MP-2: Adults with Sudden SN HL: Etiology and Management Perspectives from ENT


Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) is a common and frightening cause of hearing loss in adults, with about 4000 new cases per year in the United States. SSNHL is defined as sensorineural hearing loss  of ≥30 decibels, across at least 3 consecutive frequencies occurring over a 72 hour period.

The majority of SSNHL cases are idiopathic. In fact, other than an MRI (to rule out retrocochlear pathology) and audiologic documentation, no particular investigations are indicated in the majority of cases. There are, however, some cases where additional investigations may be indicated. These will be reviewed in the presentation.

Physical examination of patients with SSNHL is often non-contributory, if proper audiologic testing is available. Pertinent positive and negative findings that may guide investigation and treatment, however, will be reviewed in the presentation.

The mainstay of treatment for SSNHL is corticosteroid treatment, systemically and/or trans-tympanically. Although there are guidelines that exist to help guide physicians and patients in their management choices, much uncertainty still exists regarding the best treatment regimen and the efficacy of corticosteroids in SSNHL. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT) is being used more and more for SSNHL. The evidence and reported outcomes with HBOT in SSNHL will be reviewed in this presentation.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of this presentation, learners will be able to:

  • Define Sudden Senorineural Hearing Loss
  • Recognize indications for further investigations in patients with SSNHL.
  • Discuss available treatment options including treatment regimens, timing and efficacy