4 Common Causes of Sudden Hearing Loss
Not all hearing loss is brought on gradually through aging or other causes. Sometimes hearing loss can occur suddenly—and it’s not always immediately evident why. Unfortunately, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, only approximately 10-15 percent of sudden hearing loss is actually diagnosable.
Nevertheless, here are four common, identifiable causes.
One of the causes easiest to link to sudden hearing loss is a head injury or collision. Injury-based hearing loss may often be accompanied by dizziness or ringing in one’s ears, and sufferers may notice a popping noise before partial or total deafness occurs. Proper protective gear during athletic activities, such as bike helmets or safety gear while playing football or other contact sports, can help protect you from this cause.
Certain types of long-term illnesses can spur a sudden hearing loss. These can include complications such as vertigo, autoimmune diseases or even inflammations in parts of the eye, such as the cornea. The trigger for sudden hearing loss is often tough to pinpoint, though these ongoing conditions can spur partial or total hearing loss, particularly if left untreated.
Medication Side Effects
Some prescription medications can include side effects that may include sudden hearing loss. These are traditionally medications referred to as “ototoxic” and are utilized for treating chronic illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. They can include certain types of antibiotics and chemotherapy medications. Early symptoms may include warning signs such as tinnitus or trouble understanding speech. Though less common a cause than the above two, if you start to experience these symptoms while on ototoxic drugs, talk to your doctor about your medication regimen.
Poor Blood Circulation
Low blood flow can also be a cause of hearing loss, both sudden and gradual. The cochlea in your inner ear is critical to hearing ability and functions partially on the basis of adequate blood flow. The arteries that supply blood to the cochlea are very complex and poor circulation can cause them to improperly function. This can lead to sudden hearing loss in some cases. If you know you have poor circulation, talk to your doctor about monitoring your hearing.