Hearn promised a decision within hours on the immediate future of Higgins and the Scot's manager Pat Mooney in the sport.
And he said he was considering his own position as chairman of the sport's governing body.
Higgins and Mooney were filmed by the News of the World newspaper, allegedly agreeing to accept 261,000 in return for arranging the outcome of four frames in matches to be played later this year.
World Snooker chairman Hearn told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek that an investigation would begin immediately and that Higgins may face a suspension.
"I've read the piece, I've seen the video, I would imagine I can't see any reason not to suspend him at this moment in time," he said.
He added: "We'll make a decision within the next 24 hours on how we're going to play it."
Higgins, 34, is not accused by the newspaper of any past indiscretions, and there are no suggestions he has been involved in fixing the results of any frames or matches to date.
Hearn said: "I don't see any place in sport, in any sport, for anyone who affects the credibility or the integrity of any sport."
However Hearn stressed: "I'm not going to make knee-jerk reactions on this. I'm absolutely mortified ... because I know both these guys."
He added: "It's come as a huge shock and obviously an enormous blow to the integrity of the sport which is vital for the expansion plans we have.
"It's really been a shattering experience and one which will be immediately looked into by our disciplinary people under the WPBSA rules.
"I spoke to Steve Davis last night and we know these two guys so well, it's unbelievable."
Like Davis, Mooney is a member of the WPBSA board. He declined to comment last night on the allegations.
Regarding his own future, Hearn said: "I have to consider my position and I have to consider that carefully and that's not something that's going to be done on a Sunday morning."