Sudden deafness

Sudden deafness is an unexplained sudden loss of hearing.


Sudden deafness is an unexplained sudden loss of hearing. Other symptoms such as a feeling of ear fullness, tinnitus or dizziness can also occur. Sudden deafness isn't an emergency, but a doctor should be consulted reasonably quickly.


Main symptoms

  • Sudden loss of hearing

Spontaneous recovery of hearing frequently occurs, but no prognosis can be made as to when and to what extent hearing will improve.

Other symptoms

  • Feeling of ear fullness (like cotton wool in the ear)
  • Noise in the ears (tinnitus), such as whistling, ringing, buzzing, roaring, hissing or whizzing
  • No pain
  • Dizziness

Causes and treatment


  • The exact cause is unknown. Suspicions include:
    • Impaired circulation in the inner ear
    • Functional impairment of the hearing organ in the inner ear
    • Inflammation of the inner ear

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Ear examination (otoscopy)
  • Hearing test (audiometry)
  • Blood test (if infection is suspected)
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
Possible therapies
  • Cortisone tablets

When to see a doctor?

  • Sudden loss of hearing

Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.