Anacusis Explained

A complete loss of your hearing is known as anacusis. Anacusis, or deafness, affects an estimated 0.22% of the American population. That translates into roughly 600,000 people with anacusis. Of these, over half are 65 years of age or older.

Anacusis can affect both ears, or it may only affect one ear. Below we’re taking a closer look at the types of anacusis, their causes, diagnosis and potential treatment options.

What is Anacusis?

Anacusis is defined as a “profound hearing loss.” It’s rare for people with hearing loss to experience anacusis. Most patients with hearing loss can still hear some sounds. Anacusis, however, is characterized by a complete absence of auditory perception.

Unilateral anacusis, or unilateral deafness, is when only one ear is affected. Bilateral anacusis, or bilateral deafness, is when both ears are affected.

What are the Symptoms of Anacusis?

The most obvious symptom of anacusis is a complete inability to hear sounds, either out of one or both ears.

Some people may experience sudden deafness. In some cases, this could be an indication of an underlying condition. If you experience sudden deafness, whether in a single ear or in both, please contact your local healthcare practitioner.

Causes of Anacusis

There are a variety of causes of anacusis. In some cases, the anacusis may be a hereditary condition. Other causes of anacusis include:

  • A deformity in the ear canal
  • Problems with pregnancy, that may include: premature birth, low birth weight or hypoxia
  • Ototoxic medication
  • Chronic ear disorders or infections that are left untreated
  • Damage to your inner ear
  • Head trauma
  • Illnesses, such as measles or meningitis
  • A blockage in your ear
  • Noise induced hearing loss

How is Anacusis Diagnosed?

A diagnosis of anacusis requires a thorough audiometric hearing assessment. Your local hearing healthcare specialists or ENT can help with a diagnosis of anacusis.

Treating Anacusis

Treating anacusis depends on the underlying cause. It also depends on whether it is affecting both or only one of your ears.

Hearing aids can be used to help with anacusis that affects one side. If your anacusis affects both ears, your hearing healthcare specialist may discuss cochlear implants as a potential treatment option.

If you suspect that you are experiencing anacusis, please do not delay seeking treatment. The earlier a diagnosis is made, the better!

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