BBC anchor Lewis Vaughan Jones was not alarmed when a few months ago he stopped hearing on his left side following a cold.
He thought it was part of the “bottleneck” of his cold, which would be temporary and would disappear just as he had arrived, past his general malaise.
He consulted with two doctors, who neither alarmed him nor investigated him further and went home.
But this 36-year-old Briton, who had never had any problem hearing, was “shocked” when he returned to the hospital shortly after and was told that his almost total hearing loss was permanent and unrecoverable.
As Jones explained to the BBC itself, doctors told him that not only did his eardrum stop working because of the infection, but also his auditory nerve , which connects the ear to the brain, “had given up”.
What the presenter suffered was a sudden deafness , whose technical name is sudden neurosensory hearing loss.
This deafness of more than 30 decibels appears in less than 72 hours and occurs in patients who have no previous history with hearing, usually over 40 years.
A hearing loss of 30 decibels would, for example, make a normal conversation heard like a whisper, according to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders of the United States (NIDCD, for its acronym in English) .
It usually affects only one ear and people who suffer from it may feel dizzy or dizzy, or hear a permanent noise or whistling in the ear, known as tinnitus .
In addition to the loss of hearing, Jones began to hear a permanent and high-pitched noise that he describes as very unpleasant.
In fact, in the vast majority of cases of sudden deafness, the cause of the problem can not be identified: the origin is only established in 10-15% of patients, according to the NIDCD data.
On the other hand, there are many causes that can explain it:
an injury or trauma to the head
ototoxic drugs, which damage the sensory cells of the inner ear
a benign or malignant tumor that affects the nerve that connects the ear to the brain
neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis
Other disorders of the inner ear, such as Meniere’s disease
vascular problems or blood circulation
of unknown cause