within 24 hours after you notice the symptoms. If treatment does not follow within this period, and your hearing loss becomes chronic, we recommend the use of hearing aids to provide relief. If your sudden hearing loss occurs with tinnitus, the ‘noiser’ function in most hearing aids can help treat both conditions.