Sudden Senorieneural Hearing Loss (SSHL) has a short onset, typically within 72 hours. Alarmingly, this condition also has a short time window to get successful treatment. Sensorineural hearing loss is considered an emergency and an audiologist or ENT should be consulted as soon as possible in order to avoid permanent hearing loss. In the past these hearing health providers treated sensorineural hearing loss with oral steroids, but the latest option, though unorthodox, is providing better results.
Sensorineural hearing loss is commonly treated with oral steroids. If given within a quick time frame of the onset of sensorineural hearing loss, this option has a good chance restoring hearing partially or even fully. Still oral steroids also have unwanted side effects, causing weight gain, insomnia, and an increase in blood sugar. But audiologists have now found that these side effects are avoided when the steroid is injected into the middle ear.
In the past doctors hesitated to use a needle in the ear because of concerns that injecting the steroid would result in a less hearing recovery for the patient, but recent tests show this is not the case.
A Johns Hopkins study was conducted to discover if sensorineural hearing loss could be better treated by injecting steroids into the middle ear. The study included 250 people with sudden sensorineural hearing loss. They treatment was given for SSHL within fourteen days of onset. According to an article about the study written up in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “One hundred twenty-one patients received either 60 mg/d of oral prednisone for 14 days with a 5-day taper and 129 patients received 4 doses over 14 days of 40 mg/mL of methylprednisolone injected into the middle ear.”
The sudden hearing loss treatment inside the ear only required four doses compared with fourteen for the oral steroid.
The results of testing to treat sensorineural hearing loss with inner ear injections showed that despite concerns, injecting the steroid into the ear was no less effective than the oral steroid and involved less doses.To get the benefits of steroid injections, however, patients have to make scheduled visits into their audiologist or ENT's office to receive the shots in their inner ear. For patients wanting to avoid the unwanted side effects associated with oral steroids these visits might be worth it as injecting steroid was shown to help patients avoid weight gain, insomnia, and higher blood sugar normally associated with oral steroid. As the technology and medical expertise around hearing loss continues to grow more options for hearing health become available to patients. Today sudden hearing loss and other types of hearing loss have more successful treatments and solutions available for patients. It is extremely important that someone coping with sudden sensorineural hearing loss see a hearing health professional as soon as possible. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!