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Cause - Sudden Hearing Loss - Rush Limbaugh

Sudden Loss of Hearing - Not a Death Sentence

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Updated March 30, 2011

Rush Limbaugh is among the few celebrities who have publicly admitted to experiencing a sudden hearing loss. In his job as talk show host, he has used a Teleprompter and staff assistance to answer callers.

Limbaugh's experience with sudden hearing loss is not unique. In his case, it was due to autoimmune inner ear disease. Autoimmune inner ear disease in itself is not that rare; several people have posted on the forum and e-mailed me describing symptoms of an autoimmune-related hearing loss.

A cochlear implant was the solution for Limbaugh, who reportedly can hear his program with it. He needed one because one ear was totally deaf, and the other one was nearly so.As someone who had already experienced hearing, he was a good implant candidate. The implant in his left ear restored some hearing, but the right ear is still deaf.

At the time he revealed his hearing loss publicly, Limbaugh stated that he was developing a "deaf voice." Speech therapy is a possible solution for a "deaf voice," which develops when a person can not hear themselves and can not hear high and low pitches.

Other options available to people experiencing sudden hearing loss like Limbaugh did, include:

  • Joining the Association of Late Deafened Adults. This is a national organization composed of people who have lost their hearing later in life, sometimes a sudden hearing loss.
  • Learning to read lips. When the implant is not in use, an implantee is still deaf.
  • Learning sign language to fill in the gaps when not everything can be heard or lipread.

Readers Respond: Personal Definitions of Cochlear Implant Success

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