What Is A Sinus Infection
Your sinuses are air gaps within your skull that sit behind your cheekbones and forehead, connected to your airway via your nose. Sinus infections can be either bacterial or viral, with both types causing similar symptoms. They usually happen if your sinuses are congested and swollen due to things like allergies or a cold, and can sometimes result in short- or even long-term hearing loss.
Sinusitis can be either acute or chronic . The more long-term or severe the infection is, the more likely it is that chronic sinusitis will develop, which can impact your hearing.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
Sinus Treatments Options For Hearing Loss Due To Sinuses
If you have chronic sinusitis and significant hearing loss, speak with a specialist about all the available options. Your specialist can work with you to find a treatment plan that works for you, including hearing aids, if suitable for your needs. You deserve to hear better.
You can experience more enjoyable listening experiences when you wear hearing aids along with their customized sounds and enhancements. Seeking treatment is never easy, but getting answers is worth it. If you are ready to begin, please contact us at Beltone Skoric Hearing Aid Center today.
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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.
How Do Sinus Infections Cause Hearing Loss
Hearing loss from a sinus infection is a direct result of fluid or mucus flooding and blocking the Eustachian tube. People often describe hearing loss from a sinus infection as sounding like being underwater or, in some cases, just like having earplugs in.
If youre experiencing this type of hearing loss you should see by a medical professional as it could mean that any pre-existing infection has become worse. If youre not sure if you have hearing loss, you can test your hearing free online.
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Integrated Ear Nose And Throat Of Lone Tree Colorado
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders , sudden deafness, or sudden sensorineural hearing loss, strikes one person per 5,000 every year, typically adults in their 40s and 50s. Sudden sensorineural hearing loss usually comes on suddenly and rapidly, and nine out of 10 people with it lose hearing in one ear.
Unfortunately, most people who experience sudden sensorineural hearing loss delay treatment or dont seek treatment at all, because they think the condition is due to allergies, sinus infections, or ear wax impaction. If you suspect you have sudden sensorineural hearing loss, you should seek immediate medical care, because any delayed treatment could result in a permanent hearing loss.
Sudden Hearing Loss FAQs
How is sudden hearing loss diagnosed?
Your audiologist will conduct a hearing test to diagnose sudden sensorineural hearing loss. This test will help answer if your hearing loss is due to one of the following conditions: 1) Sound is not reaching the inner ear due to an obstruction , or 2) The ear is not processing the sound that reaches it due to a sensorineural deficit. With this test, your audiologist will also be able to determine the range of hearing thats been lost. If you have a hearing loss of at least 30 decibels in three connected frequencies, the hearing loss is diagnosed as sudden sensorineural hearing loss.
What are the signs that you may have a sudden hearing loss?
What causes sudden hearing loss?
Brain Injury Or Head Trauma
A serious brain injury or head trauma can damage bones in the middle ear or nerves in the inner ear. This can happen after a fall or blow to the head. Other symptoms of a head injury include headaches, dizziness, and loss of consciousness.
Muffled hearing doesnt always occur by itself. It can appear with other symptoms, too. Its important to describe all symptoms to a doctor to help identify the underlying cause.
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What Is The Connection Between Sinus Infections And Hearing Loss
Sinus infections and the sensation of blocked sinuses are nothing short of annoying. Sinus infections, also known as sinusitis, can cause a range of symptoms including headaches, fever, fatigue, cough, tooth pain, and facial pain. Sinus infections also affect your ears and your hearing.
In this post, nasal and sinus specialist Dr. Conrad McCutcheon explores the connection between sinus infections and hearing loss. We treat both conditions here at Memorial Village ENT in Houston, Texas.
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Can A Blocked Nose Cause Hearing Loss
A blocked nose can make life miserable. Added to a plugged nose, hearing loss can make the problem worse. But why does it happen that whenever there is an episode of a stuffy nose, your hearing also gets affected? Have you given thought about that? Read this blog to know the relation between the blocked nose and hearing loss.
Telling The Difference Between Allergies And Hearing Loss
Many people might put off a hearing test until allergy season is over. However, if your hearing loss doesn’t go away after the season is over, you might have a more serious problem.
The only person that can definitely determine the difference between allergies and hearing loss is an audiologist. However, if you’ve experienced temporary hearing loss in the past, you can rest easy knowing that your issues are most likely caused by allergies.
Allergy-related hearing loss is usually accompanied by dizziness, loss of hearing on one side, congestion, or an earache. As the fluid shifts around in your ear, your pain levels and hearing might change as well. However, if your hearing loss persists for a long period of time, you should see a doctor about the issue.
Many people discover they have permanent hearing loss after visiting the audiologist for allergies. The allergies don’t cause the hearing loss — rather, they had existing hearing loss, and the allergies exacerbated the issue. If you still struggle to hear after pollen season is over, get a hearing test. You might be surprised by the results.
In most cases, permanent hearing loss is caused by the degradation of the cochlea. Hearing loss of this kind will affect certain frequencies of sound for example, someone with sensorineural hearing loss will struggle to hear women’s voices or consonants in speech.
Anatomy Of The Throat
The throat, or pharynx, is divided into three parts. The nasopharynx is located behind the nose. The oropharynx is behind the mouth . And the laryngopharynx , or lower section of the throat, is in front of the esophagus this is where the larynx, or voice box, and the vocal cords are housed . The often-infected tonsils and adenoids are found in the naso- and oropharynx. A number of common problems can affect the throat: strep and other infections that cause sore throats, hoarseness, laryngitis, and tonsillitis are just a few.
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Early Warning Signs Of Hearing Loss:
- Difficulty hearing other people clearly
- Misunderstanding conversations
- Asking people to repeat themselves
- Watching TV or listening to music at a higher volume than others
- Difficult to hear on the phone
- Finding it hard to keep up with a conversation
- Feeling tired or stressed from concentrating while listening
- Muffled hearing
- Ringing in the ears
Hearing loss in general is something that usually happens slowly over time when you are exposed to loud noise.
Hearing loss that is not noise-induced can be caused by allergies, head trauma, medications, trouble with the mechanics inside your ears, diseases, and many other conditions.
Clogged Ear: The Sinus
A sinus infection primarily affects your nose, but symptoms can extend to the ears as well. The sinus-ear connection stems from the fact that your sinuses and ears are connected therefore, clogged and congested sinuses also affect the ears.
There are many ways you can help improve your sinus infection and obtain relief in your ears. Below are some tips that can help decongest your sinuses.
- Use a nasal saline or apply a warm moist washcloth to your nose to add moisture. Humidifiers are also useful to help add moisture to the air and not dry out your nose.
- Over-the-counter pain medications can help relieve ear pain.
- Over-the-counter decongestants can help clear out sinus cavities.
- Avoid extreme temperatures hot or cold weather can worsen sinuses.
- Keep your head up putting it down applies added pressure.
Sinus-related ear problems can also lead to dizziness. If you experience dizziness due to sinuses, you may want to avoid fast movements as it can increase dizziness. Its also important to drink plenty of water to thin mucus and avoid caffeine, salt, alcohol and tobacco, which alter blood flow and can worsen dizziness.
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Throat Symptoms: What’s Causing Your Hoarseness
When you speak, air moving through your vocal cords causes vibrations and results in sound. When all the working parts dont come together properly, your voice can sound strained, raspy, or hoarse. Hoarseness happens for a number of reasons your vocal cords can be swollen from a cold virus or laryngitis . However, prolonged hoarseness can also indicate a serious problem, such as cancer, so see an ENT specialist if your symptoms don’t go away.
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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Top Tips To Protect Your Child From Sinus Infection Hearing Loss
Treat sinusitis early to prevent hearing lossReturn for check up to ensure treatment workedConsider ear tubes if situation is chronicGet tested and treated for allergies to head off sinus infectionsEliminate known allergens from your childs home environmentCall Pediatric ENT for more information
Pediatric ENT can assess your child and help ensure that hearing loss isnt permanent. Give us a call today.
Eustachian Tube Dysfunction Seven Things You Need To Know About Blocked Ears
Everyone has experienced blocked ears, also known as Eustachian Tube Dysfunction or ETD, at some point in their lives. It can often happen when air pressure increases, for example when flying. Some people may experience blocked eustachian tubes with allergies, a sinus infection or a cold. Here are seven things you need to know about Eustachian Tube Dysfunction.
1. What is Eustachian Tube Dysfunction ?
Eustachian Tube Dysfunction occurs when the Eustachian tube from your ear to the back of your throat is unable to equalise pressure. When pressure builds up in the middle of your ear, it can cause hearing difficulties, clogged or blocked ears and even pain.
ETD is a relatively common condition, and usually occurs in mild forms. However, if symptoms are ongoing or severe, blocked Eustachian tubes may require treatment by a healthcare professional.
2. Why do my ears pop and sometimes crackle?
This is the effect of your eustachian tubes equalising the pressure. Most of the time we are unaware of this but during flights or even going up a hill, the sudden change of pressure will make this clearing more noticeable. It may even temporarily feel like your ear is blocked or clogged.
The crackling sound is sometimes described as being like Rice Krispies.
3. I have constantly clogged ears and pain, what is happening?
If your ear feels constantly blocked and painful, you should visit your GP so that they can examine you to ascertain whether you need referring on to an ENT clinic.
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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.
Sinus Problems Related To Hearing Loss
Sinusitis is the infection that affects the para-nasal sinuses known as the sinus cavity. These are the cavities located in the bones near the nose and between the eyes. Sinusitis may be caused due to allergy, common cold or bacterial, viral, and fungal infection. In some cases, tooth extraction or certain dental procedures may also lead to sinusitis.
There are two type of sinusitis, acute and chronic. Typical symptoms of a sinus problem include nasal congestion, runny nose, sinus headaches, and coughing. Could sinus problems cause hearing loss? Yes, acute sinusitis may result in sinus related hearing loss. However, the condition does not lead to complete deafness and the hearing becomes normal once acute sinusitis is cured. On the other hand, chronic sinusitis generally results in temporary hearing loss which may develop into a permanent condition. This happens when chronic sinusitis leads to other complications such as ear infection.
Sinus related hearing loss happens when the infection spreads to the ear, especially when it affects the middle ear. Hearing is affected when pressure gets applied on the eardrums due to inflammation of the sinuses. The pressure develops due to discharge of fluid from different parts, including the sinuses. When this fluid builds up behind the ear drum, the Eustachian tube from the throat to the middle ear gets blocked and becomes swollen. This leads to pressure on the eardrum leading to pain and hearing loss.
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Why Is There Hearing Loss Due To Sinusitis
Sinusitis is defined as the swelling, inflammation of the paranasal sinuses. Para-nasal sinuses are the spaces that are located in the bones, near the nose and between the eyes. Due to the inflammation, the sinuses produce more mucus than normal that can block the nasal passages. The excessive mucus accumulated can prevent the sinuses from draining properly. Now this accumulated mucus can get infected due to the following factors-
- Inhaling irritants such as pollen, dust or smoke
- Common cold
The sinuses are hollow spaces that are located very near to the ear canal. Hence, due to sinusitis, the ear can also become congested. The Eustachian tube that runs from the middle ear to the back of the throat can also become inflamed due to the sinuses. The tube controls the pressure inside the ear so due to inflammation, it cannot function properly. Therefore, there is excessive pressure buildup inside the ear that results in pain and hearing loss.
ENT experts explain that it is better to treat this condition soon as it can cause other symptoms such as ringing inside the ears, sense of loss of balance, bleeding or perforation of the eardrum. Fortunately, this is a treatable condition which means once the sinusitis is cleared up, the mucus can be drained and the tube can release out excess pressure.
Allergies The Common Cold And Sinus Infections
When we breathe in, contaminants and allergens from the environment travel down into our lungs, but can also affect the tube connecting the throat to the ear and cause feelings of a clogged ear and muffled hearing. Medication to alleviate the symptoms of colds, allergies, and sinus infections will improve the feeling of a clogged ear over time.
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