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Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSHL)

Duncan has been awarded European Audiologist of the Year 2016!

Duncan was nominated for his work with Nicola, helping her to fully recover from her second experience of Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss.

We feel that Nicola’s story is important to share with you, as her experience could help others who find themselves in the same situation. Nicola lost hearing in one ear as a child after a tonsillectomy and she coped very well with normal good hearing in her other ear.  In her late 30s Nikki experienced a Sudden Hearing Loss, which reduced her remaining hearing to about 20% in her good ear. She was able to manage well by wearing a single hearing aid, until again experiencing a drop in her hearing in May this year, reducing her hearing levels to almost nothing and leaving her with distressing tinnitus.

Luckily, Nikki was able to rush to Aston Hearing, where Duncan, who was working on a Saturday, did an audiogram which revealed her sudden hearing loss. She then went to hospital where she was given steroids, around 7 hours after discovering her hearing loss. After two and a half weeks, Nikki’s partial hearing came back in one ear.

As Nikki’s story shows, Sudden Hearing Loss is a medical emergency and although steroid treatment is usually successful, acting quickly is crucial. It is estimated that around 1 in 5000 people lose their hearing suddenly each year, but we believe that many cases of Sudden Hearing Loss are undiagnosed and untreated, as many people think that their drop in hearing is due to a common cold.

Sudden Hearing Loss has various causes, such as a virus, infection or blood circulation problems, and the majority of people don’t know why their hearing levels dropped. It is diagnosed through a pure tone audiometry hearing test, where a hearing drop of 30 decibels or more in three frequencies is considered to be a sign of Sudden Hearing Loss.

Everyone experiences Sudden Hearing Loss in different ways. Some people notice a ‘pop’ before their hearing disappears, whereas for others it seems to almost fade out. Some will notice their hearing loss straight away, or sometimes it is only apparent when they are using the telephone. In nine out of ten cases the hearing loss is only present in one ear. It may also be accompanied by vertigo (dizziness) or tinnitus (ringing in the ears). If you notice one of more of these signs, you must go to A&E and ask to see an ENT – but it maybe a good idea to call us for advice and an emergency hearing assessment to check the problem is in the inner ear and not due to a conductive issue.  We offer an emergency service – please call 07970 547999 or 07977 522150 (24 hours) and we will be happy to help. 

Increasing awareness of Sudden Hearing Loss is one of our main goals for the next year. We will be doing talks in the local area on the topic, as well as distributing information to our clients and the wider community. For more information, please email kate@astonhearing.co.uk.

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