It is agreed that sudden single-sided deafness is an emergency that is typically treated with corticosteroids. The question is, what route of treatment is best? Or, more specifically, is the intratympanic route as effective and fraught with fewer adverse effects than the time-honored systemic route?
Explore this issue:April 2006
Investigators in an ongoing Phase III clinical trial, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, hope to emerge with a definitive answer to this question. In separate phone interviews, one of the participating investigators and two other experts in sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) discussed the importance and timeliness of the trial.
This is a well-known condition that all otolaryngologists learn about in residency, said Steven D. Rauch, MD, Associate Professor of Otology and Laryngology at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass. It’s one of the few otologic emergencies. The best epidemiologic data suggest it strikes one person per 5,000 per year. In metropolitan Boston, for example, this would mean that 300 or 400 people per year develop idiopathic SSNHL. It’s a fairly common problem.