I just signed onto this thread and am in the same (sinking) boat as the two gentlemen already posting. Except I have had SSHL since last winter, when what I was told was probably a bad virus attacked my inner ear. I awoke one morning partially deaf in my left ear (so, whoever is keeping track, it is now 9 to 1 "favoring" the left ear. I took the Prednisone, the MRI, the whole ball of wax, under the care of one of the top doctors at House Ear Institute, considered at the top of the world's specialists, who basically told me to try the hearing aids. I got fitted for them. Basically, they are NOT hearing aids of the standard variety. The thingy in my left ear is basically a microphone that radios whatever it hears over to a receiver thingy in my right ear. All for $3,000 out of pocket - no insurance will pay for this.
The law gives you 45 days to like or dislike those gizmos, and return them for a full refund if you end up not liking them. I found them to be unsatisfactory and returned them. The audiologist then told me that roughly half of her patients with single-sided hearing loss did return them. They just do not improve hearing, and in fact, I found it to be more irritating than useful.
So what are we left with?
Stem cell therapy is proceeding on a cure at Stanford University, where a German doctor has successfully implanted stem cells from a mouse into a chicken's ear
and grown new cilia (the little hairs inside our inner ears that have been destroyed). He is on track to open shop for business in five years or so. He is very satisfied that this will work and he just needs to work his way up the mammal chain to humans, with the proper approvals, of course. The stem cells would be taken from the patient's own belly fat, so I would have lots for him to choose from.
In England, where research using embryonic stem cells is legal, the results have been disappointing. The embryonic stem cells make cilia, for sure, but do not know when to "turn off" causing a jam in the inner ear and offsetting any potential value in their use for this purpose. Adult stem cells do
know when to "turn off" and use of the patient's own stem cells also obviates the body's tendency to reject foreign objects.
Best wishes to you all,