Vol 17 Issue 14
Imagine waking up one morning and finding that you’re deaf in one ear. Or you’re not deaf, but your ability to hear decreases by 50 percent over a three-day period. And it may or may not get better. This happens to thousands of people in the U.S. every year, and is called sudden hearing loss or sudden deafness. Fortunately, Acupuncture can help – but don’t wait too long to get treatment.
Sudden hearing loss, known as Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss or SSHL, is yet another one of those symptoms for which no one seems to be able to figure out a cause. Doctors say there are at least a hundred reasons why it might have happened – including infections, physical trauma, toxicity, circulatory problems, multiple sclerosis or other nerve or immunologic diseases or prescription drug reactions - but only about one in 10 people who get it ever find out why.
When doctors try to diagnose it, they rely on the degree of hearing loss. A normal conversation is at 60 decibels (a decibel measures the loudness of a sound); SSHL is diagnosed if the ability to hear has been reduced to at least half that – 30 decibels – over just a few days.
Some patients do get better within the first few days, even if they do nothing about it. Or it may take a week or two or longer to improve. But for one in six people, it never improves. Their hearing gets worse and worse.
What treatments are available?
Unless the cause is found and the specific problem is able to be dealt with – like getting rid of an infection or stopping a prescription drug that the person is reacting to - doctors generally prescribe steroids to reduce swelling and inflammation. But steroids have a number of significant side effects, some of which are really dangerous (like high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes) if the drugs are taken for a long time.
However, according to a new study, Acupuncture may be all the treatment needed.
The study involved 72 people who had experienced SSHL. Anyone who had an already diagnosed hearing condition or a condition that was likely to have caused the SSHL was not part of the study. They were given Acupuncture an average of twice a week, all the same method, and all by the same doctor.
As a result of the treatment, 50 percent of the people improved. For 20 percent it was totally gone, and 30 percent still saw significant improvement. The average number of recovered decibels was 24.47.
A vital factor in improvement seems to depend on is when the person received treatment - those who improved started Acupuncture treatment within 51 days of the onset of hearing loss, and those who did not improve waited an average of 167 days.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing hearing loss, see your Acupuncturist for help.
Source: Health CMI, http://www.healthcmi.com/acupuncturist-news-online/530-acupunctureceushearinglosskorea; National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/pages/sudden.aspx