Help-sudden hearing loss

D.F. Nears dfbears at
Sat Mar 8 21:25:10 EST 1997

On Thu, 06 Mar 1997 15:01:44 -0600, jpepelnj at wrote:

>My wife has been diagnosed with "sudden sensorineural hearing loss". We
>are not familiar with this diagnosis and are quite concerned. Could
>someone please inform us of possible causes? permanency? treatment?
>Your help will be greatly appreciated.
>-------------------==== Posted via Deja News ====-----------------------
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Dear Jim,

Unfortunately, I know the situation well.  I myself suffer from a
severe sensorineural hearing loss that was very sudden in nature.  A
sudden sensorineural hearing loss is not uncommon and typically, a
cause cannot be identified.  It is believed that it is sometimes
caused by a virus and that hearing may improve through a course of
treatment with steriods.  It could also be the latent results of an
injury that occured sometime in your wifes life or just recently.
The structures of hearing are very sensitive and easily damaged.  An
injury from two days ago or two years ago could have weakened the
structures of the cochlea which transfer sound into an electrical
impulse that is sent to the brain. The effects are only seen now
because the weakened structures have ceased to function altogether.
When diagnosed with a sensory neural hearing loss, the cochlea, the
auditory nerve from the cochlea or some part of the brain is damaged
or not functioning properly.  The other possibilities besides what
Ihave listed are side effects from medications (steriods,
chemotherapy, etc.) or an organic cause like a tumor or lesions in the
brain.  My hearing loss is the result of lesions in my brain.

All sensory neural hearing loss is permenant but depending on the
severity and the location of the problem, their may be help.  Your
wife may be able to effectively use hearing aids.  If it is the
cochlea then your wife may be a candidate for a cochlear implant.  I
would talk with your doctor and request a BAER test if one has not
been done yet.  A BAER test is a brainstem auditory evoke response
test that will point out more clearly where the signals of sound are
getting loss.  Once this information is obtained if it has not already
been done, then you can talk with your doctor about the possibilities.

I recommend that you get in touch with your local support groups for
late deafened adults.  The local group where I live is called
ALDA...association for late deafened adults.  They can give you a lot
more information and answer a lot of questions (about hearing aids,
assistive listening devices, assistive technologies, new technologies,
causes, cures, doctors, etc.)  I have found them to be an excellent
and very supportive resource.

On a personal note, be very supportive to your wife.  She will need it
more than ever.  It will take time for her to decide on and develop a
new communication system.  It will take time for her to adjust.   If
her hearing loss is indeed permanent, she will need to grieve for its
loss just as she would grieve for the death of a loved one.

But I am also living proof that the loss of hearing is not the loss of
independence or dreams or anything else.  If you go to http://www. you will see how I over came my hearing

I know this is a lot of information and it may seem confusing.  If you
have any questions or just want to vent or share in the benefit of my
experience, please feel free to contact me at dfnears at  As a
person who has been where your wife is now, I would like to help.


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