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AAO-HNSF Clinical Practice Guideline: Sudden Hearing Loss

March 1, 2012 - 12:00pm

ALEXANDRIA, VA — On March 1, 2012, the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation published a new Clinical Practice Guideline on Sudden Hearing Loss (SHL). This guideline is published as a supplement to Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery.

A sudden loss of hearing is a frightening symptom that most often prompts urgent medical care. Current diagnosis and treatment plans vary greatly. This guideline provides evidence-based recommendations for the diagnosis, management, and follow-up of adults who present with SHL. Prompt, accurate recognition and management of sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL), a subset of SHL, may improve hearing recovery and patient quality of life. SSNHL affects 5 to 20 per 100,000 population, with about 4,000 new cases per year in the United States.

The purpose of this guideline is to provide all clinicians who may encounter patients with SHL with evidence-based recommendations for diagnosis, counseling, treatment, and follow-up. By focusing on opportunities for quality improvement, the guideline should improve diagnostic accuracy, facilitate prompt intervention, decrease variations in management, reduce unnecessary tests and imaging procedures, and improve hearing and rehabilitative outcomes for affected patients.

“We are pleased that this guideline provides doctors with a set of evidence-based recommendations for patients who present with sudden hearing loss. This guideline will help advance the care of afflicted patients and result in improved outcomes,” said Robert J. Stachler, MD, Guideline Chair.

Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery is the official journal of the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery Foundation.

The guideline’s authors are: Robert J. Stachler, MD; Sujana S. Chandrasekhar, MD,; Sanford M. Archer, MD; Richard M. Rosenfeld, MD, MPH; Seth R. Schwartz, MD, MPH; David M. Barrs, MD; Steven R. Brown, MD; Terry D. Fife, MD; Peg Ford; Theodore G. Ganiats, MD; Deena B. Hollingsworth, RN, MSN, FNP; Christopher A. Lewandowski, MD; Joseph J. Montano, Ed.D; James E. Saunders, MD; Debara L. Tucci, MD, MS; Michael Valente, PhD; Barbara E. Warren, Psy.D, M.Ed; Kathleen L. Yaremchuk, MD, MSA; Peter J. Robertson, MPA.

Reporters who wish to obtain a copy of the guideline should contact Mary Stewart at 1-703-535-3762, or

About the AAO-HNS
The American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, one of the oldest medical associations in the nation, represents nearly 12,000 physicians and allied health professionals who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the ears, nose, throat, and related structures of the head and neck. The Academy serves its members by facilitating the advancement of the science and art of medicine related to otolaryngology and by representing the specialty in governmental and socioeconomic issues. The organization's vision: "Empowering otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons to deliver the best patient care."

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