Idiopathic Hearing Loss
Idiopathic hearing loss is also known as sudden hearing loss, and the exact cause is often unknown. The problem generally affects adults between 30 and 60 years of age, though […]
Idiopathic hearing loss is also known as sudden hearing loss, and the exact cause is often unknown. The problem generally affects adults between 30 and 60 years of age, though it is more common in older people. It is called sudden hearing loss because it usually occurs in a matter of days or hours. To be classified as sudden hearing loss, someone must lose three consecutive frequencies of hearing or thirty decibels within three days. Currently, not too many people are affected by this type of hearing loss each year.
The condition affects both men and women, and in general, no one knows why it happens. Some doctors believe that the hearing loss is linked to a disease, generally a viral infection. For example, mumps, measles, herpes-1, and mononucleosis are suspected to cause hearing loss, and other viruses, including those that are members of the herpes family. Other possible causes could include tumors or a stroke, exposure to certain kinds of drugs, Lyme disease and Meniere’s disease. Vascular disease is another suspected cause of idiopathic hearing loss.
Doctors use a couple of different things to treat this problem, including anticoagulants, vitamin E, and antiviral drugs. Other doctors use steroids, and this is one of the newer, more popular treatments. However, in many cases people affected will regain their hearing within a few weeks. As a result, sometimes treatment for idiopathic hearing loss may not be necessary. In some cases, the hearing loss cannot be reversed by treatment, and it is permanent.
People who are experiencing sudden hearing loss will generally only experience it in one ear, and this is called unilateral hearing loss. It is much rarer for someone to experience bilateral hearing loss, meaning that both ears are affected.
When this type of hearing loss occurs, there are occasionally other problems that are associated with it. Two of the most common are tinnitus, which is ringing in the ears, and vertigo or dizziness. If you suspect that you may be experiencing sudden hearing loss, you should contact an audiologist who can perform tests to determine if you are experiencing hearing loss. Some of these tests include MRIs and audiometric testing.
While idiopathic hearing loss is not fully understood, there are measures you can take if you think that it is affecting you or someone you know, and anyone who wakes up with decreased hearing loss should see a doctor immediately.