Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss: An Otologic Emergency


The study purpose was to determine the efficacy of steroids, volume expanders and antivirals in the management of idiopathic sudden sensory neural hearing loss and to establish importance of early medical intervention. In this prospective study, thirty-four patients presenting with idiopathic sudden hearing loss of 30 db or more were enrolled in study group between 2005 and 2009. Patient variables as they related to recovery were studied and include patient age, time to onset of therapy, status of contralateral ear, presence of diabetes, severity of hearing loss, pattern of hearing loss in audiogram and presence of associated symptoms, (tinnitus, vertigo). Treatment protocol with intravenous hydrocortisone, intravenous dextran and oral anti-viral agent was followed. Pre-treatment and post-treatment pure tone average was analyzed. With combination therapy the overall improvement in pure tone threshold was seen in 27 patients (79.4%). A statistically significant association was found between the time at which medical intervention was started and hearing improvement. Early intervention in patients presenting before 3 days has given 77.8% complete type 1 recovery Idiopathic sudden sensory neural hearing loss is a medical emergency. It should not be misdiagnosed. Early detection and management with volume expanders, steroids and antivirals will improve the chances of complete recovery.

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Correspondence to Bhavin Parikh.

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Vijayendra, H., Buggaveeti, G., Parikh, B. et al. Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss: An Otologic Emergency. Indian J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 64, 1–4 (2012) doi:10.1007/s12070-010-0049-x

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  • Sudden sensorineural hearing loss
  • Idiopathic hearing loss