Causes Of Hearing Loss
There are lots of possible causes of hearing loss. It may be caused by something treatable or it may be permanent.
Your symptoms may give you an idea what could be causing it. But do not self-diagnose, see a GP for advice.
You can call 111 or get help from 111 online.
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.
Who Is At Risk For Noise
Your child may be around loud noise anywhere. Examples of noises that can cause hearing loss include:
Common sources of noise from loud appliances such as hair dryers, food processors, blenders traffic or subway or tools or equipment such as leaf blowers and lawn mowers.
Recreational activities like rock concerts, snowmobiles, go-carts, or radio-controlled airplanes.
Listening to music on a personal device, like an MP3 player, with the volume turned up too high.
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Treatments For Hearing Loss
Treatment for hearing loss depends on what’s causing it.
Sometimes a GP may be able to treat the cause, for example:
- an ear infection might be treated with antibiotics
- an earwax build-up might be treated with ear drops or removed
If your hearing loss is not caused by something a GP can treat, they may refer you to a hearing specialist for further tests and treatment.
What Causes Temporary Hearing Loss In Children
Temporary hearing loss typically resolves within a few months. Possible causes include:
- Blockage. Some children fail their school hearing screening. When this occurs, you may have them tested again at an audiologists office. The good news: The culprit may be often just excess wax in their ears.
- Infection. A cold or virus sometimes causes temporary hearing loss due to fluid accumulating in middle ear. You will most likely see this problem if your infant or child goes to daycare. Congestion and fluid in the ear from the infection limits movement of the eardrum. When the infection and/or fluid clears, the hearing returns.
- Trauma. If your child hits his head, hearing loss can be temporary due to blood flowing into the middle ear. However, if the injury fractures the temporal bone where the inner ear sits, this too can cause hearing loss. A surgeon may not be able repair this type of hearing loss however.
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Causes Of Permanent Hearing Loss
Although hearing loss may just be temporary, it could also be permanent and its important that you seek advice from a specialist as soon as possible. If your hearing is failing, its important that you get hearing aids right away to stop your hearing from getting any worse. People often underestimate how much of an impact hearing loss can have on your life so its important that you get the right treatment, but how can you tell if hearing loss is a serious, permanent problem?
Your age is a big factor, so if you are above the age of 60, you should pay close attention to your hearing and see a specialist as soon as you notice any changes.
Its also important that you get your ears tested often if you work in a loud environment or you are exposed to loud noise on a regular basis. Occasional exposure to loud noises can cause temporary hearing loss but if it is a regular occurrence, you are at risk of permanent hearing loss.
You should also consider your daily habits and whether they might be doing damage to your ears. People that listen to loud music through headphones every day, for example, have a higher risk of permanent hearing loss.
In some cases, your hearing loss may be temporary and there will be a specific reason for it. If you think that it may be temporary, wait a week or so and see if there is any change. If not, go to see a specialist and get your ears tested. However, if you are concerned, its always best to be cautious and seek medical advice.
Do You Have Permanent Or Temporary Hearing Loss
There are a number of causes of hearing loss. Some produce temporary hearing loss, which means your hearing should return to normal once the initial problem is resolved, while causes like old age and exposure can lead to permanent hearing loss.
Below is a breakdown of conditions that can lead to temporary hearing loss.
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Sudden Hearing Loss Treatment
While you may be tempted to wait it out, its important to see your doctor right away if youre experiencing sudden or temporary hearing loss. Early treatment can often mean better chance at a faster and fuller recovery. Your doctor will review your medical history and perform a physical exam. He or she may refer you to an ENTa doctor who specializes in ears, nose and throat. Be sure to disclose any medications youre currently taking, as well as any diagnosed medical conditions you already have.
The doctor may perform certain tests to assess your hearing at different sound volumes, as well as check for any damage to your middle ear and eardrum. He or she may also order blood tests or an MRI to get detailed images of the ear and brain to check for any cysts, tumors or other abnormalities.
Steroids are one of the most common treatment options for this type of hearing loss. They can help reduce inflammation and swelling, as well as help the body fight off infection. Antibiotics may be prescribed if an infection is diagnosed or suspected. The doctor may have you stop or switch medications if one youre taking is harmful to ears.
What Can Cause Permanent Hearing Loss In Children
Several more serious issues can cause permanent hearing loss. Possibilities include:
- Genetic conditions. certain syndromes and inherited gene disorders cause hearing loss in children.
- Premature birth. Babies born early that spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit may have risk factors for hearing loss, including low birth weight and treatment with antibiotics and a ventilator.
- Ear malformations. Babies can be born with ear malformations, including deformed ear, narrow or obstructed ear canals.
- Noise exposure. Noises louder than 85 decibels can damage the tiny hair cells in the ear. Short-term exposure causes temporary hearing loss . However, long-term exposure can permanently damage the hair cells.
- Trauma. If your child hits his head hard enough, it may cause nerve damage. Doctors cant fix this, but treatment may include various types of hearing aids.
- Illnesses. Encephalitis and meningitis all sometimes cause lasting hearing loss in children.
Talk to your pediatrician if you think your child may have a hearing problem. If treatment is available or if you can take steps to limit the damage its always better to find out sooner rather than later.
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What Is Sudden Temporary Hearing Loss
Hearing loss often happens gradually over time. However, sometimes it can come on suddenly, either instantly or over the course of a few days. Sudden hearing loss can be a very upsetting and confusing issue to experience. The good news is that temporary hearing loss can often be remedied, especially if diagnosed and treated early. Here, we break down the main causes for temporary or sudden hearing loss, as well as treatment options and , what you can do to minimize your risk of experiencing it.
Dr. Victoria Zambrano, Au.D.
Temporary And Permanent Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is a decrease in your ability to hear or understand speech and sounds around you. Hearing loss can happen when any part of the ear or the nerves that carry information on sounds to your brain do not work in the usual way. In some cases, hearing loss can be temporary. However, it can become permanent when vital parts of the ear have been damaged beyond repair. Damage to any part of the ear can lead to hearing loss.
Loud noise is particularly harmful to the inner ear . A one-time exposure to extremely loud sounds or listening to loud sounds for a long time can cause hearing loss. Loud noise can damage cells and membranes in the cochlea. Listening to loud noise for a long time can overwork hair cells in the ear, which can cause these cells to die. The hearing loss progresses as long as the exposure continues. Harmful effects might continue even after noise exposure has stopped. Damage to the inner ear or auditory neural system is generally permanent.
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How To Know If Tinnitus Is Temporary Or Not
Do you think you might be experiencing tinnitus? Tinnitus is a condition that causes an individual to hear a noise that isnt actually there. The noise can be anything from a whirring to a whistling or even what seems like a ringing bell. It could even be a small piece of music that seems to play on your head in repeat.
It is important to be aware that not all types of tinnitus are permanent. Tinnitus can be temporary, at least at first. If the right management measures are not taken its possible that the condition does gradually become permanent. There are a few factors to consider when determining whether tinnitus is temporary or not. Lets take a look at some of these possibilities.
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How To Tell If Hearing Loss Is Permanent Or Temporary
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Damage to our auditory system can come in many ways, but you have the power to protect your ears from hearing loss. High decibel noise, accidents, genetics, and many more situations can lead to damage and complications in the ear. The severity and duration of hearing loss symptoms rely on a wide range of causes. Learn how hearing loss can occur, how symptoms of hearing loss can affect you, and how to tell if hearing loss is permanent or temporary.
What is Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss is the decreased function or total inability of the ear to intake sound from the external environment and relay it to the brain. This loss of hearing ability can be the result of many complications or situations, from work environment to damage from an accident. Whatever the cause, hearing loss can have a vast impact on those affected.
How Does Hearing Loss Occur?
There is no one common cause of hearing loss. There are a variety of factors throughout life that can have an effect on our hearing. The cause of hearing loss most often indicates the type and duration that hearing loss will have.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Medical Hearing Loss
Other medical conditions that can lead to hearing loss are diagnosed earlier in life. Some conditions, like genetic disorders, autoimmune diseases, or Menieres disease can lead to hearing loss as the progress in someones life.
Head Trauma Hearing Loss
Age-Related Hearing Loss
Is Hearing Loss Permanent or Temporary?
Hearing Loss Symptoms
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.
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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.
Temporary Hearing Loss : Causes And Treatments
Written byDr. Victor MarchionePublished onApril 17, 2017
There are many kinds of hearing loss and even more reasons for it occurring, and temporary hearing loss is the most common of the bunch.
There are generally three classifications of hearing impairment sensorineural, conductive, and mixed hearing loss. Of the three, conductive hearing loss is associated as being temporary in nature, while sensorineural hearing loss tends to be more permanent, and a mix is a combination of the two.
Sensorineural hearing loss is considered to be the most severe, as it involves abnormality or destruction of the inner structures of the ear and the auditory nerve. This may occur from birth due to genetic conditions, or viral, bacterial or disease exposure while still in the womb. Temporary forms of sensorineural hearing loss can occur and only require time to heal.
Conductive hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss, as it involves the outer ear and its structures. This means that direct trauma, infection, or even excessive wax buildup can decrease levels of hearing, but can improve with treatment. This type accounts for the majority of childhood hearing impairments.
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Can Hearing Loss Be Permanent
Yes, hearing loss can be permanent.
When hearing loss is permanent, it means that there is no way to restore hearing sensitivity.
If you have recently noticed a drop in your hearing ability, you may have a treatable temporary hearing loss. If you wait too long before seeking medical attention, a temporary hearing loss might become permanent and irreversible.
Tumors And Hearing Loss
Sometimes a slow-growing, benign tumor develops around the nerves that control balance and hearing. This usually causes hearing loss in only one ear. This type of tumor, caused by an overgrowth of nerve-supporting Schwann cells, goes by many names. These include “acoustic neuroma” and “vestibular schwannoma.”
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Is Tinnitus Permanent Or Temporary
If tinnitus is the result of a one-off exposure to loud noise like a concert, or an extension of an allergic reaction, its typically temporary. It usually will subside within a few hours or a few days or once the hearing system has recovered or the allergic reaction is addressed. This said, if you experience ongoing exposure to noise or have an underlying medical condition that can cause this symptom, it may, in these cases, be permanent.
As per Statistics Canada, four out of every ten adult Canadians experience some degree of tinnitus, yet most people do not actually report it to their healthcare providers. Ultimately, theres a number of reasons why tinnitus may occur.
Noise-induced: Have a slight ringing in the ears after attending a loud concert? Chances are, this is only temporary. Since the recovery time varies per person, it may take anywhere between a few hours to a few days for the symptoms to disappear. For sensitive ears, tinnitus from a noisy event may sometimes become permanent too.
Ear-wax related: Has excessive ear wax buildup led to your symptom? To have it removed, visit a qualified Professional. Avoid digging your ears with cotton swabs, as incorrect usage could worsen the blockage and worsen this issue.
How Do I Know If I Have Hearing Loss Caused By Loud Noise
10 Signs of Hearing Loss
If you have any of these signs or symptoms, you may have hearing loss caused by noise:
Loud noise can cause ringing, hissing, or roaring in the ears . This usually occurs immediately after you are exposed to the loud noise, but then it usually, though not always, goes away. However, it can be an indication of early hearing damage.
After you are exposed to loud noise, sounds that seem normal to most people may start to sound unbearably loud to you . People with this increased sensitivity to sound may experience discomfort or physical pain. And it may be a sign of hearing damage.
If you have any signs of hearing loss, get tested by a qualified healthcare provider.
Prevention and Early Detection of Hearing Loss are Important
Your doctor may refer you to a hearing specialist or other healthcare provider who is qualified to test hearing if you
Children Should Have Their Hearing Tested
Tips for People at Risk for Noise-Related Hearing Loss
Learn More about Hearing Tests
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