Sudden hearing loss: Am I a candidate for hearing aids?

Hi! I’m new to this forum, and I’d really appreciate some advice on my situation. I experienced sudden hearing loss in my right ear a little over a month ago, and at first I had severe/profound loss in the 6K and 8K frequencies. I had another hearing test today after taking prednisone and receiving 3 steroid shots in my ear. My audiogram improved a little, but there is still a loss of 60 DB at 6K and 65 DB at 8K. Thankfully, my hearing is fine in all of the other frequencies below 6K.

One of the hardest parts of this whole thing has been the sudden onset of loud tinnitus that appeared with the hearing loss, and I hear it 24/7. My hearing in that ear also sounds muffled and a little distorted.

I had been hoping that I’d be a candidate for a hearing aid in hopes that amplifying the sounds that I’m not hearing anymore would calm the tinnitus. I was also hoping that a hearing aid would improve my muffled hearing, too. However, the audiologist that I saw today said that hearing aids aren’t meant to just amplify the high frequencies that I’m missing and that I should just try out using a hearing aid as a masker for my tinnitus without any amplification.

So, I have two questions:

  1. Am I not a candidate for amplification because my loss is only in the 6k and 8k frequencies?

  2. During the hearing test today, the 8K tones just sounded like static instead of actual tones. Does that mean my hearing in that frequency is useless and amplifying it would only make the static sounds louder?

Any input would be much appreciated! This sudden loss has been quite a shock, and I’d like to do whatever I can to get the best outcome as possible.

Welcome to the forum.
You have come to a great place to learn about what’s going on with your hearing.

It looks like your hearing has improved some but the tinnitus is still there. Tinnitus is different for everyone. Some get relief from just wearing aids. Others might get relief front the tinnitus masking features from phone apps or tinnitus features in hearing aids. And then there are others that get no relief from any of those things.

I remember reading these sudden hearing losses can improve over a few months. You are at one one month and did the steroids, that’s good. It could still improve from what I have read.

There are a number of members that have similar hearing loss as yours. I bet you will get much more help soon.

Good luck


Sudden unilateral hearing losses need more tests than just an audiogram. If your audi isn’t taking this seriously, find another one that is.

This part is something you need to tell them.

Not hearing pure tones indicate complicated version, from what I’ve gathered so far. In my case, where I hear brrrr instead of ummm sounds for low frequency suspects are cochlear dead regions, damaged nerve, or acoustic neuroma on the nerve. No one took my loss seriously 5 years ago when it happened, only 3 months ago when I started my trial for new aids, and started digging a lot, I got to some conclusions, and I’m on the quest to find out what exactly is damaged. In order to understand what exactly can I get from HAs and if there is any adjustment that could be made to help.
All speech I get on that ear has distortion in it, some letters less than others but it’s there.

For an illustration of that process of realisation, check my featured topic from my profile the one with journey in the title.

But, your loss is different, so you’ll need to figure out your case independently.

We might help you to understand a bit, but good audi who explains everything is the best source. Now I know how bad one I had back then.

You can try to remember what they said to you when they explained you your results, we can try to fill in the gaps.
If they didn’t explain whys, then you need to dig up, but for that you need to understand your results. Share them with us. The one in profile is called pure tone audiogram (threshold).
Then there is tympanogram, wrs (word recognition score) in quiet and noise, sentence comprehension in quiet and noise (quickSIN could be used).

They are used to help you understand what you have.

However if you don’t know the cause (like, very loud noise, ototoxic drugs and similar), then MRI to check the nerves might also be needed.
How is your balance?

All those are needed to understand the expectations from your hearing and if and how much could HAs help.

Luckily, majority of speech happens below your loss.
Also if tinnitus isn’t of some disturbing type (like beeeps) but more like white noise, your brain will get used to it once you get back in the daily routine and you won’t notice it that much.

First few months are the hardest. What might help you is to write down your thoughts and findings throughout the day and share what more you can’t hear and you could previously.

For example, if the conclusion is that it’s only tinnitus that disturbs you, you will be better armed to find best aids to help you with that. But if you notice that speaking with more than one person and especially with background noise (and of which type) is giving you trouble, then you will know to focus on aids that can work with high frequency loss and have good noise cancelling management.

But you did yourself a huge favour by coming here. By reading and searching for old posts you’ll definitely have more precise questions to ask audi or Google to help you find the answers and adjust to your new situation.

Also, check dr cliff aud on Youtube, and here’s the best practices fitting protocol for hearing aids, which can help you gather terms to navigate this new scenery.
best practices summarised by dr cliff

Welcome here and remember - don’t forget to breathe and go day by day. You probably can’t impact the damage but with knowledge you can get the best out of it. It is tough journey you were thrown into. It is easier when you’re not alone, and with that we certainly can help :smiley:


Thank you for the encouraging words! I think I’ll ask my ENT if they think I should wait another month or two before trying out a HA or masker since a little more improvement is possible.

Thank you for the thoughtful response, @Blacky. I’m sorry that you’ve experience sudden loss, too. The cause of my sudden heating loss is unknown. I was using headphones for a conference call when suddenly I started hearing ringing in my right ear. I thought that it was the headphones, but sadly the ringing remained after I took the headphone off. I do have to admit that I have been to many concerts in my lifetime, and I was a frequent user of headphones. So, I think noise damage is also playing a factor. I was supposed to have an MRI done, but I had them stop the test about 5 minutes after it started because it was SO loud! I had ear plugs in, but it still hurt my ears and I feared sitting through the entire 45 minute test would make my hearing loss and tinnitus worse.

I’ll make note of those other tests you listed and ask the next audio I see about them. I do know that my word recognition is %100. So I am lucky in that respect. However, I do have a little trouble understanding what someone is saying when there is a lot of background noise. Thank you for the Dr. Cliff reference! I have been watching his videos and they’ve been extremely informative.

Based on what you said here, I’d say you’re definitely not in a rush for main purpose of HAs, but you definitely could benefit from tinnitus relief. Be it from HAs or maybe some app? It makes no sense to suffer from it waiting what will happen if you manage to find a way to relieve it.

Everyone has a problem with loud background noise like very busy pub or restaurant, not only us here :rofl:

Test is done with 60db white noise type of noise, so, think fan and similar things (low frequency, monotonous). And if/when you start asking people to repeat themselves in situations that you wouldn’t consider difficult, then revise getting the HAs for hearing help.

Mine was overnight, quite a surprise to wake up to.

Edit: what I wanted to say - don’t worry about the graph, see how you do in everyday life, take notes if you realise you have struggle in some situations, talk with us and your audi to help you figure out best solution.

There are people with bad graph whose brains work good and they can extract a lot, and then people with similar graph who have subpar results.

Brain training is the most important thing you can do for your hearing once you experience hearing loss, and repeat it regularly. One easy way that is often recommended here is to listen audio books on that ear only and of course, really listen and trying to understand the book to focus your brain on listening, not doing seven other things in parallel.

1 Like

That’s not a noise damage loss.

Sudden single sided losses should always be seen by an ENT, to see if there’s the opportunity to rescue it with steriods.


I also have SSHL - sudden sensorineural hearing loss. Initially occurred Oct 2014. My then PCP decided I had a hearing infection and treated with antibiotics, rather than getting me in to an ENT asap. It was more than 3 weeks before I saw the ENT, he was furious. Because if SSHL is going to be cured at all it has to be addressed asap.

Like you I had the intratympanic steriod injections. There was a slight improvement which surprised the ENT, so after waiting a short time (can’t remember now if it was 1 week or 2) we repeated the 3 injections. The improvement did not last.

I then got one hearing aid, just for that ear, and it helped quite a lot. Best part was that hearing SOUND meant the tinnitus dimmed. It was a nuisance at night, removing the hearing aid the tinnitus got louder.

In my case, we know the cause: prolonged use of high doses of NSAIDs for my osteoarthritis pain (my knee surgeon insisted I had to put off total knee replacements until I was older). Sept 2019 I had another major episode, the first ear got worse and the second ear was also hit. I bought a new pair of hearing aids in Nov 2019. I can hear pretty well, but my word recognition is low. And the tinnitus is a constant part of my life. In between those times I relocated from RI to MA, and the MA ENT thinks that autoimmune is likely a big part of my hearing loss, along with the NSAIDs. (I have 3 autoimmune diseases, and sshl can be an AI as well).

I would encourage you to do a trial or 2 of different hearing aids, incorporating info the other good folks on here suggest. See what happens when you work with adjustments. And since the audi you saw is so negative I would also see another audiologist, sort of like a second opinion.

If you haven’t had a chance to browse on the forum, CostCo is a good place to go for hearing aids. Their pricing, trial period and other features make them an excellent choice.


Hi @Freedom! Thank you for sharing your story. I’m so sorry that you’ve had more than one episode of SSNHL! That is comforting to hear that a hearing aid did help you a lot after your first episode. Do you mind if I ask how severe your loss was at that time? I’m feeling pretty bummed today at the thought that I might have a cochlear dead region at 8K since all I hear at that range is static. Funny you mention moving. I’m moving today and tomorrow as if I didn’t already have enough stressful things going on in my life right now, ah! I will be talking to some different audiologist to see what my options are. Take care!

She did say she was treated with prednisone.

1 Like

She said she had the intratympanic injections and prednisone.

1 Like

Hearing loss first time was mild, audiologist at the ENT office said I didn’t need a hearing aid as there wasn’t enough loss. I visited another audi and then went to CostCo. I’ll see if I can find and share my test report from back then. Once upon a time I had all my tests on here, but then something went goofy and it wasn’t showing my most recent one, so I had to delete all that.

Thank you! Sounds like I’ll have to check out CostCo, too.

Sudden loss can have many causes. But when it is unilateral, as the colleague above answered, it hardly has its origin in the noises, although it is not totally discarded.
The most important thing is to start corticosteroids in the first 48 hours, where the chances of partial reversal are better. The return to hearing thresholds before loss, however, is almost never expected. Knowledge is sorely lacking. In February of that year I had a sudden loss.

My hearing has been bad since adolescence, with neural sensory loss probably caused by acoustic trauma and / or ototoxic drugs.

My current otolaryngologist says that the condition today is aggravated by autoimmune conditions. But this loss that I had on the night of the 2nd to the 3rd of February this year, dropped my thresholds by 40dB, dropping from 60 to 100dB. The problem was that it took me a month to see my doctor and that certainly made the difference so that I could not recover at least part of the lost thresholds.

For this reason, as the colleague mentioned above, sudden hearing loss needs to be treated and investigated and not investigated and treated, as there is no time wasted investigating first and then treating, as each day that passes is a percentage of your chance to reverse the loss that vanishes. And regardless of the diagnosis, the therapeutic approach is almost always the same: corticosteroids.

As you have already gone through the therapeutic approach, you need to investigate the causes further, as you will know how to act better if other episodes of sudden loss come and you will be better prepared to have quick responses. I wish you good luck.


Your experience sounds a lot like mine.

If you are familiar with audio they used to say 3.1 sound (speakers are L, R, center and the .1 is the subwoofer), then 5.1 and up and up. I now call myself 1.1 hearing because I have L and one subwoofer ear only. And of course the L is not great either.

1 Like

Hell, I loved your comparison with the channel audio system. I’ll start using it now to explain losses like ours, hahahah
:smile: :smile:

Hi, sorry for your sudden hearing loss and tinnitus! BEFORE you spend money on hearing aids, try to determine what caused your sudden loss. I am a Pharmacist and know that numerous meds can cause hearing loss. I experienced horrible tinnitus in ONE ear for months after taking ciprofloxacin, a commonly used antibiotic. This is regarded to be RARE for this med, but is common and well known with others.

The point is that sometimes the hearing loss and/or tinnitus is permanent and sometimes NOT. I was lucky. The tinnitus vanished after a few months.

IF you know the cause or can determine what it was, you might be able to determine whether or not it will vanish.


Oh wow, that is awesome that your tinnitus went away a few months after taking the antibiotic! I appreciate the tip on medications. When my SSNHL struck, I hadn’t been taking any medications at all. Since the hearing loss, I’ve been as careful as possible about what medications I take because I certainly don’t want to make it worse! Unfortunately, I have had to resort to an occasional sleep aid because the tinnitus and related stress has caused me many sleepless nights. I also tried Melatonin, and unfortunately, it didn’t agree with me. If you have any suggestions on what I might be able to take for sleep without hurting my ears I’d love to hear them. Thanks!

Do you have ANY idea what caused the sudden loss? Sudden usually has some root cause. Have you at least called your regular physician about this?

I have a good idea what caused my gradual hearing loss: a combination of three factors:

1 - genetics
2 - age
3 - putting a speaker at either side of my head and blasting “Innagoddadavida” as loud as my equipment allowed back in grad school. In retrospect, not too bright!

Melatonin and I do not get along well, either! I feel hungover all the next day and without a buzz, what a drag!

I am loath to recommend meds to anyone but if you are under 65, diphenhydramine (brand name Benadryl; but generics are fine) 25mg SHOULD do the trick and with a fairly good safety record. I was taught that there is NO SUCH thing as a “safe” drug.

BTW, it does NOT matter if the drug is labeled for SLEEP OR as an ANTIHISTAMINE. SAME STUFF!

1 Like

Nope, not a clue! At first I thought it was because I used headphones often and have been to many concerts without ear protection. My ENT, and two different audiologists have both said neither of those things would have caused a sudden loss like mine, so I’m stumped! I hadn’t been to a concert for at least 6 months before the hearing loss occurred, and no other recent loud noise exposure. I’m sure the headphones and concerts damaged some hearing, and would have lead to gradual hearing loss if I hadn’t had this sudden hearing loss episode.

Lol, about blasting Innagoddadavida on speakers. I’ve been there! I wish I could say I was doing something fun like that when my hearing went out. I was listening to a boring conference call for work on my headphones at only about 30% volume when it happened. So lame.

It’s also nice to know I’m not the only one who can’t tolerate Melatonin since every seems to hype it up so much. I had the same hungover feeling, and it even gave me a few palpitations. No thank you!

I understand you not wanting to recommend meds, and I appreciate the info about diphenhydramine. I am 38 (even though I’m feeling much older right now, sigh), and I might give it try. I did try diphenhydramine for sleep when I was on Prednisone last month, and it didn’t help. Maybe now that I’m off the steroids it will have a better effect. Prednisone was also something that did not agree with me, yikes.

I agree that there really isn’t any safe drug. I’m normally very against using meds unless 100% necessary, and I loath having to resort to a sleep aid. I’m just so desperate for sleep! Thank you!