People who experience a sudden hearing loss (SSNHL) are often treated with systemic steroids, which are taken orally. Studies however show that people with sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) who do not respond to this treatment can benefit from intratympanic steroid injections. Studies carried out at universities in USA and Thailand show intratympanic steroid injections to be very effective and that the treatment does not have any side-effects.
Dr. David Haynes from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, USA, carried out the study of 40 people who had experienced sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL). Overall, 40% showed some kind of improvement when treated with intratympanic steroid injections.
Physicians limit the number of epidural steroid injections to a maximum of three to avoid systemic side effects of the steroids. Side effects are minimal and consist mainly of mild tenderness in the area of injection which disappears in 1-2 days. Success is dependant on the cause of the pain and how long the pain has existed. The sooner the treatment is instituted, the better are the chances of getting well. This treatment, along with analgesics and physical therapy has brought relief to thousands of patients, avoiding , in the majority of cases, the need for surgery.
How often cortisone injections are given varies based on the reason for the injection. This is determined on a case-by-case basis by the health care practitioner. If a single cortisone injection is curative, then further injections are unnecessary. Sometimes, a series of injections might be necessary; for example, cortisone injections for a trigger finger may be given every three weeks, to a maximum of three times in one affected finger. In other instances, such as knee osteoarthritis, a second cortisone injection may be given approximately three months after the first injection, but the injections are not generally continued on a regular basis.