People who experience a sudden hearing loss (SSNHL) are often treated with systemic steroids, which are taken orally. Studies however show that people with sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) who do not respond to this treatment can benefit from intratympanic steroid injections. Studies carried out at universities in USA and Thailand show intratympanic steroid injections to be very effective and that the treatment does not have any side-effects.
Dr. David Haynes from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, USA, carried out the study of 40 people who had experienced sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL). Overall, 40% showed some kind of improvement when treated with intratympanic steroid injections.
The remaining two procedures, vetibular neurectomy and labyrinthectomy, are ways of eliminating the balance function of the faulty ear. It is known that individuals will function better with one normal balance system than with one normal and one faulty system. The labyrinthectomy is a procedure in which the mastoid bone is removed and the inner ear is eliminated. This procedure is for patients that have lost usable hearing in the affected ear, as it entails removing all function of the inner ear, including hearing and balance. The change from having two balance systems to having one balance system alone does require a recovery or "compensation" period. It takes the brain a period of weeks to figure out that only one system is active and that it is no longer receiving information from the faulty system which it had come to expect. The second procedure, the vestibular neurectomy, is a good option if the hearing is good in the ear with the failing balance system. In this surgical procedure, the balance nerve (vestibular nerve) is cut between the inner ear and the brain. The inner ear is completely preserved but the faulty balance information is not able to reach the brain and cause the vertigo. Like the labyrinthectomy, this procedure requires a recovery period while the brain "figures out" the new situation.