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About sudden-onset hearing loss

Sudden-onset hearing loss

If you experience sudden-onset hearing loss, such as not being able to hear when you wake up in the morning or a sudden change in your hearing during the day, see a doctor immediately. A doctor can determine if the hearing loss is due to a temporary blockage (such as earwax) or if there might be another cause. 

Causes of sudden-onset hearing loss can include: 

  • Accidents and injuries
  • Blood circulation problems
  • Diseases 
  • Drug side-effects 
  • Infections or illnesses 
  • Inner ear disorders, such as Meniere’s Disease 
  • Neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis 

Although these are some possible causes, in many cases doctors are not able to find one clear cause. 

Sudden-onset hearing loss, also referred to as Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSHL) or sudden deafness, can come with many emotions and some lifestyle changes. Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division can connect you with tools and resources to help you adjust and continue to live independently. 

Learn more on our website

Fact sheets 

Additional resources 

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, Sudden Deafness (English) and Sordera súbita (Español

Find support for hearing loss

Connect with other people who share your experiences with hearing loss through a support group. 

Association of Late Deafened Adults (ALDA) offers a support group for individuals who have experienced hearing loss later in life. Discussion includes strategies for adjusting to life with hearing loss, social networking and advocacy. 

Black Deaf Advocates (BDA) is a local chapter of the National Black Deaf Advocates (NBDA), whose mission is to promote the leadership development, economic and educational opportunities, social equality, and to safeguard the general health and welfare of Black deaf and hard of hearing people. 

Hearing Loss Association of America, Twin Cities Chapter is a local chapter of a national self-help organization providing information, education, advocacy and social networking for people who are hard of hearing. 

Meniere's disease and tinnitus support groups offer support group meetings on the first Saturday of every month.

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