Ear Infections: When Temporary Hearing Loss Becomes Permanent
Can ear infections cause permanent hearing loss?
Usually, ear infections do not lead to permanent hearing loss.
However, there are exceptions.
Sometimes, ear infections cause irreversible damage to the eardrum or bones within the ear. Bacteria residing in the ear could break them down.
The key is to seek medical help as soon as possible, as an ear infection could end up causing permanent hearing loss if left untreated.
Hearing Loss After Ear Infection: Causes And Treatments
Hearing loss is a decreased ability to receive sounds, which can lead to conversational difficulties or a complete inability to understand sounds. Hearing loss can be sudden or gradual, permanent or temporary. It varies from mild, moderate and even to a severe or complete hearing loss. The risk of hearing loss increases with age. But sometimes hearing loss is reported after ear infection. How does this happen?
How Does A Ruptured Eardrum Heal
A doctor can determine the causes of eardrum rupture symptoms by using laboratory tests to evaluate fluid drainage, doing a tuning fork evaluation, performing an audiology exam, conducting an otoscope light exam, or by using a tympanometer to assess changes in air pressure.
Treatments for an eardrum rupture range from the simple to the more complex. On the simple side, a doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics and/or medicated drops to clear up infections and to prevent further infections. If the rupture does not heal on its own, a doctor can patch the eardrum by placing a medicated patch over the tear to help the membrane grow back together. On the complex side, surgery may be required to repair the eardrum. At home, recovery can be aided by using heat like a warm, dry compress, and over-the-counter pain relievers.
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Will My Hearing Go Back To Normal
Typically when the infections are treated promptly hearing will be restored to normal or close to normal. If, however, there is permanent auditory impairment the treatment is auditory aids. Thankfully, this technology has come a long way over the past few decades, and while it wont fully restore your hearing, these aids give you back a great deal of your hearing and make it easier to handle normal everyday living. Unlike glasses, which let you see immediately, auditory aids can take time to get used to while your brain remembers how to process sounds that is has been missing, so be patient! Let yourself adjust to auditory aids, because it will help you to understand people more effectively than if you didnt use the hearing aids. Work with your audiologist to make each situation work for you.
Tips To Avoid Ear Infections
Wear swim earplugs in the water to prevent ear infections. Dont smoke and limit exposure to secondhand smoke for yourself and your child.
Keeping your mouth and body clean can help avoid colds and flu. Also, gettinga flu vaccine and using antihistamines to prevent allergies can prevent fluid from building up in your ear.
Ear infections may seem scary at first, but you can avoid permanent damage with proper oversight and treatment. If you or a loved one is struggling with a hearing condition, contact Hearing Associates of Las Vegas to set up an appointment today.
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What Can You Do To Counter This Permanent Hearing Loss
First and foremost, see a doctor if you believe that you have an ear infection. The sooner you get treatment, the better. Always have chronic ear infection examined by a doctor. The more severe the infections you have, the more harm they will cause. Finally, take steps to lessen colds, allergies, and sinus infections because that is where ear infections normally start. Its time to give up smoking because it causes chronic respiratory issues which will, in turn, lead to ear infections.
If you are still having trouble hearing after having an ear infection, see a doctor. It could be possible that you have some damage, but that is not the only thing that can cause conductive hearing loss. If it turns out its permanent, hearing aids will help you hear once again. To get more info about hearing aids, schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist.
How To Prevent Hearing Loss
It is not preventable in all cases. But there are some steps you can take to protect your hearing:
- If you work around loud noises, swim often or go to regular concerts, check your hearing regularly
- Avoid prolonged exposure to loud sounds and music
- Get help for ear infections. If left untreated, permanent damage to the ear can occur
- Vaccination for some childhood diseases such as measles, meningitis, rubella, mamps after childbirth
- Rubella vaccination for teenage girls and expectant mothers before conception
- Avoid excessive noise in professional cases and recreational activities and raise awareness about its risks. To enact and enforce laws to prevent noise pollution
- Use some devices that do not allow excess noise to enter the ear, such as ear plugs, soundproof earphones or headphones
- Avoid drugs that reduce hearing, so do not take drugs without the advice of a specialist.
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How To Tell If Hearing Loss Is Temporary Or Permanent
You should ask a medical professional to determine if your hearing loss is temporary or permanent.
That said, the signs of temporary hearing loss include:
- The hearing loss occurred suddenly rather than gradually.
- Tinnitus or ringing in the ears.
- Recent exposure to loud noise.
- Pain or infection in the ear.
- Recent head trauma or injury.
- The ears feel clogged. Earwax, fluids or objects might be obstructing sounds from reaching the eardrum.
Inner Ear Infections And Hearing Loss
Inner ear infections affect the innermost parts of the ear responsible for balance and hearing. As the labyrinth becomes irritated or inflamed, it can impact the nerves responsible for hearing, leading to a number of symptoms, including temporary hearing loss. Most cases are caused by viral infection, but they can also be bacterial.
Inner ear infections like labyrinthitis typically go away on their own within 2-4 weeks, however in more serious cases, damage of the inner ear and blood vessels can lead to sensorineural hearing loss, which is a mostly permanent change to your hearing.
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Causes Of A Perforated Eardrum
A hole in the eardrum can be caused by:
- an ear infection
- an injury to the eardrum, such as a blow to your ear or poking an object like a cotton bud deep into your ear
- changes in pressure, such as while flying or scuba diving
- a sudden loud noise, such as an explosion
The following tips may help you avoid damaging your eardrum:
- see a GP for treatment if you have symptoms of an ear infection for more than 2 or 3 days
- do not push anything deep into your ears, including your fingers
- wear suitable ear protection if youâre often exposed to loud noises
- when flying, try swallowing, yawning, chewing gum or sucking on a boiled sweet during take-off and landing
Page last reviewed: 11 February 2020 Next review due: 11 February 2023
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What Causes Hearing Loss After Ear Infection
In cases of an ear infection, the inflammation blocks the sound from passing through the ear canal from the middle ear into the inner ear. In this case, this hearing loss is known as a conductive hearing loss. The sounds are often heard as indistinctive and muffed. The probability of an ear infection to cause hearing loss will depend on the severity, frequency, and type of the ear infection.
The ear infection can affect all the three parts of the ear: the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear.
1. Otitis Externa
Otitis externa is an infection of the outer ear canal. In cases when the infection and inflammation of the outer ear occur, the swelling and the buildup of pus will stop the sounds from moving from the outer ear to the middle ear, resulting in hearing problems. Once the infection is treated or once the wax is cleared, the hearing will usually return to normality.
2. Otitis Media
Otitis media is an infection of the middle ear. Once the infection of the middle ear is treated, the hearing will return to normality. However, if the infection is not diagnosed and treated on time, the swelling and the collection of pus can lead to permanent and irreversible damage of the middle ear structures. If the infection of the middle ear persists, antibiotic treatment is necessary.
3. Viral Infection of the Cochlea
Note: You can never predict a hearing loss after ear infection, so diagnosis and treatment on time are very important.
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Is Hearing Loss Permanent
After discovering you have a reduced ability to hear, it is natural to be anxious to learn if the hearing loss is permanent or temporary. Depending on the cause, hearing loss might be reversible as long as you seek medical help in time. Here, we discuss the symptoms and causes of hearing loss and why some hearing loss is irreversible.
How Long Will Hearing Loss From An Ear Infection Last
Usually, the hearing loss that develops from a middle ear infection is temporary. Once the fluid drains out of the middle ear, it no longer inhibits the transmission of sound vibrations.
But the fluid can linger for some time. While the symptoms of a typical case of otitis media will usually begin to resolve within about 48 to 72 hours, the fluid thats built up in the middle ear may linger for as long as 3 months. You may have trouble hearing clearly while the fluid remains trapped.
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Conductive Hearing Loss From Chronic Ear Infections
Ear infections can sometimes lead to conductive hearing loss. Essentially, sound waves cant get to the inner ear with enough strength. By the time the sound reaches the tiny hairs in the inner ear, they are amplified by the mechanisms of the ear canal and reach their maximum power. Sometimes something changes along this route and the sound is not correctly amplified. This is known as conductive hearing loss.
When you have an ear infection, bacteria are not just laying inside your ear doing nothing. They need to eat to survive, so they break down those components that amplify sound waves. Usually, this type of damage involves the eardrum and those tiny little bones. It doesnt take very much to break down these delicate bones. If you lose these bones they dont grow back. Thats permanent damage and your hearing wont return on its own. Surgically putting in prosthetic bones is one possible way that a doctor may be able to fix this. The eardrum may have scar tissue once it repairs itself, which can influence its ability to vibrate. Surgery can correct that, as well.
Can You Prevent Ear Infections
Because colds are very infectious and easily spread among children, it can be very hard to prevent your child from getting sick. However, there are risk factors you can control:
- Limit your childs exposure to secondhand smoke
- Make sure your childand youare vaccinated against the flu every year
- Follow good hygiene habits, like frequent handwashing and using hand sanitizer
- Teach your child to cough into her elbow, not her hands
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How To Get Your Ears Back To Normal As Fast As Possible
So, if air pressure is the culprit, your ears will usually return to normal in a day or two. If an ear infection is behind your blocked ears, you might have to wait until your body fights off the virus or bacteria at work . And that might take up to a week or two. Sinus infections have been known to last even longer.
Getting your ears back to normal as quickly as possible, then, will usually involve a bit of patience , and your expectations should be, well, variable.
Your first and most important job is to not make the situation any worse. When your ears start feeling blocked, you might be tempted to take out the old cotton swab and start trying to manually clean things out. This can be an especially dangerous strategy . If you use a cotton swab, youre more likely to make things worse.
4.1/5Neckmuscle tensioncausepluggedearearearcomplete answer
The muscles of your head, jaw, face, the front of your neck and your upper trapezius muscles are commonly involved in sinus, jaw or face pain. Sometimes these trigger points and/or stiff neck joints can also lead to ear painor sensation of loss of hearing.
Furthermore, can a pinched nerve cause ear fullness? A pinched or compressed nerve can trigger numbness, tingling or other sensations at the end of the nerve, which might be in the fingers or in the ear. Except in the more severe cases of abnormality or injury, its very likely that removal of the pressure will also remove the troublesome symptom.
Ear Pain After A Root Canal: What You Need To Know
If youÃÂ¢ve recently had a root canal and your ear has started to hurt, you may be wondering whether these issues are related. The team at Nashoba Valley Dental wants to keep you informed about any possible side effects of root canal treatment and what to do to care for them. HereÃÂ¢s everything you need to know about ear pain after root canal therapy:
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How Do You Know If You Ruptured Your Eardrum
A ruptured drum can happen suddenly in the case of an injury or accident, resulting in sharp pain. Other signs include:
- Ringing in the ear .
- A spinning sensation called vertigo, with accompanying nausea or vomiting.
- Episodic ear infections.
- Drainage that can be clear, bloody, or puss-like and which is usually smelly.
- Lingering discomfort in the ear a feeling that somethings just not right.
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Hearing Loss And Nasal Congestion
Reviewed on 8/5/2020
There are a few different medical conditions that are strongly associated with:
- Hearing Loss
- Nasal Congestion
While the symptoms above can be considered a guide to help associate symptoms common among the conditions below, this is not a substitute for a diagnosis from a health care provider. There are many other medical conditions that also can be associated with your symptoms. Below are the top condition matches for your symptom combination from MedicineNet:
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Did A Virus Cause My Sudden Hearing Loss
Researchers think that in cases of sudden hearing loss where no obvious cause can be identified, a mild viral infection may have been to blame. This is because people often report having a head cold or respiratory infection in the days and weeks before they lost their hearing.
How would it do this? The virus itselfor the resulting inflammationsomehow damages the inner earâs delicate hair cells and/or the blood supply. Any number of viruses may be responsible, including some that may not produce many symptoms, meaning a person is unaware theyâre sick until they experience hearing loss. This is an area of emerging research.
Treatment Of Hearing Loss
Treatment is based on the extent of the hearing loss if the cause is known. Conductive hearing loss is temporary and in many cases curable but sensational hearing is permanent. As the ear canal slowly grows, it can lead to hearing loss, which can be treated with drops.
If there is an infection, it is cured with antibiotics
This device tries to fix the hearing by multiplying the sound several times and inserting it into the ear at the same time
Problems caused by tumors include perforation of the eardrum with chronic fluid accumulation in the ear, which is treated with surgery
In serious cases, cochlear implants can be a way. Like hearing aids, it also compensates for damage to the inside of the ear or not working.
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Middle Ear Infections And Hearing Loss
Otitis media is a bacterial middle ear infection that causes inflammation and a build-up of fluid behind the eardrum. This fluid build-up can block the middle ear, causing temporary hearing loss. This usually resolves on its own in less than a week, but more serious cases can lead to permanent hearing loss from damage to the eardrum or surrounding nerves, although this is rare.
Anyone can experience otitis media, but it mostly affects children because their immune systems tend to be weaker and the tubes in their middle ear tend to be smaller, and more prone to infection.1, 2 You can find out more about ear infections in children here.
Treatment Of Ear Congestion
Treatment of ear congestion is dependent upon the cause. Usually, ear congestion will require no special medications and it generally resolves spontaneously within few days.
- Ear congestion due to temporary dysfunction of Eustachian tube is often relieved by yawning, chewing, swallowing or swallowing with the nose closed by pinching.
- Frequent ear congestion due to allergies requires anit-histamine medications and other anti-allergic measures .
- Treatment of special cases of ear congestion due to other rare causes will be focused on the treatment of the primary condition.
Or you can try one of the following remedies to help:
1. Use Valsalva Maneuver
Inhale deeply and pinch your nose with your thumb and index finger. Exhale through your nose while pinching it. Be sure to do it gently to avoid damaging the eardrum.
2. Combine Alcohol and Vinegar
Mix one part each of vinegar and alcohol and put a few drops in your affected ear. Using a dropper will make it easier. Do not raise your head for a few minutes.
3. Make Use of Olive Oil
Take lukewarm olive oil and put a few drops of it in your affected ear. After 5 minutes, use some cotton to help remove the oil and earwax that may be clogging your ears.
4. Try Warm Water Flush
5. Warm Cloth
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