Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) is an unexplained and rapid loss of hearing. Hearing loss usually occurs over three days or less, usually affecting only one ear. Annually, 27 per 100,000 people will be affected by SSNHL.

SSNHL can heavily impact your mental health and overall quality of life. People with SSNHL may experience ear-fullness, dizziness, and/or tinnitus.

A sudden change in your hearing should not be ignored – seek medical attention right away!

SAC has developed an information sheet on SSNHL for Speech & Hearing Month 2021.Seeking Medical Attention is Crucial.
While ⅓ to ⅔ of people affected by SSNHL may fully or partially recover within 1-2 weeks, it can be permanent if medical attention is not sought. Recovery is possible, but delaying diagnosis and treatment decreases your chances of healing.

If you’ve had a sudden change in hearing, it’s important to confirm your diagnosis as soon as possible by visit an audiologist and receiving a hearing exam. It is recommended that hearing is monitored on a regular basis.  

Audiologists offer the following rehabilitative measures:

  • Ongoing monitoring of hearing and balance.
  • Providing and recommending technology to manage symptoms including hearing aids, assistive listening devices and sound generators.
  • Counselling and education.
  • Audiological/vestibular rehabilitation therapies.
  • Tinnitus evaluation and management.

The Possible Link Between COVID-19 and SSNHL
Some studies have shown increased reports of hearing and balance symptoms associated with COVID-19, including reports of SSNHL. Research is ongoing to determine the relationship between SSNHL and COVID-19. If you are experiencing a sudden change in hearing, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.