Sudden hearing loss – sudden deafness


Sudden hearing loss can be due to viruses or loud noises. Sometimes it is unclear what this is due to. Suddenly getting a hearing loss can be uncomfortable but often the trouble goes away by itself.

Sudden hearing loss often develops rapidly. It can take a few hours but also up to a few days. Usually you only get the trouble in one ear.

The disease is sometimes called sudden deafness in English. It means sudden deafness.

symptoms of sudden hearing loss

Common symptoms of sudden hearing loss are that you have poor hearing or no hearing at all on one ear. You may also feel like you have ear lids. Other symptoms of sudden deafness may include:

  • tinnitus
  • dizziness
  • nausea or vomiting.

When and where should I seek care?

Contact a health care center or an emergency-hour reception as soon as possible if you have sudden hearing loss in one ear. You do not need to seek care elsewhere if it is closed. Wait until the on-call reception or medical center opens.


When you come to the doctor you will have a  hearing examination . Then they use, among other things, an ear microscope. Through it, the doctor can look into the ear and see the ear greatly enlarged and in detail.

The doctor also tests your hearing by turning on a tuning fork and putting it in the middle of your forehead. Then you can tell in which ear you hear the sound from the tuning fork.

You can also do a tone audiometry, which shows, among other things, how much hearing is impaired. Then you get to put on headphones and listen to one ear at a time on a series of clean tones. When you hear a tone, press it to highlight it. The weakest tones you can perceive are called hearing thresholds and are recorded simultaneously in a diagram, a so-called audiogram.

Some may need to be further investigated, and then receive a referral to a physician who is specialized in ear-nose and throat diseases or hearing and balance disorders.

What is the cause of sudden hearing loss?

Most often, the doctor cannot find any particular cause during an examination. However, sometimes the hearing loss can be due to an infection such as  larynx , herpes or  influenza . It may also be because you have been exposed to some loud noise that has damaged the hearing cells.

There may also be more unusual causes for the sudden hearing loss. Sometimes it is due to some problem with the auditory nerve or the worm where the hearing organ is located.

A sudden hearing loss can also be due to a blow or injury to the head.

It is unusual but the hearing loss  may be due to a blood vessel in the inner ear being damaged, for example by a blood clot. 

Treatment of sudden hearing loss

The treatment of sudden hearing loss you receive depends on what caused the inconvenience, and what the examinations show.

When there is no particular cause, the most common advice is usually to rest and avoid physical and mental exertion so that the damaged hearing cells can recover. You should also try to avoid exposing the damaged ear to loud noises for at least a week. Use hearing protectors if necessary.

A swelling of the ear can be treated with cortisone in tablet form that the doctor prescribes.

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