A sudden change in hearing is never normal and it must be addressed immediately. Any patients reporting a sudden hearing loss will typically be seen the same day. If we are not able to see you on the same day our clinic staff will make a recommendation for you to attend another facility as soon as possible. It is imperative that this situation be treated as a medical emergency because of the possible causes.
Sudden onset hearing loss can be caused by a range of factors, including wax build-up closing off the ear canal, a viral infection or, in the worst-case scenario, a brain tumor. A brain tumor is rare in these instances, but it is a possibility that should not be ignored.
When patients attend the clinic for hearing tests in these circumstances they will be evaluated for wax build up. If there is no wax build-up the hearing test proceeds as usual. If wax is presenting an issue, it can typically be removed with ease. If the hearing has returned to normal levels, there is no further cause for concern.
If upon conclusion of the hearing test a hearing loss is present, I typically advise patients that they should immediately follow up with a physician. The physician will assess the patient for further treatment, including a likely referral to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist, steroid/anti-viral medications and/or an MRI.
As I said, sudden onset hearing loss is very serious and must be addressed immediately. Patients should not assume that wax build up is the cause in any case. Patients should consider sudden changes in hearing an emergency medical situation and address it accordingly.
Anyone experiencing a sudden change in hearing should call the clinic at (416) 792-9400 and request a same-day appointment. We will do everything possible to rearrange our schedule for you to attend immediately.