An acute sensorineural hearing loss is not very common, with only a few cases attributed to a specified cause, such as an explosion injury or a severe pressure injury that has incurred damages to the cochlea or as a result of an ailment such as meningitis or parotitis.
Severe infections of the middle ear or cholesteatoma may progress to the inner ear. An acoustic neurinoma may make its presence felt by causing sudden hearing loss. Some patients may have had some herpetic infection and, in addition to abscesses in the ear and the mouth, may also experience vertigo, paralysis of the facial nerve and hearing loss. The collection of all these symptoms is called Ramsay-Hunt syndrome. For most cases of sudden sensorineural hearing loss, the exact causes are very hard to determine.
Thus, for a condition without a known cause, no treatment can be designed on a reasonable basis. Indeed, according to published research studies, no form of treatment has been proven to be more effective than no treatment at all – provided the other possible underlying causes have been excluded. A 60-70% of patients recover partially, or even completely, within the first week. Ill-boding prognostic factors may include:
- Hearing loss in the 8kHz range
- Hearing loss greater than 70dB on average at frequencies between 1.2 – 4kHz
- A sense of vertigo that accompanies hearing loss