Which clinical history findings are characteristic of sudden hearing loss?

Updated: Aug 28, 2019
  • Author: Neeraj N Mathur, MBBS, MS, DNB(ENT), MNAMS, FAMS; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Sudden SNHL has been called an otologic emergency. Patient evaluation should proceed promptly and expeditiously. Early presentation to a physician and early institution of treatment improves the prognosis for hearing recovery. The immediate goal is discovering a treatable or defined cause of the sudden hearing loss. 

  • Information about the onset, time course, associated symptoms, and recent activities may be helpful.

  • Past medical history may reveal risk factors for hearing loss.

    • All medications, including over-the-counter products, must be described.

    • Aspirin can cause a reversible sensorineural hearing loss, and the list of aspirin-containing products is extensive.

A study by Hung et al indicated that a previous diagnosis of chronic rhinosinusitis is significantly associated with the development of sudden SNHL (adjusted odds ratio for having prior chronic rhinosinusitis = 1.36 in patients with sudden SNHL), particularly in patients aged 44 years or less. For patients over age 60 years, however, the association seemed no longer to exist. [12]

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