Joy Victory Managing Editor Healthy Hearing
Joy Victory has extensive experience editing consumer health information. Her training in particular has focused on how to best communicate evidence-based medical guidelines and clinical trial results;to the public.;She strives to make health content accurate, accessible and engaging to the public.Read more about Joy.
Allergies Viruses And Hearing
Allergies and colds are the most likely to cause a middle ear infection, also known as otitis media. After a few days of a stuffy or runny nose, the lining of your middle ear is irritated. This can block the Eustachian tube, which can feel like popping in the ears, fullness or congestion. Sometimes this blockage results in a temporary hearing loss, called conductive hearing loss. It usually resolves itself once the cold or allergy is gone.
The flu also can lead to conductive hearing loss due to congestion. This also usually resolves itself. However, the flu might also cause a more serious hearing problem known as sensorineural hearing loss. This is when the inner ear nerves that transmit sound signals to the brain are damaged. It happens when the flu virus attacks the inner ear. Sensorineural hearing loss may be permanent if its not treated quickly, usually within two days. However, its difficult to diagnose, so if you have the flu and experience a sudden loss of hearing, see your health care provider as soon as possible.
How Is Sudden Deafness Diagnosed
If you have sudden deafness symptoms, your doctor should rule out conductive hearing losshearing loss due to an obstruction in the ear, such as fluid or ear wax. For sudden deafness without an obvious, identifiable cause upon examination, your doctor should perform a test called pure tone audiometry within a few days of onset of symptoms to identify any sensorineural hearing loss.
With pure tone audiometry, your doctor can measure how loud different frequencies, or pitches, of sounds need to be before you can hear them. One sign of SSHL could be the loss of at least 30 in three connected frequencies within 72 hours. This drop would, for example, make conversational speech sound like a whisper. Patients may have more subtle, sudden changes in their hearing and may be diagnosed with other tests.
If you are diagnosed with sudden deafness, your doctor will probably order additional tests to try to determine an underlying cause for your SSHL. These tests may include blood tests, imaging , and balance tests.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Hearing Loss
It’s not always easy to tell if you’re losing your hearing.
Common signs include:
- difficulty hearing other people clearly, and misunderstanding what they say, especially in;noisy places
- asking people to repeat themselves
- listening to music or watching television loudly
- having to concentrate hard to hear what other people are saying, which can be tiring or stressful
The signs can be slightly different if you only;have hearing loss in 1 ear or if a young child has hearing loss.
The Link To Hearing Loss
Middle ear infections can affect your child’s hearing. This can be unsettling, but it’s almost always;temporary and doesn’t result in any permanent hearing loss. Still, any hearing loss should be evaluated by a healthcare professional.
Addressing hearing loss is important because infants and toddlers who suffer from chronic ear infections experience stretches of mild hearing loss during a crucial learning period for speech and language.;
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Your Overall Health Can Be Harmed By Loss Of Hearing
Loss of cognitive ability, depression, an increase in accidents, and other health issues have been linked to loss of hearing. An increase in healthcare expenses has been connected to loss of hearing by researchers recently. As a matter of fact, in just a decade, untreated hearing loss can increase your healthcare costs by 46%.
Your probability of requiring hospitalization with untreated hearing loss increases by 50%.and also increase the likelihood of needing to be readmitted.
Even minor damage can add up. Even mild hearing loss can, Johns Hopkins found, double your chances of getting dementia. Consider the fact that significant hearing loss can be caused by scarring on the eardrum from recurring ear infections.
What Can You Do
Getting moisture and hydrating your nasal passages is a great start. Using a saline spray several times a day or pressing a warmed washcloth to your face can ease some pain. Keeping a humidifier in your home will also keep your sinuses healthy and happy, or a simple steam shower does the job just as well.
Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen, helps ease inflammation and any ear pain. A decongestant or a nasal spray that contains a decongestant can relieve blockage and clogged ears but only use it if and when neededoveruse can result in more congestion. Also stay indoors whenever the weather calls for extreme conditions as these can cause a flare up. If youre having a bad ear day, maybe going out for walk in the rain isnt such a good idea.
Sinus infections can sneak up on you so it is also good to:
Keep your head elevated as it can cause more pressure;
Try not to force blowing your nose as it can cause ears to pop;
Drink lots of water in the evening as it thins and drains yellow mucus;
Steer clear of caffeine , salt, and alcohol since these can affect circulation to your ears.
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Warning: The Common Cold Can Lead To Hearing Problems
The American Lung Association reports that the average adult gets up to four colds a year. Although colds are usually minor viral infections, thats still a lot. Whether the virus attacks the sinuses, throat or respiratory system, it can cause ear congestion, and eventually, an ear infection.
There are certain symptoms of a cold you dont want to ignore despite the fact that colds are generally considered harmless. The link between the common cold and ear infections has finally been confirmed by researchers. This is an important finding, because ear infections are a major contributing factor in the troubling rise in antibiotic resistance.
Beware: The Common Cold Can Cause Hearing Issues
A study by The American Lung Association states that the typical adult gets as many as four colds a year. Even though colds are normally minor viral infections, thats a lot. It doesnt matter what part of the body the virus attacks, if it results in congestion, it can cause an ear infection.
There are some symptoms of a cold you shouldnt ignore even though colds are generally considered harmless. The connection between the common cold and ear infections has finally been confirmed by scientists. This is an important finding, because ear infections are a major contributing variable in the troubling rise in antibiotic resistance.
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Beware: The Common Cold Can Lead To Hearing Problems
A study by The American Lung Association states that the average adult gets as many as four colds a year. Thats a lot even if the majority of colds are minor viral infections. Whether the virus attacks the respiratory system, throat, or sinuses, it can cause ear congestion, and eventually, an infection in the ear.
Despite the fact that many people consider colds harmless, there are a few symptoms you dont want to ignore. The connection between the common cold and ear infections has finally been confirmed by scientists. This is an important finding, because ear infections are a significant contributing factor in the disturbing rise in antibiotic resistance.
What Else Can Hearing Loss Mean
Severe or persistent hearing loss could be a sign of sensorineural hearing loss. This means that the infection which has been causing your other cold or flu like symptoms has infected the ear, causing swelling around the nerve which transmits the signals created by the ear. This swelling temporarily compresses the nerve, causing hearing loss. If that hearing loss is left untreated, it could be permanent.
What separates sensorineural hearing loss from the usual hearing loss associated with a cold is that with sensorineural hearing loss, instead of simply feeling muffled or blocked up for a while, you suffer serious hearing loss in one or both ears, and the loss appears suddenly.
While the nerves are compressed, they are quite literally dying off, and if the condition persists for too long it can be irreversible. Unfortunately, sensorineural hearing loss is often mistaken for conductive hearing loss a temporary and easily treatable form of hearing loss which occurs when the ear canal is blocked by ear wax, or there is a temporary build up of fluid caused by an infection.
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Sudden Hearing Loss As An Initial Symptom
Based on published case reports, it appears that sudden;hearing loss is rarely a symptom of coronavirus onset.
In a June 2020;report, several Iranian;patients reported hearing loss in one ear, as well as vertigo. In another report about;sudden sensorineural hearing loss and COVID-19,;one Egyptian man with no other coronavirus symptoms developed sudden hearing loss, and then tested positive for coronavirus.
But beyond those reports, not much has been published by researchers.;
Note:;Sudden hearing loss is a medical emergency. Seek medical attention if you experience sudden hearing loss in one ear. The faster you get treatment, the more likely you’ll get your hearing back.
Treatments For Colds And Allergies
Antihistamines and decongestants can help reduce ear pressure and the feeling of fullness. Sometimes a warm compress helps. If an infection is present, a doctor will prescribe an antibiotic. Over-the-counter pain relievers can relieve earaches.
Because your ears, nose and throat are so closely connected, a problem in one area often leads to another. Thats why a stuffy nose and blocked ears often happen at the same time when you have a cold, the flu or allergies. Usually any loss of hearing is temporary, but if problems persist, a visit to your hearing professional is important.
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Congestion And Ear Blockage
The cold may also increase the blockage in your ears. This blockage can come in the form of earwax, and this can significantly increase the pressure in your ears. It is essential to clean your ears regularly. But be careful how you do this incorrectly cleaning your ears can often lead to further hearing problems. Either buy an ear-cleaning kit or see a professional for ear wax removal.
Its ordinary to feel stuffed up in your ears when you have a cold since your sinuses and ears are interconnected. If youre using a decongestant and your head is draining fluids, this feeling generally comes and goes.
However, congestion can turn into an ear infection in only a few hours. This is the reason why you should always seek professional help if you experience any pain or unusual discharge in your ear.
Pain can be evidence of inflammation and infection this could be a sign your cold is moving in the wrong direction. You can prevent permanent injury if you detect this early enough by getting a prescription for antibiotics. Ignoring this can lead to scarring on the eardrum and possibly damage to the cilia from inflammation.
How To Relieve Ear Pressure When Youre Sick
Summer is drawing to a close, which means cold and flu season is right around the corner.
For people in Charleston, this can spell misery.
A runny or stuff nose, coughing, sneezing, fever, muscle aches and fatigue are common symptoms.
According to your local audiologist, ear pain and pressure can also occur when youre suffering from an illness.
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Can Blocked Sinuses Cause Tinnitus
Tinnitus is a form of hearing loss that can be brought on by sinusitis. There are many different reasons people succumb to tinnitus , but ear and sinus infections also cause an unexpectedly large percentage of tinnitus cases.To simplify things, tinnitus also happens because youre congested. To review: when you get a sinus infection, the tissues in your sinuses become inflamed and swollen and may start to fill with fluid. In turn, inflammation and swelling can create a buildup of pressure which blocks airways and leads to an uncomfortable ringing noise in your ears.
Tinnitus during sinusitis creates a ringing or buzzing sensation in your ear that can become rather loud. At first, you may experience tinnitus intermittently; however, over time, it can become constant. Note that certain medications can worsen your tinnitus symptoms, including some antihistamines. Make sure you consult with a doctor before taking any medications.
Now that youve established why and how the answer to Can a sinus infection cause hearing loss? is yes, you are one step closer to finding relief from the discomforts that come with hearing loss.
Sinus Pressure And Barometric Trauma
Nasal congestion from a severe cold, flu, or sinus infection can create abnormal pressure in the middle ear, impacting normal hearing and causing tinnitus symptoms.
Acute barotrauma, caused by extreme or rapid changes in air or water pressure, can also damage the middle and inner ear. Potential sources of barotrauma include:
- Diving / Snorkeling / Scuba
- Concussive explosive blasts
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Are There Certain Foods To Eat
Allergies can affect anyone from time to time, but if you have daily sinus pressure it can get in the way of your everyday activities. For people with chronic sinusitis, a symptom flare up can happen anywhere, anytime especially on days that are high pollen count days or very dry. There are lots of medicines that can treat these but often times its great to start with your diet. Eating a diet that is designed to minimize your issue also boost your immune system and improve your skin health, all while fighting inflammation. A well-rounded diet decreases inflammation and fights bacteria often cause sinus infections. There are other foods that help to decongest passages and prevent inflammation.
Omega 3 fatty acids are ideal for reducing swelling and you get this by eating wild salmon, cod, or other Omega-rich fish. Tart cherries are known to reduce inflammation much better than ibuprofen and, aside from being yummy, can also reduce your risk for heart disease. Turmeric spice, found often in Thai and Indian food, has curcumin which actively combats swelling. Avocado, beans, eggs, dark leafy greens and spices like ginger and cayenne pepper, are all on the list of foods to eat to nip sinusitis in the bud. By eating these foods, you are boosting your overall health and improving your quality of life if you are a chronic sufferer.
Some other foods and drinks to consider:
Some foods to avoid and guidelines:
If Hearing Loss Isnt From An Infection
If your child has sudden hearing loss but no signs of a middle ear or respiratory infection, be sure to check out our page on hearing loss in children. Acting quickly is important because children with hearing loss can have delayed language and speech development. Our directory can also help you find audiologists near you.;
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Can Cold Weather Cause Hearing Complications
Throughout your life, youve trusted your ears to hear sounds from the world around you, including warning you when theres danger.
Theyve allowed you to enjoy music. They have been invaluable when following directions or carrying on conversations.Many factors can cause hearing to diminish as we age. Some are more controllable than others. But what about cold weather?
Can;cold weather cause hearing complications?
Can it really affect your hearing? Or is cold weathers negative impact on your hearing health just an old wives tale?
Lets find out.
Colds And Hearing Loss
One particular cause of hearing loss is that of a head cold. All ofus have suffered from colds at some time or the other and whilst theyare unpleasant they usually resolve themselves after a few days.
A cold can mean a stuffy nose, headacheand blocked ears. The ears become blocked due to an excess of mucuswhich in some cases can lead to an ear infection. But this along withthe other symptoms, clears after a few days.
When Do You Need To See A Doctor
Sometimes your sickness symptoms get better, but your ear congestion does not. This is the first sign that you might need to see a doctor for a check-up.
If you develop green nasal discharge along with sinus pain and fever, develop a fever on its own, or have a weakened immune system, asthma, or emphysema, visit a doctor as soon as possible.
If you are experiencing ear pain, fluid drainage, and hearing loss, this can indicate an ear infection. Although they can clear up on their own, ear infections often need to be treated with antibiotics. If you think you have an infection, youll need to see a doctor for a prescription.
Likewise, if your problems persist, go to the doctor. Theyll be able to give you a thorough medical examination and work out the best course of treatment for you. You might need steroid ear drops to reduce swelling or antifungal ear drops if there is a fungal infection.
If your congested ear has just appeared, there are some home remedies you can try for now. Alternatively, you can get antihistamines and decongestants to help reduce ear pressure or OTC pain relievers to relieve earaches.