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Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate recovery in hearing acuity of idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (ISSNHL) based on timing of onset to determine how late is too late to medically intervene.

Study Design: A retrospective chart review was conducted in patients previously treated for primary complaint of sudden hearing loss (HL). Participants meeting inclusion criteria were analyzed based on timing of onset to service date, age, gender, associated ear, associated symptoms as well as recovery in pure tone average (PTA) and recovery in word recognition scores (WRS).

Setting: All patients seeking treatment for SSNHL were seen in a hospital/medical setting by otolaryngologists/otologists.

Methods: Utilizing the hospital’s medical record system, an initial sample of 696 participants treated for ISSNHL from 2016-2019 was collected. Of the 696 participants, 161 met the inclusion criteria and were analyzed.

Results: Timing of symptoms onset to treatment initiation as well as recovery detail were statistically significant in recovery anticipation.

Conclusion: Pure tone average (PTA) and word recognition score (WRS) recovery two variables analyzed as part of hearing recovery based on symptom onset to treatment initiation. Of the recovered participants, 14.9% and 42.2% experienced with BothRecovery or EitherReocvery respectively. Recovery detail, especially WRS recovery, is a key variable which should be analyzed when anticipating recovery of symptoms. WRS recovery was also identified in participants who sought treatment after 42 days of onset, suggesting recovery is possible beyond clinical guidelines set by the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO).

Publication Date



WRS Recovery, Idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss


Speech Pathology and Audiology


AAS 49th Annual Scientific & Technology Conference

Sudden Hearing Loss: WRS Importance and Timing of Medical Intervention