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Diagnose Hörsturz - the silent suffering

We love to listen to the sounds - important that what we hear works well.
Photo: Corbis
  1. When the ear feels numb
  2. How can I notice a hearing loss?
  3. How does the numbness feeling come about?
  4. Can stress damage your hearing?
  5. How is the disease best treated?

When the ear feels numb

How the infarction develops in the inner ear, which therapies help the best.

The feelings came without warning. Birgit Dreyer suddenly felt a strong pressure on her left ear during breakfast. Shortly thereafter, the 67-year-old could barely hear. When the symptoms did not subside after a few hours, the retiree drove to the ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT). The disturbing diagnosis: sudden deafness!

How can I notice a hearing loss?

The hearing loss almost always announces itself by a strong pressure, usually on only one ear. This is followed by a severe hearing impairment, the affected ear feels strangely numb. Along with this, dizziness and tormenting noises, the so-called tinnitus, can occur.

How does the numbness feeling come about?

The main cause is a so-called ear infarction, a circulatory disorder in the smallest vessels of the inner ear. There, the hair cells sit. These sensory cells are used to record acoustic stimuli. If they receive too little blood and oxygen, the vibrations of the sounds are no longer transmitted to the brain.

Episode: The affected person listens badly. If the hair cells do not work for an extended period of time, they die and are beyond saving. However, when treated early, hearing returns to more than 80 percent of the time. As soon as you feel a sudden numbness, it is important to go to the specialist immediately, at the latest after two days.

Can stress damage your hearing?

Experts are sure that mental stress will destroy the cells of the inner ear. The stress is caused, for example, by excessive effort, too much noise or traumatic experiences. The symptoms can be amplified by virus infections, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, hypertension or smoking. So who gives up smoking, not only lowers his high blood pressure risk, but is also less susceptible to a hearing loss.

How is the disease best treated?

Using a hearing test (audiogram), the doctor first determines whether the ear has already been damaged. There are different therapies. Which is the right one, the doctor decides individually. The main treatment methods:

1. Infusion therapy: A so-called plasma expander is administered daily by drip for two weeks. This ensures that the blood thins. In addition, preparations are prescribed, which stimulate the blood circulation.

2. Cortisone therapy: In many cases it has proved useful to administer cortisone preparations, for example by syringe. For this, the doctor must after a local anesthesia with a fine needle through the eardrum piksen. Thus, the active ingredient reaches the middle ear in higher concentrations, can be diffused into the inner ear. The injection stops inflammation, which is often responsible for circulatory disturbances in the ear. In addition, swelling can be reduced and the pressure on the ear decreases considerably.

In about eight out of ten sufferers, the symptoms of an acute hearing loss improve within the first three days. Only in rare cases can it come to a hole in the eardrum or to suffering like middle ear inflammations. But fortunately there are also very effective healing methods.