Sudden deafness is described as abrupt or rapidly progressive hearing loss characterized by awakening with hearing loss, losing hearing over a few days, sudden high or low frequency hearing loss, and distortions in speech perception. The vast majority of sudden hearing losses are unilateral and the prognosis for some recovery is good. Affected individuals often awake with hearing loss in one ear or a rapid hearing loss in one ear over the course of minutes to hours.


Possible causes of sudden hearing loss may include viral infection, vascular compromise, intracochlear membrane rupture, or immune-mediated inner ear disease.

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