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Time, Steroids Usually Fix Sudden Hearing Loss

Study finds this condition typically clears up within a month

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 14, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- A combination of time and treatment with oral corticosteroids can help people with sudden sensorineural hearing loss regain full hearing, Korean researchers show.

People with sudden sensorineural hearing loss suffer the loss of 30 decibels or more of hearing over several hours to three days. The condition affects about 4,000 Americans each year. About 30 percent to 60 percent of patients will experience spontaneous recovery within two weeks.

This study, from a team at the Catholic University of Korea in Seoul, included 121 people with sudden sensorineural hearing loss who recovered within three months.

Of those, 45.5 percent showed delayed recovery after 10 days of treatment with oral corticosteroids and, in that group of patients, 78 percent were fully recovered within a month.

The study also found that a lesser degree of hearing loss is associated with an increased likelihood of delayed recovery. This suggests that even if a 10-day course of corticosteroid treatment doesn't stimulate recovery, there is still enough time to try alternative treatments, the study authors wrote.

The findings are published in the February issue of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders has more about sudden hearing loss.

SOURCE: American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, news release, Jan. 29, 2007
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