Loss of Hearing with a Cold Could be Sudden Deafness

 

December 27, 2005  |  

Sudden deafness is an ear emergency that strikes one person in 5,000 every year, says Jeffrey Harris, M.D., Ph.D., University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Medical Center chief of otolaryngology/head and neck surgery.

Harris says about half the patients may notice dizziness or imbalance for up to a day or two, but the main symptom is a blocked ear and tinnitus (ringing, roaring, or buzzing noise). If caught quickly, at least 50% of cases can be reversed with medical treatment.

“Current evidence suggests that sudden deafness usually arises as a complication of viral infection,” says Harris. “The cold weather season is also the head cold season. Many patients who catch cold develop ear blockage and assume it is just congestion from the head cold when it could be sudden deafness. By the time the cold symptoms are gone and they notice that only one ear cleared and the other one is still blocked, it is often too late to treat the deafness.”

Harris adds that if a person had normal hearing before getting a head cold, there is a simple test that will tell if a blocked ear is from congestion or nerve damage: Hum out loud. If you hear your voice louder in the blocked ear, the problem is congestion and is probably temporary. But, if you hear your voice louder in the good ear, this indicates possible nerve damage in the blocked ear.

A blocked ear should be examined by an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, throat, head and neck specialist) as soon as possible. UCSD is conducting a clinical trial on sudden deafness. For information about the trial call 858-657-6836 or visit www.suddendeafness.org.

 

# # #

News Media Contact: Jeffree Itrich, 619-543-6163, jitrich@ucsd.edu

UCSD Health Sciences Communications HealthBeat: /news/

 

 




Media Contact

Share This Article


Related News

11/20/2017
The UC San Diego Health International Patient Program was recognized as the 2017 Medical Provider of the Year by the International Travel & Health Insurance Journal (ITIJ). ITIJ recognizes leading hea ...
11/16/2017
That “to do” list of chores and errands could actually provide a variety of health benefits, according to researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. The study, published ...
11/15/2017
UC San Diego Health has expanded its treatment of rare brain tumors by launching a specialized program in the diagnosis and treatment of acoustic neuromas and complex skull base tumors. The new progra ...
11/14/2017
In an unprecedented move, UC San Diego Health and UCI Health have formed a strategic partnership to increase operational efficiencies and decrease patient care costs by sharing a single electronic med ...



Follow Us