Sudden hearing loss (SHL) is defined as a loss greater than 30 dB in three continuous frequencies, occurring over a period of less than three days. SHL may be noticed upon awakening in the morning or develop rapidly over hours or days. 70% of SHL patients also suffer from tinnitus. Vertigo is present in 50% of SHL cases.
An incident of SHL are mostly unilateral, only 2% experience a case of bilateral SHL. In 55% of cases, the hearing less occurs in the left ear. The incidence increases with age: 4.7 out of 100.000 people aged 20-30, and 15.8 per 100.000 in those 50-60 years of age. There are equally as many men as women who experience SHL.
Spontaneous recovery occurs in 33% of the cases, usually within the first two weeks. The chances of full hearing recovery are smaller for patients with severe loss of hearing and when the SHL is accompanied by vertigo.
Treatment with systemic steroids has proven to be successful in many cases, but the SHL should be treated as soon as possible. Studies have shown that those who begun treatment within two to four weeks have the greatest chance of recovery. The causes of SHL vary widely. In 30-70% cases with permanent hearing loss, SHL may be a treatment with various types of hearing aids or cochlear implants.
Acupuncture treatment for SHL has a long history. Each year there are many SHL cases by acupuncture treatment to report published in acupuncture journal. My personal experience for treating SHL by acupuncture, that patient already used systemic steroid and the hearing is not restored, has been also got the satisfaction of the efficacy. So some patient can get normal life without hearing aids and or cochlear implants.