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Rise of sudden deafness sparks alarms in Ho Chi Minh City

Thursday, October 13, 2016, 14:34 GMT+7

The rapid increase in patients suffering from sudden hearing loss in Ho Chi Minh City over the past three months has left doctors puzzled.

The Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City received nearly 100 cases of sudden deafness per month over the past three months, a huge hike compared to only a few dozen per month in the past.

According to doctors at the infirmary, most patients admitted for sudden hearing loss were previously exposed to psychological trauma, excessive work, or stress.

Though the number of cases involving instant loss of hearing often rises at the end of the year, the sharp surge recorded over the past three months is unprecedented.

In a recent case, a 63-year-old woman from the southern province of Tay Ninh was admitted to the ENT hospital after losing hearing over night in her right ear.

Doctors diagnosed her with sudden deafness brought about by the psychological trauma caused by losing VND3 billion (US$133,153) to a borrower she had trusted.

Following several unsuccessful treatments, the patient was transferred to a mental hospital for psychological therapy.

A doctor at a children’s hospital also suffered deafness in one ear, though prompt treatment allowed him a speedy recovery.

According to Dr. Duong Thanh Hong, deputy head of the ear, head, and neck department at the ENT hospital, most patients only suffered from a loss of hearing in one ear and discovered the issue upon waking up in the morning.

Dizziness and tinnitus can also accompany the condition, Dr. Hong said.

Sudden hearing loss primarily arises from viral infections, trauma, ischemia, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other symptoms that can decrease blood flow to the ears, the doctor elaborated.

Stress and psychological trauma can also cause hearing issues, she continued, adding that doctors actively work to sort out the exact cause in order to conduct appropriate treatment.

The ENT hospital has recorded more female patients than men, Dr. Hong said, stating that the sooner victims have their illness checked, the higher chance they will recover.

Patients experiencing symptoms for over a month without proper treatment may risk recovering only by 30 percent, the practitioner explained.

In order to prevent hearing issues, doctors recommended sufficient diet and rest, regular exercise, and yoga practice for stress relief.

Those who have already suffered from sudden deafness should be more cautious, as there is potential for relapse.

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