Sudden Hearing Loss: What are options if steroids don't work?

Posted by m53 @m53, Sep 1, 2019

A family member experienced sudden hearing loss and was treated for wax build- up. On return to Dr., there was no improvement and a referral was made to ENT. Steriod treatment has not resulted in an improvement in hearing, and family member has been told it is unlikely hearing in that ear will be regained. It is now about 8 weeks since loss. Any recommendations as to specialists/treatment to pursue in the San Francisco area?

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@colleenyoung

@jlibe, I moved your update to the discussion where you were sharing your story about sudden hearing loss. I'm sorry to hear that the audiologist confirmed that you only have 12% hearing in your left ear. How is your hearing in the right ear?

When do you see the ENT specialist? What are the next steps?

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ENT said I should look into a hearing aid.. The one for both ears. So my right ear would guide my left.. Looking to see how expensive and how well they work

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@jlibe

How much are these hearing aids.. My ent said a hearing aid for both ears one ear better than the other was my only option. Cochlear?

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Not exactly sure what your diagnosis is. Is it only one ear that has major hearing loss? If the other ear is OK, your provider may be suggesting a bi-cross hearing aid system. In that system, the aid worn on the bad ear broadcasts to the aid on the 'good' ear.

If both ears have been diagnosed with hearing loss, you may need two aids, but with different settings to accommodate the degree of hearing loss in each ear.

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@jlibe

How much are these hearing aids.. My ent said a hearing aid for both ears one ear better than the other was my only option. Cochlear?

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I had micros hearing aids for a while and they worked well then I was not getting stimulation in the bad ear's nerve so I got a Cochlear implant in my bad ear and have a hearing aid in my good ear. I can hear pretty well in most situations. It did take some time to adjust to the Cochlear implant. Make sure that you get one that can handle MRI's and can bluetooth to your phone.

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@mikepa

@sjd324 Did your audio or ENT send you for an MRI to rule out an acoustic neuroma? This happened to my wife 2 years ago when I was at the Salt Lake City HLAA convention. My wife woke up that morning and sent me a text to call her ASAP. She said she woke up with loss of hearing in one ear. Fortunately I was surrounded by experts at the convention. I found an ENT who said to immediately get to an ENT for steroids and an MRI. They gave her another drug but I can't remember what it was. By getting on the steroid right away, the inflammation of the neuroma, which had been pushing on her hearing nerve, reduced within several days and she has been fine since. Since her neuroma was small, we just go back every year to see if it has grown much. They are usually slow growing.

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Can your wife recall the name of the medication? Was it something other than Prednisone,?

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@tmorken

Can your wife recall the name of the medication? Was it something other than Prednisone,?

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No, it was Prednisone

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@mikepa

No, it was Prednisone

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Thank you for replying. I asked because, I didn't do well on Prednisone and was wondering if she had taken a different steroid with success. I started taking Prednisone and although it did help right away with inflammation in my ears. I had lost hearing volume on it as well as tones(highs&lows) after just 1 day of 60mg. spread out mind you throughout the day.

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@tmorken

Thank you for replying. I asked because, I didn't do well on Prednisone and was wondering if she had taken a different steroid with success. I started taking Prednisone and although it did help right away with inflammation in my ears. I had lost hearing volume on it as well as tones(highs&lows) after just 1 day of 60mg. spread out mind you throughout the day.

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I think my wife was lucky that she had an experienced hearing loss person (me) who was aware that she needed to immediately get to an ENT and start treatment, and that her treatment worked. Her acoustic neuroma shrunk enough to not pressure the nerve anymore and she has had perfect hearing for 5 years since the loss. Good luck with yours.

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@mikepa

I think my wife was lucky that she had an experienced hearing loss person (me) who was aware that she needed to immediately get to an ENT and start treatment, and that her treatment worked. Her acoustic neuroma shrunk enough to not pressure the nerve anymore and she has had perfect hearing for 5 years since the loss. Good luck with yours.

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@tmorken @mikepa It's important to understand that an acoustic neuroma presents a very different situation in most cases.

Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss can be caused by different things. The best recommendation is to get ENT help with steroids immediately. However, that isn't typical for most people dealing with 'sudden' hearing loss or many other health issues. We are inclined to wait to see if the problem dissipates or goes away. Unfortunately, waiting even a few days can mean the difference between steroids helping and not helping.

Several people have shared stories about this. They go to primary care or urgent care where the providers don't have the experience to follow through appropriately, and time is wasted. Sometimes the only person who considers this issue an emergency is the person who has it.

There is little public information about hearing loss.

How many people know that when sudden hearing loss occurs, the best possible treatment has to begin almost immediately?

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Exactly, I was told blocked eustacion tube and by the time I got to an ENT although I was just within a two week period suggested for steroids, it didn’t work. The ENT said that sudden loss of hearing is something that all medical personnel should be familiar with.

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@normacarlson

Exactly, I was told blocked eustacion tube and by the time I got to an ENT although I was just within a two week period suggested for steroids, it didn’t work. The ENT said that sudden loss of hearing is something that all medical personnel should be familiar with.

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The reality is that those medical personnel are not familiar with sudden sensorineural hearing loss. The tendency is to tell people to wait a few days or a week and see if it goes away.

This brings to mind a good question. We have seen advertisements and educational announcements on TV and in other forms of media about 'warning signals' of various diseases and conditions.

Have you ever seen a statement that says "If you experience sudden hearing loss see an ENT specialist immediately. Steroid injections can help, but only if given within 48 hours of the SSNL occurring?

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