What is Sudden Deafness or Sudden Hearing Loss?

When someone rapidly loses hearing when no injury or trauma has occurred, we refer to it as sudden deafness. A person experiencing sudden deafness, called Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSHL), should seek medical attention immediately to receive proper and quick care.

Oftentimes, people that experience this sudden hearing loss in only one ear think it will just resolve itself. Maybe they have a cold or a sinus infection and think it will go away when their other symptoms go away. This is not always the case. Many times, people experience a loud popping noise just before the sudden deafness happens. This might cause dizziness or some ringing in the ears.

Why Sudden Hearing Loss Might Occur

If you have damage to your inner ear, gradual buildup of earwax, an ear infection or abnormal bone growths or tumors or a ruptured eardrum, it is likely that you will experience some form of hearing loss.

Risk Factors and Prevention

Some common risk factors include aging, heredity, loud noise, some medications and some illnesses. It can often be prevented by protecting your ears, having them checked annually and avoiding recreational risks such as hunting, using power tools or listening to loud music.


If you believe you or a loved one are suffering from sudden deafness (SSHL) we recommend you seek treatment as soon as possible. With proper medical care, about 50% of the people suffering from sudden deafness will regain their hearing within 7-14 days.

We have many convenient locations across Northern Colorado. If you have any questions or need treatment, please contact us online or call your nearest location to schedule a thorough hearing loss consultation or clinical hearing screening! Our team of audiologists is to help people at all stages of hearing loss determine how best to restore their hearing.