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viernes, 10 de diciembre de 2010

Did you know you can suddenly lose your hearing?

Did you know you can suddenly lose your hearing?

The feeling of clogged ear is a common symptom often attributed by patients and physicians to an impacted cerumen (earwax) or congestion caused by respiratory diseases or allergies. It may actually be due to a sudden loss of hearing, something like a "stroke of the ear." A common problem is the delay in disease diagnosis which can generate a significant effect on the quality of life if people do not seek help or are diagnosed early.


What is sudden deafness?

This disease is unknown or underestimated, except for those who have suffered the consequences. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) defines deafness as a quick sudden hearing loss, which occurs over a period of 3 days. It must be considered a medical emergency. It is almost exclusively unilateral (one side).


What is the population at risk for this disease?

A series of cases in the United States, Europe and Japan suggest the onset is on people on the age between 43 and 53 years of age with equal gender distribution. But it can occur at any age.


What are the causes of sudden deafness?

It can be the result of a viral infection, vascular disorder or an autoimmune process. Existing studies have not provided clear answers to questions about the rate of spontaneous recovery, treatment regimen and better predictors of recovery


How is sudden deafness?

Decreased hearing or deafness that begins abruptly.
There are reports of patients who noticed hearing loss (decreased hearing) immediately upon awakening
Absence of any other neurological symptoms (eg paralysis)
Vertigo (feeling that the environment revolves around the person affected)
Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)
Usually patients report no ear pain
There is no history of trauma
Normal ear exam
Altered audiological examination with decreased hearing in one ear affectation



Does the sudden deafness leave a permanent hearing impairment?
The time from onset of symptoms to the doctor's consultation may be one of the most important factors in determining a diagnostic, as better results are obtained when treatment starts earlier, ideally within the first 3 to 10 days. Most patients seek care at a late stage when treatment has been shown to have no effect in improving the hearing.




What can you do if you suddenly feel the sensation of a clogged ear or you got your hearing down, not giving up on several hours or if you know someone with this disease?
Is imperative an audiometry (hearing assessment) as a reference for assessing the severity of the initial loss and the degree of recovery. Depending on the evolution and the presence of other symptoms are considered the need for further studies. Treatment should not be delayed.

In the United States, oral steroids are the most commonly used. Other treatment options include transtimpánic steroids (in the ear). It is essential to protect the unaffected ear from excessive pressure (eg, avoid diving) or exposure to noise. In the future if the patient develops hearing loss, tinnitus, pain or discharge from your unaffected ear to go for specialty evaluation immediately (ENT).


Remember:

The sensation of ear fullness or sudden loss of hearing should be considered as an emergency. An early diagnosis and early initiation of treatment improves the diagnosis of patients, avoiding the consequences on the quality of life.

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