Ear bricked up to show hearing lossThis Is about Life, Not Work

A Public Service Announcement of Sorts

We’d like to share with you a startling episode and tell you how you should react if it happens to you.

A friend suffered Sudden Hearing Loss over the holiday break. We are not putting initial capital letters on that to yell at you. We are capitalizing Sudden Hearing Loss because it is an actual medical issue. It is one that doesn’t always have a discernible cause. If the reason for the hearing loss can’t be determined, it is difficult to treat it successfully. There is one thing, however, that might help it if you act quickly. Let us tell you the tale.

Our friend already had impaired hearing in one ear, his right. Over the holidays, though, he lost quite a bit of hearing ability in his good ear (his left). He went to the Ear, Nose, Throat doctor who ran tests and confirmed the serious degradation of his left ear hearing. There was nothing else wrong with our friend, nothing to explain the mysterious change — no high fever, no vertigo, no infection. In all there was nothing that might be considered a “cause.”

But, said the doc, there is one thing that has worked sometimes when done as soon as possible after the hearing loss: the immediate application of high dose antibiotics such as prednisone; and the direct application of steroids to the affected ear.

Our friend received both the prednisone and the steroids, and then even an MRI. His hearing has improved a small amount, though nothing has been found as a cause. Yet, the possibility remains that he might have had even better results if he had gotten to his ENT even sooner than he did.

He wants people to know that if this should happen to you, you should go immediately to an ENT specialist, not to your Primary Care Provider. Your regular doc will cause inadvertent delays by treating it mildly and suggesting a “wait and see” approach. Actually what might be needed is the aggressive and immediate course of antibiotics.

If you have a drop in hearing, he recommends that you get to the Ear, Nose, Throat specialist asap. Get a primary care doc to give you a referral, if you need one, but get on over there!
Delays could be deafening.

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