Published online Aug 28, 2013. doi: 10.5319/wjo.v3.i3.42
Revised: June 14, 2013
Accepted: July 23, 2013
Published online: August 28, 2013
Core tip: The present review focuses on the following four points. First, it summarizes etiologies proposed in the last decade to confirm what we know about the cause of idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (ISHL). Second, it reviews how systemic stressors affect the human body and the cochlea. Third, it reviews the characteristics of the lateral wall that show unique responses to systemic stressors. Finally, it reviews a relatively new concept about the cause of ISHL, the stress response theory, which integrates our knowledge of the cause of ISHL.