How to treat?
Firstly it is necessary to have a review with an ENT surgeon or audiologist to check the ear and carry out a hearing test. This will confirm the diagnosis. Early presentation is important as early treatment carries a better outcome (ideally the first 3 weeks)
These include doing nothing, taking high dose oral steroids reducing over 8 days or considering injection of steroids directly into the middle ear.
It is possible for the hearing to return spontaneously but most patients will opt for the steroid treatment unless there are contraindications. Taking the steroids can be a challenge particularly with regards poor sleep and feeling on edge but most patients cope relatively well.
Sometimes a second course of steroids is needed if there has only been a partial response. If there has been no response then there is the option of intraympanic injection of steroids into the middle ear.
If the hearing loss fails to recover then it will be necessary to carry out an MRI scan of the brain to exclude an intracranial cause but this is extremely rare