Sudden hearing loss

What is it sudden hearing loss?

Sudden hearing loss is when circulation in the inner ear is reduced causing hearing loss. It can be scary and so it's important to visit us for a hearing test to assess the level of loss.

Sudden sensorineural hearing loss

It is not conclusively known the cause of Sudden hearing loss however it is believed that loud environments or work places could be the cause. If you believe you have sudden hearing loss you should take advantage of our free hearing test. Our Audiologists will be able to assess the level of loss you are experiencing and look at potential causes of the loss.

Injuries and Hearing Loss

Some injuries can cause sudden hearing loss. If you notice you have hearing loss following an injury contact your GP or Amplifon centre

Symptoms of sudden hearing loss

Sudden hearing loss (sometimes called sudden deafness) occurs when you experience an accelerated loss of hearing. It can happen all at once or over the course of several days. Sudden hearing loss is often unilateral, or affects only one ear. In fact, 90 percent of those who experience this kind of hearing loss only experience symptoms in one of their ears.

A range of symptoms accompany sudden hearing loss, such as:

  • Muffled sound in ear
  • Difficulty following along in conversations
  • Trouble hearing amid background noise
  • Difficulty hearing higher-pitched sounds
  • Dizziness or balance issues
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)

Causes of sudden hearing loss

Sudden or temporary hearing loss, as with other types of hearing loss, typically occurs due to one of two reasons:

Sound is not able to reach the inner ear from the middle ear (e.g., there’s something blocking the path) or sound does reach the inner ear, but it’s unable to continue on to the brain due to damage to the inner ear or neural pathways. Here are some common causes of sudden hearing loss:

Ear infections

Bacteria and viruses can invade the middle ear, causing a buildup of fluid. This fluid becomes a breeding ground for infection. The swelling and excess fluid can block sound waves from passing through to the inner ear, resulting in temporary hearing loss. Many people report that the ear sounds muffled in these cases. Normal hearing is usually restored after the infection clears up.

Loud noise

Intense, loud sounds can damage the sensitive nerve cells in our inner ear, which are needed to convert sound into signals to send to the brain. Exposure to a loud sound, either immediate or continuous, can cause noise-induced hearing loss.


Head trauma

An abrupt, violent blow to the head can cause brain concussions and injuries. These injuries can damage the auditory system and pathway, resulting in sudden hearing loss. The middle and inner ear are more commonly affected, particularly the sensitive nerve cells in the cochlea (inner ear). 

Ear Wax

Excess ear wax can build up in the ear canal and block sound from passing through to the inner ear. When sound waves can’t pass through to the inner ear, the result is sudden, temporary hearing loss.


Sudden hearing loss treatment

Hearing aids may be able to provide a solution for you, it’s important that a thorough test is carried out to determine which products would help in the instant.

Learn more about other hearing issues Read more

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