Treating Sudden Hearing Loss


MIAMI, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Imagine waking up not being able to hear out of one ear? Sudden hearing loss happens more than you think, and most people mistake it for a head cold. Getting help quickly could save your hearing.

David Alboukrek loves the sounds of nature, but one day he woke up unable to hear out of his left ear.

“(It was a) muffled sound, ringing in my ear,” Alboukrek told Ivanhoe.

At first, he wasn’t sure what was going on.

“You may think you have a cold or it’s something that’ll go away,” Alboukrek explained.

But when his hearing did not return, David went to see hearing specialist Mark Widick, MD, an Otolaryngologist, Specialist in Otology and Neurotology at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, North Broward Medical Center and Boca Raton Outpatient Surgery and Laser Center in Boca Raton, Florida. Dr. Widick says sudden hearing loss affects thousands of people every year and is often misdiagnosed.

“They will diagnose an infection when the hearing loss is not due to infection,” Dr. Widick explained. (Read Full Interview)

If not treated quickly, there could be permanent hearing loss. Doctor Widick says patients need to get an audiogram.

“It’s a test of the hearing that is very specific,” Dr. Widick stated.

He says in most cases the blood vessel that feeds the entire hearing system is damaged.

“Once that happens it’s like a stroke to the ear,” Dr. Widick emphasized.

His team is now part of an FDA-approved trial testing a new drug, called AM-111, meant to stop the damage and save hearing. But time is of the essence.

“The duration from onset of symptoms is less than 72 hours.” Dr. Widick said.

David did not get the study medication, but was treated with steroids to stop the inflammation. His lesson for others; don’t wait to get help.

“Because it was treated very early on, I was not left with any permanent hearing loss,” Alboukrek said.

Allowing him to enjoy the peaceful sounds of nature once again.

The cause of sudden hearing loss is still not exactly known. In David’s case, he has been told his immune system probably attacked his hearing. To learn more about the study and find a clinic with details about the drug trial, please visit

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Janna Ross, Field Producer; Gabriella Battistiol, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; Judy Reich, Videographer.

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REPORT:       MB #4272

BACKGROUND: About 48 million Americans suffer from hearing loss. Some factors which can lead to hearing loss may be related to genetics, advanced age, and illness. Some variable conditions can also lead to deteriorating hearing; these circumstances include usage of certain medications and ongoing, loud noises. Symptoms can vary from mild to severe; mild hearing loss is where one can’t catch every word when there are background noises while moderate indicates having to ask someone to repeat themselves, and finally severe loss where the patient is in need of a hearing aid. Those with profound hearing loss cannot hear the other person unless they are speaking extremely loud. In addition, high-pitched sounds usually associated with female and children’s voices can also be particularly harder to understand. Consequently, “S” and “F” sounds may be harder to make out. Another complication due to hearing loss is tinnitus, where one hears a ringing, roaring, or hissing sound in the ears. Sudden hearing loss involves the quick loss of 30 decibels or more and can happen over several hours or days.

(Source: )

STANDARD TREATMENT:  It is vital to seek early treatment of sudden hearing loss, to possibly reduce the risks of permanent damage. The type of treatment of sudden hearing loss depends on the cause. The Vasodilators are a type of treatment used to improve the blood supply to the cochlea and reverse hypoxia. Hypoxia is a deficiency in which there is not enough oxygen reaching the tissues. Rheologic agents alter blood viscosity with the use of low molecular weight dextrans, pentoxifylline, or anticoagulants (also marketed as heparin and warfarin). There are several types of medications that can help the blood flow and affect platelet deformity. Anti-inflammatory agents such as Corticosteroids are a presumed pathway to reduce cochlear and auditory nerve inflammation. Hyperbaric oxygen is a therapy used to increase the oxygen tension, resulting in the improvement of hearing loss. Surgical care of sudden hearing loss is used to repair the oval and round window perilymph fistulae. However, controversy exists for this procedure as there are no universal standards for identifying the fistula.

(Source: )

NEW TECHNOLOGY:  The AM-111 was created by the Auris Medical Holding AG, a Swiss pharmaceutical dedicated to treating ear disorders. The product contains synthetic peptide brimapitide, a cell-penetrating inhibitor of the JNK stress kinase. This helps the AM-111 to prevent or reduce chronic hearing loss. The product has been demonstrated in various animal models of cochlear stress. The company is now working on Phase 3 of the program and is working closely with the FDA to accelerate the development of AM-111.

(Source: )


AM-111 study for sudden hearing loss

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at

Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Mark Widick, MD

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