The Link Between Sudden Hearing Loss and Strokes

Last update on May, 21, 2018

The facts are grim: Strokes kill approximately 140,000 Americans each year and is a leading cause of serious, long-term disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition, stroke costs the U.S. an estimated $34 billion annually, states the CDC, including the cost of health care services, medicines for treatment and missed days of work.

Hearing loss treatment and stroke prevention

On a more positive note, up to 80% of strokes may be preventable, says the American Stroke Association, by controlling high blood pressure, increasing physical activity, stopping smoking, losing weight, eating healthier and adopting other measures. (Click here for more details on stroke prevention.)

For those who suffer a stroke, prompt treatment can significantly improve the survival rate and preserve quality of life. The Stroke Association urges people to call 911 if they observe someone experiencing the three primary symptoms of stroke: face drooping, arm weakness and difficulty with speech.

Research conducted in Taiwan points to another possible early indicator of stroke — sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL). Published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, the 2008 study suggests that a sudden loss of hearing might foreshadow a cerebrovascular event (stroke) as much as two years before it happens.

The researchers caution against making a clear-cut connection between SSHL and stroke. However, individuals who experience a sudden loss of hearing should seek immediate medical attention. There are a number of other potential underlying causes of SSHL, including infectious diseases, head injuries, autoimmune diseases, ototoxic drugs and disorders of the inner ear.

American Stroke Month: Take action

During May, which is American Stroke Month, Amplifon Hearing Health Care encourages you to make stroke prevention and early treatment a priority with your members or employees. The American Stroke Association offers many educational resources you can deploy in your communications.

When SSHL does occur, it affects one or both ears, and it may be temporary or permanent. Depending on the cause, SSHL may be treated with steroids or other drugs. If the hearing loss is diagnosed as permanent, amplification (hearing aids) may help the individual regain all or some hearing ability.

A couple talking with an Amplifon hearing professional in an Amplifon center
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