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Can You Lose Hearing From Ear Infection

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Can ear infections cause hearing loss?

If you think that your hearing problem is caused by an underlying ear infection, seek medical help. As mentioned, hearing loss after an ear infection is unpredictable. No risks should be taken. The treatment should focus on curing the infection as soon as possible.

1. Otitis Externa

Otitis externa is successfully treated with ear drops. Usually, the symptoms of otitis externa will improve after a couple of days with the treatment. Without treatment, otitis externa will take weeks to resolve. There are four types of ear drops available:

  • Corticosteroid ear drops
  • Antifungal ear drops
  • Acidic ear drops

Sometimes, a combination of these ear drops can be given. When using ear drops for the treatment of otitis externa, it is very important to use them correctly.

  • First, you will need to gently remove any debris or discharge from the outer ear using a cotton wool.
  • Once the outer ear is cleaned, apply the ear drops on the affected ear.
  • Warm the ear drops before using them by holding them in your hands for a couple of minutes.
  • After applying the ear drops, gently push and pull the affected ear for a couple of seconds so any trapped air gets out.
  • Lie down on one side for about five minutes after applying the ear drops to the affected ear in order for the drops to reach the ear canal and do their work.
  • Make sure to leave the ear canal open so it dries out.

Other specialist treatments available when treating an outer ear infection include:

  • Dry swabbing
  • Syringing or irrigation
  • Microsuction

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.

How Otitis Media Causes Hearing Loss

A person with this condition will have swelling and pus in their ear that can remain there for several months. The infection can be chronic, meaning that it is persistent and returns repeatedly. In some rare cases, the hearing loss due to otitis media can be permanent. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, the average loss of sound due to fluid in the ear is 24 decibels, which is similar to wearing earplugs. If the fluid is thicker, the sound lost may be as much as 45 decibels.

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Can An Ear Infection Cause Hearing Loss

If you notice sounds seem muffled or distorted, you may be searching for a reason as to why. According to UnityPoint Health, ear infections account for more than 30 million trips to the doctor every year in the United States. Ear infections can cause hearing lossâbut in most cases, itâs temporary. Letâs explore this more.

Will I Have Permanent Hearing Loss After I Get An Ear Infection

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What is usually referred to as an ear infection, is medically called otitis media or AOM. Ear infections are very prevalent after a sinus infection or cold and they not only affect children but adults as well. You can even get an ear infection from a bad tooth.

When you have an infection in the middle ear you will most likely have at least some loss of hearing, but will it go away? The answer to this question might be more challenging than you may think. There are quite a few variables to consider. You should learn how the damage caused by ear infections can end up affecting your hearing.

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Can Hearing Loss Be Caused By An Ear Infection

A variety of causes can contribute to hearing loss, including aging, injury, noise exposure, illness, and inheritance. The auditory nerve is affected by these conditions, resulting in sensorineural hearing loss, the most prevalent type of hearing loss. Did you realize, however, that an ear infection can also result in hearing loss? Conductive hearing loss is a type of hearing loss induced by an ear infection.

Fluid can build up in the middle ear due to infection, restricting the movement of the eardrum and the tiny bones that connect it.

Infected Ears And Loss Of Hearing: The Double Whammy

Conductive loss of hearing can affect the following:

  • outer ear
  • middle ear

Usually, the cause is an obstruction in the middle of the ear. Keep in mind, the middle of the ear sends sounds to your auditory nerve. When there is an obstruction it is going to stop the sound from traveling to the middle ear. This will cause loss of hearing. Any type of buildup in the middle ear can produce conductive loss of hearing. This includes:

  • wax
  • fluid in the middle of the ear
  • ear infections

The goal of medical treatment is to eliminate the buildup of fluids while clearing the infection. Untreated hearing loss can lead to bigger issues.

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Check If It’s An Ear Infection

The symptoms of an ear infection usually start quickly and include:

  • pain inside the ear
  • a high temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or above
  • being sick
  • discharge running out of the ear
  • a feeling of pressure or fullness inside the ear
  • itching and irritation in and around the ear
  • scaly skin in and around the ear

Young children and babies with an ear infection may also:

  • rub or pull their ear
  • not react to some sounds
  • be irritable or restless
  • be off their food
  • keep losing their balance

Most ear infections clear up within 3 days, although sometimes symptoms can last up to a week.

When Should A Hearing Test Be Performed

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A hearing test should be performed for children who have frequent ear infections, hearing loss that lasts more than six weeks, or fluid in the middle ear for more than three months. There are a wide range of medical devices now available to test a childs hearing, Eustachian tube function and reliability of the ear drum. They include the otoscopy, tympanometer and audiometer.

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How Long Does Hearing Loss Last In Adults

There are two main types of auditory loss, conductive impairment and sensorineural auditory loss. Conductive loss is often temporary. When the blockage is treated, the impairment usually goes away. Ear infections are typically easily treated with antibiotics. Recurrent ear infections may need further treatment. A doctor can insert a tube in the eardrum to keep the fluid from building up, known as a Eustachian tube. If your hearing doesnt get back to normal after treatment, you should discuss this with your doctor and an auditory professional.

Ear infections can also cause pressure to build up in the ear, which can cause the eardrum to rupture. Left untreated, this can cause damage to the eardrum which can reduce acuity. The tympanic membrane, which is another part of the ear that vibrates in response to sound, can also be scarred from chronic, recurrent ear infections. This, too, can affect hearing.

The second type of loss, sensorineural, occurs when there is damage to the auditory nerve or inner ear. The most common cause of this type of impairment is age-related, known as presbycusis. Sensorineural loss that is age-related is generally permanent, but the impairment can be mitigated with devices. When sensorineural loss occurs suddenly, within three days or less, a medical provider should be contacted immediately.

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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Southern Cross Medical Library

The purpose of the Southern Cross Medical Library is to provide information of a general nature to help you better understand certain medical conditions. Always seek specific medical advice for treatment appropriate to you. This information is not intended to relate specifically to insurance or healthcare services provided by Southern Cross. For more articles go to the Medical Library index page.

How Does Otitis Media Affect A Childs Hearing

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All children with middle ear infection or fluid have some degree of hearing loss. The average hearing loss in ears with fluid is 24 decibels equivalent to wearing ear plugs. Thicker fluid can cause much more loss, up to 45 decibels .

Your child may have hearing loss if he or she is unable to understand certain words and speaks louder than normal. Essentially, a child experiencing hearing loss from middle ear infections will hear muffled sounds and misunderstand speech rather than incur a complete hearing loss. Even so, the consequences can be significant the young patient could permanently lose the ability to consistently understand speech in a noisy environment , leading to a delay in learning important speech and language skills.

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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.

Can Ear Infections Cause Permanent Deafness

Ear infections are a common childhood malady. Fortunately, infections usually dont cause permanent damage in children or adults. If hearing returns to normal after treatment, the risk is lower for permanent deafness. You should discuss any concerns with your doctor. If there is temporary loss, you may be able to use a device to treat the condition until hearing returns.

To prevent recurrent ear infections, wear swim ear plugs when in the water. Dont smoke and limit your and the childs exposure to secondhand smoke. Try to prevent colds and flu, by following good hygiene. Get your flu vaccine. Ask your doctor about using antihistamines to prevent allergies from causing fluid in the ear.

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Will My Hearing Come Back

Approximately half of patients with SSNHL recover at least some hearing without treatment. Patients have a 75 to 80 percent chance of recovery with steroid therapy given early. The earlier that treatment is begun, the better the chances for recovery. Patients with profound hearing loss, which is a complete or near complete loss of hearing, patients who experience dizziness with their sudden hearing loss, and individuals above age 65 have a much lower chance of getting their hearing back. In those cases, you and your healthcare provider should discuss aggressive treatments to try to bring your hearing back. Hearing can take months to return after treatment is finished.

If you do not experience full hearing recovery, you may want to talk to your otolaryngologist and audiologist about hearing aids or other devices you can use to make hearing easier.

Infections In The Middle Ear

Hearing Loss After Ear Infections

Infections in the middle ear often clear up on their own. Antibiotics make little difference to symptoms, including pain.

Antibiotics might be prescribed if:

  • an ear infection does not start to get better after 3 days
  • you or your child has any fluid coming out of their ear
  • you or your child has an illness that means there’s a risk of complications, such as cystic fibrosis

They may also be prescribed if your child is less than 2 years old and has an infection in both ears.

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What Is Middle Ear Infection

The ear is made up of three different sections: the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. These parts all work together so you can hear and process sounds. The outer and middle ear are separated by the eardrum a very thin piece of skin that vibrates when hit by sound waves.

This page deals with middle ear infection , which is the infection / inflammation of the air-filled space behind the eardrum that contains the tiny vibrating bones of the ear. This space can become blocked and filled with mucus , which can become infected, causing inflammation.

There are two types of middle ear infection:

  • An acute infection that starts suddenly and lasts for a short period of time and
  • A chronic ear infection that does not get better or keeps coming back. Chronic ear infection can result in long-term damage to the ear.

Sometimes gel-like fluid will remain in the middle ear after an ear infection, causing “glue ear“, a relatively common condition that is often undetected among New Zealand pre-schoolers. Glue ear can adversely affect hearing and may take several weeks to resolve.

Outer ear infection is characteristically different to middle ear infection. This is a skin infection in the outer ear canal, which may start as an itch and develop into infection causing inflammation. Sometimes referred to as swimmers ear, this kind of infection can normally be treated effectively with ear drops from your doctor or pharmacist.

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.

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Treatment For Ear Infections

Your doctor may give your child antibiotics to treat an ear infection. Antibiotics will help only if it is a bacterial ear infection. Your doctor may choose not to give your child medicine if your child has a virus.

Treatment for ear infections with fluid includes:

  • Waiting for the fluid to go away. For many children, ear fluid will go away in a few months.
  • Surgery to put a tube in your childs eardrum. This tube will let the fluid drain out. Your child may get tubes if he has many ear infections or if fluid will not go away. An ear, nose, and throat doctor, or ENT, does this surgery.

Talk with your childs doctor about what is best for your child. It is important to keep follow-up appointments.

Ear Infection And Hearing Loss: Everything You Need To Know

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Ear infections, or otitis media, are the most common causes of earaches. People of all ages can develop ear infections, although they are more common in babies and young childrenâoften accompanying a cold, flu, or respiratory infection.

The Eustachian tube is a tiny channel that connects the middle ear to the upper respiratory tract. It is the place where the ear, nose and throat connect. This connection means that germs from the nose or sinus cavities can climb up the Eustachian tube to the middle ear and start growing. In children, the Eustachian tube is shorter and narrower, making it easier to become blocked by secretions.

Swimmerâs ear, or otitis externa, is another example of an ear infection that can cause hearing loss. This is an infection in the outer ear canal and usually happens when water remains in the ear after swimming.

âEar infections may sometimes cause a temporary hearing loss due to congestion and/or fluid,â Chrisanda Sanchez, AuD, FAAA, assistant professor of audiology at the University of Miami tells Web MD Connect to Care. When this happens, it can feel like youâre listening through fluid or hearing underwater. Usually, this type of hearing loss is temporary and goes away as soon as the infection is treated.

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Home Remedies For Otomycosis

There are some home remedies that can be used to treat otomycosis or ear fungus. Since moist environments promote fungal infections, keeping the ear dry can be important. One way to do this is to use a hairdryer, but be careful not to burn yourself. Using cotton swabs should be avoided because they can actually scratch the ear canal and make it more prone to ear infections.

Vinegar and alcohol solution can also be used to treat ear fungus. The alcohol helps evaporate any moisture and disinfects the skin. The acidity in the vinegar can reduce the growth of fungus in the ear. A homemade solution of equal parts of alcohol and vinegar has been known to relieve the symptoms of ear fungus when the infection is in its early stages.

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