Americans suffering sudden sensorineural hearing loss cannot be sure what examination or treatment they will be offered.
No uniform guidelines exist for examination or treatment of American patients with sudden sensorineural hearing loss, according to a survey among American doctors and hearing specialists, conducted by two researchers.
Generalists or specialists
Between five and 20 in every 100,000 Americans suffer sudden sensorineural hearing loss in any given year. They can seek help from a wide range of health practitioners. But how their condition is dealt with varies widely, depending on the background of the respective health practitioners they consult, with some being general practitioners and others being specialists, such as otologists or ear, nose and throat specialists.
Hearing specialists offer generally uniform examination and treatment. They mostly treat sudden hearing loss with oral steroids and anti-viral medicine.
If the loss of hearing becomes permanent no cure is possible, with hearing aids becoming the main treatment option.
The survey was carried out among 1,306 family practitioners, internists, general otolaryngologists and otologists. The findings were presented at the 2008 conference of the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery Foundation.
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