Sudden sensorineural hearing loss is usually unilateral and can be associated with tinnitus and vertigo. In most cases the cause is not identified, although various infective, vascular, and immune causes have been proposed. A careful examination is needed to exclude life threatening or treatable causes such as vascular events and malignant diseases, and patients should be referred urgently for further assessment. About half of patients completely recover, usually in about 2 weeks. Many treatments are used, including corticosteroids, antiviral drugs, and vasoactive and oxygen-based treatments. Although no treatment is proven, we recommend a short course of oral high-dose corticosteroids. There is much to learn about pathogenesis of sudden sensorineural hearing loss, and more clinical trials are needed to establish evidence-based management.
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