Imagine going to sleep one night and waking up the next morning with the hearing in one ear totally gone. It’s called sudden deafness and it happens to thousands of people in this country.
The cause of sudden deafness is not clear, but doctors think it can be caused by something as common as a viral infection. The treatment now being tested isn’t 100 percent but it does help folks get back at least some of their hearing.
This is a very important test for Dennis Murnane.
It will tell him whether his hearing is returning.
The cause of Dennis’ sudden hearing loss is unknown, Instead of hearing in his left ear, he hears this [Static].
Dennis Murnane: “It just totally throws your world out of whack because you’re used to hearing everything, and now you’re hearing half of it.”
Marilyn Brooks: “Doctors aren’t sure why it works, but they say the steroid called Cortisone seems to help the problems associated with sudden hearing loss — including inflammation.”
But, high doses of Cortisone pills can cause serious side effects.
Dr. Todd Hillman, Neurologist: “Especially people with high blood pressure, or diabetes, you don’t want to use oral steroids, so but if you inject it you can still deliver very high concentration.”
That injection to reduce swelling and inflammation is being tested here and seven other medical centers nationwide.
THAT ‘SHOT’ TO REDUCE SWELLING AND INFLAMMATION IS BEING TESTED HERE AND SEVEN OTHER MEDICAL CENTERS NATIONWIDE.
Dr. Hillman: “We inject it right into the ear drum itself, so right through the ear canal. And its just a small amount, just enough to bathe the middle ear and it gets into the inner ear as a result.”
Patients get three injections. There is pressure, a little temporary dizziness, but no pain, no side effects.
Dr. Hillman: “The most recent study shows about a 50 percent improvement over the standard oral treatments.”
Dennis had his first injection a few ago… early results seem promising.
Dennis Murnane: “I can’t put a phone to my ear or anything like that, but I hear noises which is quite an improvement.”
Improvement Dennis say may not have been possible without the injections.
Researchers are continuing to enlist patients for this 5 years study, which is being funded by the National Institutes of Health.
In addition to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh the following hospitals around the country are participating in the study:
- John’s Hopkins in Baltimore
- New York University, New York City
- University of Iowa, Iowa City
- University of California, San Diego
- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
- UMass Medical School and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
- The Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland
From The Pittsburgh Channel