August 13, 2020 Your Source for Brentwood News

Preventing Sudden Hearing Loss at Alexander Audiology

Santa Monica’s Dr. Melissa Alexander discusses sudden idiopathic hearing loss

Sudden idiopathic hearing loss, or sudden deafness, is an unexplained and rapid loss of hearing in one ear. Cases of sudden deafness have increased within the last few years, leaving patients susceptible to permanent damage if left untreated. 

Dr. Melissa Alexander, an audiologist based in Santa Monica, has worked with numerous patients who experienced sudden deafness. “I was working for one of the top hearing clinics in the world,” Alexander began. “We would see maybe one in a thousand cases where a patient would wake up or experience throughout the day that one ear suddenly decreased in hearing randomly and spontaneously. They would come in to have their hearing tested, and we found that it is a virus of unknown origin that attacks the ear.”

In some cases, the issue resolves itself spontaneously. “In most cases, they don’t,” Alexander continued. “It can cause permanent ringing in the ear called tinnitus, and it can also cause permanent hearing loss.”

Through her own private practice, Alexander noticed a startling increase in patients seeking treatment for sudden deafness. “For my ten years of practice in total, I might’ve seen maybe 20 cases. Now in three and a half years, I’ve seen 170 cases,” Alexander explained. “I talked to other audiologists and ear, nose and throat doctors who are also noting a high incidence of this happening. The unfortunate part is we don’t know why it’s happening.”

Despite its severity, most patients are unaware that sudden deafness is considered a medical emergency. “If you feel that randomly or spontaneously your hearing is down in one ear, or you have sudden ringing or tinnitus happening in one ear, that is an indication that you should be treated,” Alexander explained. “Get to an audiologist that day and potentially get treated with steroids by an ear, nose and throat doctor immediately.”

Patients diagnosed with sudden deafness either receive a high dose of oral steroids or a combination that includes a steroid injection past the eardrum into the middle ear space that absorbs into the blood stream. The window of treatment is 24 to 48 hours, and if that time frame passes, there’s an elevated chance that the damage is permanent. 

If patients seek medical help immediately, they have a higher chance of preventing permanent hearing loss. “One patient was referred to me by his ear, nose and throat doctor. The patient in particular already had no hearing in one ear,” Alexander explained. “He was a veteran, and he had an acoustic blast trauma where it wiped out the hearing in one ear. The opposite ear now had potentially a sudden idiopathic hearing loss where we thought the hearing was down. We tested him, and the hearing was 60 percent down in the only ear he had remaining that was functional.” 

By the time testing was completed, it was about 6:30 in the evening, and the ear, nose and throat doctor who referred the patient was gone for the day. Alexander continued, “I managed to page their service and get him to get a prescription right away. The patient didn’t really understand that he needed to be treated that moment. He said, ‘Well, I’ll wait til the morning when my pharmacy opens.’ And I said, ‘Sir, you cannot wait until the morning. You have to do this right now.’ He ended up following our directions. He got the steroid treatment and his hearing came back entirely. If he had waited until that morning, the likelihood is very little that he would have regained hearing.”

In cases where sudden deafness results in permanent hearing loss, patients still have options, including wearing a transmitter that looks like a hearing aid. “Let’s say your right ear is affected,” Alexander explains. “Somebody standing on your right side could speak to you and the left ear would pick it up because that transmitter on the poor ear routes the sound to the better ear.” 

Above all else, Alexander recommends seeking medical attention as soon as possible. “Telling the doctor’s office that this is an emergency situation, my hearing is down and I suspect sudden deafness is a red flag that we know in the medical community to get that patient in immediately.”

For more information about Alexander Audiology, visit alexanderaudiology.com, call (424) 738-3778, follow on Facebook and Instagram @alexanderaudiology or find them on Yelp.

Related Posts

One of LA’s Premier Bakeries Coming to Brentwood

August 13, 2020

August 13, 2020

Westside Food Scene August 13-20 By Kerry Slater Brentwood getting an artisan bakery. Gordon Ramsey opening a Westside restaurant? Enterprise...

Edify TV: Westside Fruit Stands

August 13, 2020

August 13, 2020

Despite a dining scene that is rapidly changing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fruit stands on the Westside have remained...

Brentwood Resident in the White House?

August 13, 2020

August 13, 2020

Brentwood resident Senator Kamala Harris running for VP By Sam Catanzaro  Could a Brentwood resident soon be in the White...

Screen Sitters Helping Busy Parents During the COVID-19 Pandemic

August 12, 2020

August 12, 2020

Creating an enriching experience for virtual learning By Toi Creel As millions of parents across the world have been forced...

Video Service Captures Memories With Loved Ones Before Tragedy Arises

August 12, 2020

August 12, 2020

Preserving memories with Von Runtenberg Memories By Toi Creel One of the most difficult things to go through in life...

County Surpasses 5,000 COVID-19 Deaths

August 11, 2020

August 11, 2020

Hospitalizations continue to decline By Sam Catanzaro L.A. County reached a somber milestone Tuesday of over 5,000 COVID- 19 deaths....

Edify TV: Westsiders Embracing Aquatic Activities

August 10, 2020

August 10, 2020

While social and physical distancing continues, Westsiders have been taking to the ocean for some sunshine and recreation. Learn more...

Local Pet Resort and Spa Helping Frontline Workers: Brentwood Beat – August, 10, 2020

August 10, 2020

August 10, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Local Pet Resort and Spa Helping Frontline Workers * Coronavirus Cases...

Edify TV: Flurry of Development in Westside Neighborhood

August 10, 2020

August 10, 2020

A Westside neighborhood, known for its ramen restaurants and all things Japanese, is undergoing a flurry of development. Learn more...

Edify TV: Notable Westside Properties Hit Market

August 10, 2020

August 10, 2020

From architecturally unique houses in Venice and Pacific Palisades to a property once valued at $100 million in Bel Air,...

L.A. County Exceeds 200,000 Positive COVID-19 Cases

August 6, 2020

August 6, 2020

Younger adults continue to make up the majority of new COVID-19 cases County health officials say. The Los Angeles County...

Open Air Homes: Bringing High-End Rentals to LA

August 6, 2020

August 6, 2020

By Toi Creel In 2012 Brad Greiner, an independent filmmaker found himself in a financial pinch where he could no...

2 Brentwood Students Win Prestigious Scholarship and Mentoring

August 6, 2020

August 6, 2020

Lena Jones, Hannah Kim of The Archer School named Milken Scholars Two Brentwood high school students have won prestigious scholarships...

Former UCLA Doctor Facing Additional Sexual Assault Chargers: Brentwood Beat – August, 6, 2020

August 6, 2020

August 6, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Former UCLA Doctor Facing Additional Sexual Assault Chargers * LA Will...

Nursing Home Visitors: Improvement, but Not Much

August 4, 2020

August 4, 2020

By Tom Elias, Brentwood News Columnist The good news in California nursing homes this summer is that some are allowing...

Comments
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *