Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSHL), or sudden deafness, is a rapid loss of hearing which occurs all at once or over a period of up to 3 days. Sensorineural hearing loss is hearing loss due to the inner ear or the neural pathways to the brain. In 90% of people who experience SSHL, the hearing loss affects only one ear. Many people notice it when they wake up in the morning or when making a phone call. People with SSHL often experience dizziness or ringing in the ears. A person who experiences SSHL should visit an audiologist and/or a physician on an emergency basis as timely treatment significantly increases the chances for recovery. An audiologist can determine whether a person has experienced SSHL by conducting a case history and thorough hearing evaluation. A physician can decide upon the best treatment and refer the patient to an ENT specialist if necessary. There are over 100 possible causes of SSHL (e.g., immunologic disease, infectious disease, circulatory problems, etc.) and it is rare for a specific cause to be precisely identified. The most common therapy for SSHL, especially in cases with an unknown cause, is treatment with steroids. Steroids usually work to reduce inflammation, decrease swelling, and help the body’s immune system. With appropriate and timely identification and treatment, the chances for a good to excellent recovery from SSHL are high.
Terence was born and raised in Simcoe, Ontario. He earned his B.Sc. in Engineering from Queen’s University in 1994 and worked as a reservoir engineer with Imperial Oil before finding his true calling as an Audiologist. He graduated with his M.Sc. in Audiology from the University of British Columbia in 2000 and his Doctorate in Audiology from the PCO School of Audiology in 2008.