We see 3 to 4 people per year with sudden hearing loss. Sudden Hearing Loss mostly occurs in just one ear and can present with tinnitus and vertigo.
Firstly your ear needs to be examined by your GP, practice nurse or audiologist to rule out a blockage in the ear canal such as wax, infection or a foreign body. If there isn’t any obvious reason for the loss and spontaneous recovery hasn’t occurred within the first 2 weeks, you should be started on systemic steroids. Studies have shown that those who have begun treatment within 2-4 weeks have the greatest chance of recovery.
If there hasn’t been any improvement with oral steroids you could benefit from intratympanic steroid injections. This has proven to be very effective without any side effects, as with the oral steroids the earlier the treatment is given the better the chance of recovery. Very rarely does anyone recover completely from Sudden Hearing Loss and studies have show that if the intratympanic injection is given more that 36 days after the initial drop in hearing there is no significant benefit.
Our experience is that not all GPs recognize that steroids, whether it be oral or intratympanic, as an effective treatment for Sudden Hearing Loss and you may have to insist on this and push for an urgent ENT appointment.