Vitamin B12 in a syringe ready for injection with vials in the background, antipsychotic drugs

Sudden hearing loss is a frightening occurrence that affects one person in 20,000 every year. While doctors often are unable to find the cause of the deafness that becomes apparent in 72 hours or less, they may be successful in treating it with oral steroid medicine such as prednisone. Prompt treatment is essential for good results.

Now a study suggests that patients suffering from sudden hearing loss may also benefit from steroid injections directly through the eardrum. This allows for a higher dose at the middle ear without as many systemic side effects as oral medication. The investigators found that both treatments are equally effective, though injections are likely to cost more than generic oral steroids.

[JAMA, May 25, 2011]

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  1. Lana

    I was diagnosed with conductive hearing loss 7 years ago. Had some hearing but lived with that. Three weeks ago I woke up with a plugged ear-no hearing. Went to my dr. and no infection, fluid or wax. Went to an Audiologist for hearing test. Profound hearing loss. My dr. sent me to a ENT.
    On steroids now for 12 days and a MRI this Friday. If nothing shows u p will have a injection into the inner ear. SO will see where that goes. Am 70 years old. Very annoying not to hear.

  2. Mary

    Would love to correspond with anyone I can
    This is a horrible ordeal
    I do have to say on a positive note that I had a cochlear implant the first time I went deaf and if it weren’t for that I would be totally deaf from just losing hearing in other ear
    Cochlear implants do work

  3. Azadeh

    I lost hearing in my left ear suddenly. I hear noise in my left ear. It is so bad and I cannot stand noise.
    I had a question: Do I become better after four injections in my ear?

    • Terry Graedon

      Possibly, but that would be better answered by your ear doctor.

    • Lesley

      I lost 100% of my hearing in my right ear on Sept 6th with no warning. I started oral prednisone the following day and stepped up treatment to prednisone injections directly into the ear on September 16th. I have had 3 injections with no hearing re-gained and the tinnitus seems to be worsening by the day to the point it is debilitating. Has anyone else experienced this?

      • Peggy

        I have had Meniere’s since 2000 with hearing loss only in the right ear. In 2015 I had hearing loss in my left ear and the tinnitus began. I had the steroid shots in my left ear in 2010 with no help at all for the vertigo attacks. I just had my first shot in my right ear and I think it is helping the vertigo but it hasn’t even been a week yet. I was told that it wouldn’t help the Tinnitus and it hasn’t. I was fitted for hearing aids last August and I was told that should help the Tinnitus in approximately a year.
        Good luck to you because I know exactly what you are going through.

      • Mary
        New Jersey

        I went deaf overnite in2009 and then started with oral prédisone and 6 weeks later injections
        Didn’t work so had a cochlear implant
        Then feb 25 2017 started losing hearing in other ear
        Got to ent
        24 hrs later and she gave me first shot
        Hearing declined in 72 hrs
        Went back fir 2 nd shot a week later
        Hearing totally gone
        Dr put me on oral prédisone as well and a diarectic
        Went back yesterday for 3 rd shot
        Going to try one more shot next week
        Trying to stay hopeful but difficult
        Tinnitus rough but as trauma of hearing loss dimed his that will too
        My sympathies to all
        This is brutal

  4. Laura

    I lost all my hearing in my left ear three five days ago. I had my first steroid injection today and I’m picking up my prescription for pills in the morning. No improvement yet. It’s so scary! And such a weird feeling

    • Lesley

      Did the injections help you? I’ve had 3 with no results – I have 100% loss in my right ear. And the tinnitus is approaching unbearable.

      • Nancy

        I lost all but 20% In my right ear. Just woke up with a plugged feeling in the ear. Have taken 6 depomedrol shots in that ear over a 4 mth period. I now have 32% in that ear. My ent said that the 7th and 8 th time usually produce the most repair to the hearing. Will see…and will update.

  5. Brosting

    On 9th May 2016, as I got down from my Vehicle for a game of badminton, I suddenly heard a loud ringing sound in my left ear. I thought that it will go away after sometime, I played under that condition for one hour but still the sound did not go away and just after 2 to 3 Hrs I lost complete hearing on the left ear (its so annoying). The next day, I visited an ENT doc in Bethany Hospital Shillong, and I was told that I suffered from SSHL. To find out the actual cause, a Pure Tone Audiometry, an RBS and MRI test was performed but the reason for the sudden hearing lost could not be ascertained. Now even after one week of oral steroid there has been no improvement at all the left ear still completely deft. The Doc advised me to go for Direct Injection in to the ear drums tomorrow between 10 AM to 11 AM. I do not know what to do. Please, if somebody out there with the same condition got any improvement after the injection and also I would like to know whether it is a one time or repetitive procedure.

    • Azadeh

      It is because of stress and weakness of body.

  6. Jack
    Marina del rey ca

    How much do the injections in the ear hurt(pain)
    Should I take pain meds before.
    Any help will be appreiated

  7. Chris

    I had a severe vertigo episode January 1, and lost all hearing in my right ear. I was able to get on prednisone 3 days later, 60 mg per day for 7days, taper for a week. Still no hearing improvement. I will be starting steroid injections on day 26 which is nearly to the 4 week time limit, so I don’t have much hope that it will help. When I was first diagnosed I was told most people recover their hearing, so I didn’t think the option of steroid injection was needed, but now I wished I had done that. Still probably wouldn’t have worked, but my odds would’ve been a little greater.

    My question to all of you is how active are you? I had the same Dizziness (slight and non-responsive to Epley or similar maneuvers) when I was being a big couch potato, then I hit my busy season at work and was walking much of the day and the slight dizziness went away. This new episode, while different in that it was proceeded by a severe vertigo attack happened again during my ‘couch potato’ season. I wish I had followed through with the appt. my regular doctor set up with a neurologist when I had that earlier slight dizzy spell, but I cancelled it after the symptoms went away thinking it must be the same inner ear problem I’ve had before (which did respond to Epley maneuvers).

  8. YN

    Today 8/7/15 I have my first cortisone injection in my left ear, it wasn’t painful at all, after a few episodes of dizziness and some hearing loss from Meniere’s disease.

    • Laina
      Naples FL USA

      Had a young client …20’s….go through a battery of tests with those vertigo etc symptoms. FINALLY….he was diagnosed as diabetic!

  9. Esther

    August of 2014,I was sitting on the side of my bed and my right ear had the sensation of being up in an airplane, altitude change, I immediately realized the ear was muffled, my daughter,a nurse was there and suggested a nasal spray, I used it for 10 days, then went to my family dr, she said my blood pressure was up so she would not prescribe steroids, but antibioctics, I made appt for ent and he informed me the window of treatment had passed( 6 weeks) I was very upset with the mds decision to not give me steroids, ent put me on 4 weeks of oral, no results, then after mri, bloodwork ect, ent administered injections into my ear, as of 7-2015, I have only 10 percent hearing, I was told that I cannot benefit from a hearing aid

  10. Neenie

    I recently lost complete hearing in my right ear. The day after I went to my gp who suggested I see an ENT. As I am pregnant I called my gyno and he suggested for me to call his colleague who immediately put me on prednisone and gave me a referal to see a more specialized ENT.

    Over a week later I seen him and he said my ear is what is called a “Dead Ear” absolutely no hearing and very slim chances of having any hearing return and that he will try the steroid injections (cost me $250) but most likely won’t work and that I will need a cochlear implant (I’m only 26yr old).
    Feeling very scared and alone.

    • Scarlet
      Ny, ny

      I’m 24 years old and suffered from single sided deafness of the left ear since 2013. I became accustomed to the new life style with two toddlers. I’m currently 31 weeks pregnant and recently lost my hearing in the right ear as well. They attempted to give me steroids through i.v with no success in returning my hearing. Now they’re suggesting the injection. You are not alone. I’m hoping it works. Has anyone had a positive result with these injections? Does it hurt?

      • Bruni
        San Mateo, CA

        Hi Scarlet,

        I am 34 years old mom of 2 beautiful children. My boy is 4 and my daughter 2, I am a very active person… April 19 I wok up with no hearing in my left ear. An ENT put me on Prednisone it didn’t work after 3 months of dealing with this I went to a different Dr. I was told it was late to do anything, August 29 I got an Injection. No body told me how much it would hurt, I cried… I almost fainted, I waited 30 minutes and I came home with my 2 children… While I was driving I was still crying… Hope you got your hearing back… Enjoy your babies!!

        I would love to hear from your results with the injection!!

      • Mason

        Did you lose your hearing the first time during pregnancy? Have you been diagnosed with autoimmune inner ear disease?

      • Paula
        Arlington Heights, IL

        Hi Scarlett,
        I don’t know how much my message will help as it’s been awhile since you last wrote. A few years ago
        while driving home from work my left ear “shut off”.

        It was the strangest thing. As soon as I got home I made an appointment with an ENT who told me about the injection but I’d have to see a specialist. He said it was imperative that I get the injection ASAP in order
        for a positive result (no guarantee). I made the appointment, and got the shot which was extremely painful! I, too, cried as I drove home. Three days later as I spoke with a friend on the phone, my hearing returned!

        The first doctor I saw had emphasized the importance of getting the shot as soon as possible in order to see any results.
        This injection has to be the most painful I’ve ever had . It wasn’t the needle that caused the pain, it was the filling up the inner ear with fluid. The initial sensation was intense dizziness lasting about the longest minute I’ve ever experienced, followed by excruciating pain!! The pain was with me for about 6
        hours; diminishing with time. Nothing touched it;
        it was just THERE! My advise to those thus afflicted
        would be to move immediately and face the pain. The immediate injection seems to be the only possible remedy for “Sudden hearing loss”.
        PS I was around 67 when I had my experience. Recently, I’ve been having mild pain in the same ear and will need to have it checked out. Good luck.

    • Mason

      How did you go? Any hearing return? I’m in exactly the same situation :(

  11. Andrewcall

    I had hearing loss. Totally deaf in left ear on holiday in Greece. Doctor gave me pills and nasal spray which didn’t work.
    Sent me to an ear specialist whom injected me with steroids. Few days later my hearing improved around 90%. The injections cost me €6. So think you guys were getting ripped off with the $7000 price tag
    Also for seeing him four times and the injections my overall price was €200. So if your hearing goes then go on holiday to Greece and get it done over their. A lot cheaper

  12. Hopeful

    My left ear hearing loss from June 15 ended up at about 50%. It is still hard to understand at times and I watch TV with closed captioning on. I had three steroid injections spaced a week apart. I am now using a hearing aid in my right ear, which helps immensely. If you have a sudden hearing loss, insist on the injections immediately. I wish I had done that. I started after one week and best results are starting within 72 hours.
    I am Catholic and also pray to Saint Katherine Drexell for help with my hearing problems.

    • Laina
      Naples FL USA

      I had probably 50% of use-able with speech hearing most of my life. I am amazed at how RUDE AND IGNORANT most are toward me since four years ago when I got worse fairly suddenly. It was bad enough since childhood.

      There needs to be education on how to treat hearing impaired with respect! And how to COMMUNICATE with us.

      For God’s sake. …it’s like any other handicap.
      Shame on those who are rude to us….but for the Grace of God go YOU I want to tell them.

  13. NIK T

    Today is 22 Feb 2013. On the 22 Jan 2013 I woke up in the morning (4am) due to some heavy piercing sound on my rt ear & when I touch it ( rt ear) I realized that I totally loss the hearing sensation. After 14 hrs I met the doc & he prescribed me some nuero cap & tab ( Nue+ , cortimax). 1 week after taking the medicine I went to the hospital (NEIGRIHMS-Shillong) for more checkup ( rt ear hearing sensation still zero) where they done the MRI (ear & brain), Blood test,etc.. where all the report is Normal. So on day no.20 ( of hearing loss) they (NEIGRIHMS’s doctor ENT) injected me with the steroid (Depo Medrol 40mg) with a one week gap & also gave vertin 24mg twice a day for 1 month. Till today my rt ear hearing power is totally NIL (no improvement at all). I just had my 2nd injection on the 18 Feb 2013. Please suggest what should I do. I am 38 years old (male).

  14. Hopeful

    Today is June 30, 2012. I woke up on June 15, 2012 with a roaring in my ears, stuffy and running nose and no hearing. My family doctor gave me antibiotics, a shot of cortisone and nose spray. After two days the hearing was no better and I went to urgent care where they prescribed stronger antibiotics and ear drops.
    Two days later, I went to an ear surgeon. They gave me a cortisone injection on June 21. A week later they said I had 10% improvement and gave me another injection. I have an appointment for July 6 for a final injection. I am hoping this works. I do hear much better even if it is only a 10% increase because my other ear is compensating.

  15. Justin

    Today was week three since my sshl onset. I had severe to profound loss, I completed two weeks of 60mg prednisone with taper. I got back almost 25%, my first doctor said it was a hopeful sign and said I didn’t need the injections, so I humored it for one week until I had a conversation with a friends father. He had profound loss and his doctor administered prednisone and injections.
    Within one month and a few days he got back 90% and within a year back to 100. So I went and saw another doctor and he said the injections where a great idea and not to wait. Injections hurt and I’m currently suffering from a headache. The charge was almost $2,000 but at 30 years of age, the gamble was worth it. Not to jinx anything but I feel that I have heard a rise and I hope it will continue. Sad person did they work for you?

    • Laura

      I just had my first injection today. I went deaf in my left ear five days ago. I’m scared no improvement yet

  16. lt

    I just had sudden hearing loss on my rt ear and I am on steroid therapy pred 60mg/d for one wk. My doctor wants me to come for injection treatment after two days of starting oral med. Do u think I should go for injection or see the oral steroid result?

  17. sadperson

    How much do injections normally cost? My doctor gave me three steroidal injections (one per week) for my left ear sudden hearing loss last month and charged me about $7000 each injection and total cost about $21000. I don’t understand why it costs so much? The injection procedure only took about 5 mins. The description for injection is Labyrinthotomy Transcanal. Is Labyrinthotomy Transcanal equal to steroidal injection? Please help me to figure out.

    • Mary

      Go for injection in ear or a combination of oral and injection
      Can’t hurt and maybe a diarectic

  18. lynda

    After a hysterectomy, I experienced complete hearing loss in one ear within 3 days. An audiologist prescribed an oral steroid which was taken for approximately 3 weeks. Fortunately, my hearing returned after finishing the medication. For me it was a ”miracle” as no one could promise anything. I always wondered if it was related to the use of a penicillin related drug administered prior to surgery even though I reported that I was allergic to penicillin. No answers were ever found.

  19. Paul43

    I would also like to hear the answer to OLDETIMER’S question

  20. Oldetimer

    What are the clinical differences between “Sudden” Hearing Loss and the more general or conventional types of hearing loss? Why wouldn’t the latter type be appropriate for the injections?

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