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.
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 youÃ¢re 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 Is Otitis Media
Put simply, otitis media is an infection of the middle ear. It could be any kind of microorganism causing the infection but bacteria is the most common.
Ear infections are defined by where they occur in the ear. When the infection is in the pinna, or outer ear, or in front of the eardrum, the condition is otitis externa or swimmers ear. If the bacterial growth is in the cochlea, the term is labyrinthitis or inner ear infection.
The middle ear consists of the space behind the eardrum but in front of the cochlea. This area houses the three ossicles, or tiny bones, that vibrate the membranes of the inner ear. An infection in this area tends to be very painful because it puts pressure on the eardrum, usually until it breaks. That pressure is also why you cant hear very well. The infectious material builds up and blocks the ear canal enough to interfere with the movement of sound waves.
The symptoms of a middle ear infection in an adult include:
- Drainage from the ear
- Ear pain
- Diminished hearing
For most people, hearing returns over time. The pressure dissipates and the ear canal opens up. The infection gets resolved and your hearing comes back. There are exceptions, though.
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Can Home Remedies Treat A Hole In The Eardrum
Canine ear issues are relatively common, especially in floppy eared breeds. Eardrums are fragile and easily damaged. A damaged eardrum can heal by itself, but it takes a month or more and causes pain and misery for your dog during that period. Take him to the vet at once if you suspect eardrum damage A ruptured eardrum also known as a perforated eardrum or a tympanic membrane perforation can lead to complications such as middle ear infections and hearing loss. But typically, especially if you protect your ear, a ruptured eardrum will heal on its own without treatment within a couple of months A health care professional will be able to use an otoscope to view the eardrum, assess the degree of damage, and prescribe the necessary treatment. Ruptured eardrums generally take about two weeks to heal, but only your health care provider can decide when youre ready for takeoff Ruptured eardrum causes. A ruptured eardrum can be caused by a number of things, including: Ear infection. This is one of the most common causes of a perforated eardrum. When there is an infection in the ear, fluid builds up just behind the eardrum. The eardrum can perforate when the pressure behind the eardrum gets too high Nicole Black, 28, of Utica, has created a biodegradable device that allows eardrum perforations to heal themselves. The device, called Phonograft, can be used in patients who suffer ear trauma.
Recurring Ear Infections And Long
Recurring ear infections can cause something called tympanosclerosisthe fancy medical term for scar tissue and calcium deposits left in your middle ear or on the eardrum. This can cause conductive hearing loss, which may not go away completely without treatment or hearing assistive devices. Depending on the extent and type of tympanosclerosis, further medical treatment, surgery, or hearing aids may be required to get your hearing back.
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Can I Go Swimming After A Ruptured Eardrum
Most doctors and health care providers who treat individuals with ruptured eardrums advise their patients not to go swimming while the eardrum is healing. The eardrum helps to keep viruses, bacteria, and other contaminants from entering the inner ear. Swimming can cause pressure changes that can force contaminants and bacteria through the ruptured membrane and encourage problems such as infection of the inner ear. This situation is especially true for individuals that like to scuba dive. You and your doctor need to discuss when and if you are able to go back to swimming and other activities like scuba diving.
Otitis Media Exactly What Is It
Otitis media is an infection of the middle ear to put it simply. Bacteria is the most common cause, but it could be caused by any type of micro-organism.
The main way an infection is defined is by what part of the ear it occurs in. The outer ear, which is called the pinna, is the part of the ear where swimmers ear happens, which is called otitis externa. The term labyrinthitis refers to an infection of the cochlea or inner ear.
The space behind the eardrum but in front of the cochlea is called the middle ear. This area houses the three ossicles, or tiny bones, that vibrate the membranes of the inner ear. An infection in this area tends to be very painful because it puts pressure on the eardrum, usually until it actually breaks. That pressure is also why you dont hear very well. The infectious material accumulates and blocks the ear canal enough to hinder the movement of sound waves.
The symptoms of a middle ear infection in an adult include:
- Leakage from the ear
- Pain in the ear
- Diminished hearing
Usually, hearing will come back in the course of time. Hearing will come back after the pressure dissipates permitting the ear canal to open up. The issue will only be resolved when the infection gets better. Sometimes there are complications, however.
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Hearing Aids And Implants
If you have permanent hearing loss, a specialist will often recommend hearing aids. These will not make your hearing perfect, but they make sounds louder and clearer.
Some people may need a hearing implant. These are devices that are attached to your skull or placed deep inside your ear.
How Long Does Hearing Loss Last After A Ruptured Eardrum
Most people in the United States enjoy what might be described as the priceless gift of good hearing. However, more than 200,000 people each year experience a ruptured eardrum . That is usually a temporary condition, but it can also have serious and long-lasting consequences if not treated quickly and properly.
A ruptured eardrum is simply a perforation, or a tear, in the thin skin-like tympanic membrane that separates ones outer ear from the delicate structures of the middle and inner areas. It senses vibrating sound waves and passes the vibrations through the bones of the middle ear. Because these vibrations allow a person to hear, ones hearing will suffer if the eardrum is damaged. It is also a protective device, shielding the inner area from the potential damage of bacteria, water, and foreign objects.
Recovery From Eardrum Rupture
A ruptured eardrum often heals without any invasive treatment. Most people with ruptured eardrums experience only temporary hearing loss. Even without treatment, your eardrum should heal in a few weeks.
Youll usually be able to leave the hospital within one to two days of an eardrum surgery. Full recovery, especially after treatment or surgical procedures, typically occurs within eight weeks.
To Tube Or Not To Tube
Traditionally, children who experience recurrent ear infections for three months or longer and have hearing loss are candidates for a myringotomy, a surgery in which tubes are inserted into the ear to keep the middle ear ventilated. However, in light of new studies, doctors are increasingly opting to forgo this surgery. A 1994 study found that in 23 percent of cases, tubes were medically unnecessary. In addition, a new study of 182 children, published in a recent issue of the medical journal Lancet, found that putting off surgery for up to nine months didnt hamper a toddlers long-term language abilities. If your doctor suggests a myringotomy, you might want a second opinion.
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Ear Infection Symptoms Treatment
Middle ear infection is a bacterial or viral infection that may cause earache, temporary hearing loss, and fluid discharge.
Middle ear infections occur mainly in early childhood, although older children and adults also get these kinds of infection. It is estimated that one in four children will develop an acute ear infection before they turn 5 years of age. Children should always be taken to a doctor if they have earache.
How To Prevent Temporary Hearing Loss
You can prevent temporary hearing loss by protecting your hearing. This can involve earplugs, regularly getting your ears cleaned, and avoiding ototoxic medications. The most important aspect of preventing hearing loss is avoiding loud noise. While concerts and other events can be fun, they can also do serious damage to your inner ears. Once the damage is done, it cannot be repaired. You only have one set of ears, so its vital that you take care of them. You can protect your ears from noise exposure by:
- Wearing earplugs. You dont have to avoid things like car shows, gun ranges, concerts, and sports games. You just have to wear protection when you go. Make sure to buy a pair of earplugs before you attend these events, and consider investing in a fitted, reusable pair.
- Limit your time at parties and clubs. Loud music is a menace to your ears, and while parties and clubs are very fun, they can deal some serious damage. Depending on the decibel volume, you should limit your time at these places to an hour or two. After that, you should move your fun to a quieter location.
- Take rests. Your ears need breaks, too. If youve had a long day, attended a loud event, or just feel a bit exhausted by noise, dont turn on the television or put on some music. Just enjoy the silence and rest your ears.
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How Does A Rupture Affect Eardrum Functions
When sound waves hit the eardrum , the eardrum vibrates and moves the tiny bones in your middle ear, which send vibrations to your inner ear. A perforation in the eardrum causes it to not vibrate properly and can cause hearing loss.
When an eardrum is ruptured, it can allow water or bacteria to enter the ear and cause a middle ear infection .
Can Ear Infections Cause Hearing Loss
Types of Ear Infection
Otitis ExternaInfection of the outside of the ear canal. Water in the ear or other factors can cause inflammation that blocks the sound from moving through the ear canal. Swimmers ear is a form of otitis externa. Most of the time, with this type of ear infection, hearing loss goes away when the swelling goes down.
Otitis MediaThe middle of the ear canal becomes infected. A cold, allergies, or the introduction of bacteria and viruses cause pockets of infection to form behind the eardrum. Patients with a middle ear infection experience pain and fever. Left untreated, middle ear infections can cause permanent hearing loss.
Otitis Media With EffusionWhen fluid sits on the eardrum for a length of time, it blocks or muffles sound. There may not be any virus or bacteria involved, but if the fluid gets infected, the eardrum might burst.
Viral InfectionsThe cochlea is the part of your ear directly responsible for hearing. Infections of the cochlea can cause sudden hearing loss that might be irreversible.
Complications From Ear Infections
Most ear infections clear up quickly when children receive proper medical care, although some children just seem to have one ear infection after the other. When infections are frequent, there is an increased risk of these complications:
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What Can You Do To Prevent This Permanent Hearing Loss
If you think you may have an ear infection, call a doctor immediately. The sooner you get treatment, the better. Always have chronic ear infection checked by a doctor. More damage is caused by more serious infections. Ear infections usually begin with allergies, sinus infections, and colds so take measures to prevent them. Its time to stop smoking because it leads to chronic respiratory problems which can, in turn, lead to ear infections.
If youve had an ear infection and still are having difficulties hearing, see your doctor. It could be possible that you have some damage, but that is not the only thing that can cause conductive hearing loss. Hearing aids can be very helpful if you have permanent hearing loss. To get more info about hearing aids, schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist.
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.
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What Are The Effects And Signs Of Nihl
When you are exposed to loud noise over a long period of time, you may slowly start to lose your hearing. Because the damage from noise exposure is usually gradual, you might not notice it, or you might ignore the signs of hearing loss until they become more pronounced. Over time, sounds may become distorted or muffled, and you might find it difficult to understand other people when they talk or have to turn up the volume on the television. The damage from NIHL, combined with aging, can lead to hearing loss severe enough that you need hearing aids to magnify the sounds around you to help you hear, communicate, and participate more fully in daily activities.
NIHL can also be caused by extremely loud bursts of sound, such as gunshots or explosions, which can rupture the eardrum or damage the bones in the middle ear. This kind of NIHL can be immediate and permanent.
Loud noise exposure can also cause tinnitusa ringing, buzzing, or roaring in the ears or head. Tinnitus may subside over time, but can sometimes continue constantly or occasionally throughout a persons life. Hearing loss and tinnitus can occur in one or both ears.
Sometimes exposure to impulse or continuous loud noise causes a temporary hearing loss that disappears 16 to 48 hours later. Recent research suggests, however, that although the loss of hearing seems to disappear, there may be residual long-term damage to your hearing.
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After I Get An Ear Infection Will I Get My Hearing Back
by Hearcare, Inc. and Associates | Aug 15, 2018
Otitis media is the medical name for what you probably call an ear infection. Ear infections such as this are often seen in infants and young children but they can affect adults, as well, particularly during or after a cold or sinus infection. You can even get an ear infection if you have a bad tooth.
Just how long will hearing loss last after you get an infection of the middle ear? You might not realize it but the answer can be complicated. Ear infections have a lot happening. There is damage which can be caused that you need to understand and also how that damage can affect your hearing.
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Ear Infection And Hearing Loss: Everything You Need To Know
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.