Sudden deafness, also known as Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSHL), is a rapid loss of hearing which may occur all at once or over a period of up to three days. SSHL is defined as a loss of at least 30 decibels in three connected frequencies, and usually occurs in only one ear. It may be accompanied by dizziness and ringing in the ears. Only about 10% of affected individuals have known causes which include infections, trauma, immune disorders, circulatory or neurological disorders or drugs toxic to the ears. While most people recover spontaneously within a few weeks, about 15% experience progressively worsening symptoms. Standard management includes removal of the known cause, antibiotics, steroids and inhalation of a mixture of carbon-dioxide and oxygen.
The Ayurvedic treatment of SSHL consists of treating the known cause of the condition and giving symptomatic treatment for the hearing loss. Infections related to the ears and upper respiratory tract can be treated using medicines like Sukshma-Triphala, Sitopaladi-Powder, Tribhuvan-Kirti-Ras, Kamdudha-Ras, Sutshekhar-Ras, Shwas-Kas-Mishran-Ras, Ras-Sindur, Yashtimadhuk (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Kantakari (Solanum xanthocarpum) and Pippali (Piper longum). Immune disorders can be treated using medicines like Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Pippali, Manjishtha (Rubia cordifolia), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Yashtimadhuk, Bhumiamalaki (Phyllanthus niruri), Suvarna-Malini-Vasant, Laghu-Malini-Vasant and Madhu-Malini-Vasant.
The treatment of circulatory disorders is important while managing SSHL since it is believed that a reduction in blood circulation to the internal organs in the ears could contribute primarily to the sudden loss of hearing. Medicines are used to remove blood clots, reduce blood toxins and obstruction, and inflammation of the arterial walls. These medicines include Tapyadi-Loh, Ekangveer-Ras, Maha-Yograj-Guggulu, Saarivadi-Vati, Punarnava-Mandur, Manjishthadi-Qadha, Saarivasav, Arogya-Vardhini, Lashunadi-Vati, Suvarna Bhasma, Panchamrut-Parpati, Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Haridra (Curcuma longa), Nimba (Azadirachta indica), Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus), Guggulu (Commiphora mukul), Patol (Trichosanthe dioica), Patha (Cissampelos pareira), Musta (Cyperus rotundus ), Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa) and Daruharidra (Berberis aristata). Neurological causes can be treated using medicines like Bruhat-Vat-Chintamani, Maha-Vat-Vidhvans-Ras, Vat-Gajankush-Ras, Vish-Tinduk-Vati and Agni-Tundi-Vati.
In addition, symptomatic treatment for SSHL includes the use of medicines like Kaishor-Guggulu, Panch-Tikta-Ghrut-Guggulu, Punarnavadi-Guggulu, Maha-Rasnadi-Guggulu, Saarivadi-Vati, Punarnava-Mandur, Abhrak-Bhasma, Suvarna-Bhasma, Raupya -Bhasma, Mukta-Bhasma and Pathyadi-Qadha. These medicines improve the perfusion of the inner ear and also increase the functioning of the auditory nerve.
A judicious use of Ayurvedic medicines can thus be used to treat refractory patients of SSHL who do not improve spontaneously or with conventional treatment.