As much as 40% of all hearing losses involve nerve damage. When sensorineura hearing loss due to cochlear nerve damage (sensory hearing loss) or damage to the acoustic nerve (neural hearing loss), and there is no other damage found to the eardrum or other parts of the various auditory channels and tissues, conventional medicine considers this condition untreatable.
Infection is the most common cause of nerve-related hearing loss in children and adults. Even a fetus is at risk for infection which can result in hearing loss as a newborn. Some small number of cases are caused by certain medications, such as tobramycin (a Gram-negative antibiotic), furosemide (a diuretic used to treat congestive heart failure and edema), methotrexate (a cancer and auto-immune treatment), and aspirin.
When this condition comes on rapidly, The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD 2010 a) categorizes this as sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL), a medical emergency condition requiring prompt attention. The hearing loss here may occur instantly or over a period of up to three days, with the condition being characterized by a loud “pop”, or dizziness or a ringing in the ears, or both.
Western Doctors are Surprised
Since conventional Western medicine finds this condition untreatable, most doctors would be surprised to hear of such reports as Zhao (2006), in which 63 Chinese patients with SSHL were treated with acupuncture over a period of seven days. Four patients were completely cured and 36 patients had some level of returned hearing, totaling a 65% success rate.
Subsequent studies in the United States have shown, in some groups, improvement in 90% of the patients. In some more difficult cases as many as 40 acupuncture treatments were necessary. Indications are that young children usually experience complete recovery. Positive results are much lower in the elderly.
An Important Finding
A study involving 72 patients found that 80% of the patients showed somewhat to significant improvement. In a significant finding, the study revealed that the greatest improvement came in patients who started acupuncture treatment within 51 days of the onset of their hearing loss. Those patients in the study who suffered their hearing loss at least six months before starting treatment did not experience any improvement.