Family physicians are often the first point of contact for patients suffering from sudden hearing loss. Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) is defined as a sudden decrease in hearing of 30 dB or more at three consecutive frequencies. In most cases, the cause of sudden sensorineural hearing loss is idiopathic.

Symptoms: 
  • Acute onset of hearing loss over a window of 72 hours
  • Usually unilateral but can be bilateral 
  • Typically noticed upon waking or when using the telephone 
  • 70% of cases also experience tinnitus 
  • 50% of cases also experience vertigo 

 

IMMEDIATE REFERRAL TO A CERTIFIED AUDIOLOGIST FOR A HEARING EVALUATION IS RECOMMENDED.

Our clinics will always prioritize potential SSNHL cases and have your patient assessed the same day. If a SSNHL is diagnosed, immediate referral to ENT is recommended unless the referring physician can provide corticosteroid therapy at their discretion.

 

Please follow the link below for current evidence-based recommendations for the diagnosis, management, and follow-up of patients who present with SSNHL:

SSNHL Information >