I have had an initial diagnosis of idiopathic sudden hearing loss in my left ear. Do you have any information about sudden hearing loss?
“Idiopathic” simply means the cause is unknown, which is true in most cases of sudden hearing loss, or SHL.
“Sudden” refers to the speed of onset. Hearing loss ordinarily occurs gradually over a period of many years. But SHL takes place within a few days and sometimes in a matter of hours. The hearing loss may be mild or severe, affecting one ear or both. One-sided hearing loss is more typical. It’s commonly accompanied by tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, and vertigo.
In addition to an exam and hearing tests, your medical evaluation should have included a blood workup as well as your detailed medical history. The medical history is important, even if a precise cause for SHL isn’t identified. It may provide the otologist (ear specialist) with clues about possible contributing factors, such as smoking, certain medications, alcohol consumption, viral infections or excessive caffeine intake.
SHL can be a very frightening experience. The good news is that it’s usually temporary. Many patients have a partial and often complete recovery within about two weeks. It seems the greater the degree of hearing loss, the slower the recovery.
Opinion varies on the best course of treatment. We know that some people get better with little or no treatment. On the other hand, those who seek prompt medical attention apparently improve more rapidly than those who delay seeking care.
Evidence does not favor any therapy in particular. Doctors often prescribe corticosteroid pills, which seem to be more helpful for those with mild or moderate hearing loss on just one side. Numerous other types of medicines may be recommended, based on the physician’s assessment of the individual’s condition.
Non-medicinal components of the treatment include bed rest with the head and shoulders elevated, and avoiding stress, noise, tobacco, smoke, stimulants and alcohol.
I suggest you consult your otolaryngologist, a doctor specializing in diseases of the ear and larynx.