The dura mater and the mastoid or craniotomy are then closed with a variety of materials, and the patient is observed in the intensive care unit. Because the balance fibers are cut suddenly, the surgery causes intense vertigo and imbalance for a few days requiring supportive medical care, medications for nausea and eventually physical therapy. A cane or walker may be needed for a while, depending on the patient’s health and activity level prior to the surgery. Once the patient is able to ambulate safely, he may be discharged home, but vestibular and balance therapy is continued on an out-patient basis to speed the patient’s recovery as much as possible. A return to full function occurs in most patients, although many do feel imbalanced when tired or stressed.
SSNHL may be a risk factor for stroke. In a study of patients in Taiwan hospitalized for treatment of a first episode of SSNHL, the risk of stroke over a five-year follow-up period was increased compared with patients of similar age and demographics hospitalized for appendicitis (hazard ratio [HR] , 95% CI -) [ 9 ]. However, in a review of the literature, the committee developing 2012 guidelines for the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) found that the relationship between SSNHL and risk of stroke did not meet their threshold for significance [ 3 ]. SSHNL has also been associated with an increased risk for myocardial infarction later in life [ 10 ].