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Management of Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss Inconsistent Among Clinicians

Chicago, IL Patients seeking care for sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL) are receiving inconsistent care due to lack of established clinical practice guidelines, says new research presented at the 2008 American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO in Chicago, IL.

SSHL is a rare but serious otological event affecting between 5 and 20 people per 100,000 per year. It is defined as at least a 30 decibel loss in hearing level in three or more consecutive frequencies occurring within a three-day period. The exact etiology of SSHL is unknown, but requires immediate evaluation by a trained health professional.

Despite the serious nature of this event, researchers noted after an extensive evaluation of the research that there are no official guidelines or position statements from professional organizations concerning the evaluation and treatment of SSHL. This study found that patients may seek care from a variety of health practitioners and the management of SSHL varies between generalists and otolaryngologists, but is fairly consistent within the specialist community, and generally includes oral steroids and anti-viral medications.

This new research calls attention to the need for evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for SSHL.

Adapted from materials provided by American Academy of Otolaryngology ead and Neck Surgery [www.ent.org], via EurekAlert! [www.eurekalert.org/], a service of AAAS.

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