Seek Help For Clogged Ears
Although weve covered four of the most common reasons you ears may feel clogged, its always wise to seek the advice of a hearing healthcare professional whenever you are having trouble hearing. Unclogging your ears at home using home remedies such as ear candling or a cotton swab is never a good idea.
Heres a tip: Find a doctor, hearing specialist or audiologist near you and have your hearing evaluated before trouble starts. The baseline information the initial test provides will be a good benchmark for your medical team to use in an emergency situation and to monitor your hearing health.
How Is Unilateral Hearing Loss Managed
Hearing loss treatments often depend on what causes your hearing loss and how severe it is.
Management options for unilateral hearing loss or single-sided deafness include:
In addition to devices, communication strategies and environmental modifications can help people with hearing loss communicate more effectively.
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 Severe Is Your Hearing Loss
This is the simplest and most frequently used way of describing a hearing loss. Audiologists often use the categories mild, moderate, severe, and profound.
By and large, if you have a mild hearing loss you will be able to hear a conversation without much struggle if youre in a quiet room near the person talking, as long as there is little background noise, but you may struggle when louder background noise is present.
If you have a severe to profound hearing loss you will be unable to hear what anyone is saying under almost most circumstances.
However, there is much more you need to know before you can understand your hearing fully, as it is not simply about hearing individual sounds and tones.
What Type Of Sound Can You Hear
The most common type of hearing loss is a high-frequency hearing loss frequently found in older people, called presbyacusis. This makes speech muffled and harder to follow, you hear the words but cannot always understand.
You can also have a low frequency hearing loss you may have lost some of the mid frequencies or you may have an equal loss across all the frequencies.
Some people are particularly sensitive to loud sounds.
Each of these will have different effects on how hard you find it to follow speech, and how comfortable you feel in different sound situations.
Your audiologist may use the terms conductive, sensory, sensorineural, or mixed when describing your hearing. These terms indicate which part of your auditory pathway is damaged, and understanding them can help you understand why you hear sounds as you do, and the type of help you can expect from a hearing aid.
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Treatment Of Sudden Hearing Loss
Treatment is directed at any known cause of the sudden hearing loss. When the cause is unknown, most doctors try giving corticosteroids. In addition, doctors may also prescribe antiviral drugs effective against herpes simplex , even though there is no good evidence that antiviral drugs are beneficial.
When the cause is unknown, about half of people regain normal hearing and hearing is partially recovered in others. Improvement, if it can be achieved, usually occurs within 10 to 14 days. Recovery from an ototoxic drug Ear Disorders Caused by Drugs Many drugs can damage the ears . Some ototoxic drugs include the antibiotics streptomycin, tobramycin, gentamicin, neomycin, and vancomycin, certain chemotherapy drugs , hearing returns within 24 hours. However, antibiotic and chemotherapy drugs often cause permanent hearing loss if safe dosages have been exceeded.
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 Research Does The Nidcd Support On Sudden Deafness
Since so little is known about the causes of most cases of SSHL, researchers are considering different types, risk factors, and causes of SSHL. For instance, researchers are studying how changes in the inner ear, such as disrupted blood flow or inflammation, may contribute to hearing loss. Researchers are also testing new ways to use imaging to help diagnose SSHL and potentially detect its causes.
NIDCD-funded researchers are also trying to improve ways of dispensing drugs into the inner ear by intratympanic injections. Scientists are developing ways to infuse drugs into tiny microspheres that can slowly release the drug. This would allow doctors to give a single injection of a slow-releasing drug into the ear rather than several injections of a traditional fast-releasing drug. Another team of scientists is studying the use of magnets to push drug-infused particles into and throughout the inner ear, distributing the drug more evenly and effectively. Visit the NIH Clinical Research Trials and You website to read about these and other clinical trials that are recruiting volunteers.
What If Im Concerned
If youre worried that you might be experiencing the early stages of hearing loss, its crucial to book an appointment with an audiologist as soon as possible. At Cornerstone Audiology, our doctors provide full hearing evaluations, meaning they can accurately diagnose your condition. If you require hearing treatments, they can offer open, honest advice about what will best manage or cure your problem.
Are you experiencing hearing loss symptoms or know someone who is? Request a callback now, and a member of the Cornerstone Audiology team will be able to assist you today!
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Exposure To Certain Drugsexposure To Certain Drugs
Everyone reacts differently to medication, but some may be ototoxic and contribute to hearing loss in one or both ears. Meds that are known to be ototoxic can damage the sensitive nerve cells in our inner ear. This damage may lead to temporary or permanent hearing loss, ringing in the ears or dizziness. Check with your doctor if you take any of the following:
- Pain relievers
Symptoms Of Temporary Hearing Loss
The signs of temporary hearing loss are fairly straightforward. They include:
- Loss of hearing in one or both ears. This hearing loss may be mild to profound.
- Tinnitus. This is a constant ringing, humming, or roaring in your ears. It can occur in one or both ears and might affect your ability to sleep and relax.
- Feeling of fullness in the ear. This can be unpleasant and might feel like a constant pressure in the ear. It is often caused by fluid buildup or blockages.
- Have issues hearing certain voices and sounds . Certain frequencies can become difficult to hear if youre suffering from hearing loss. Oftentimes, sounds on the higher end of the frequency are lost first.
- Difficulty following conversations, especially in groups. You might feel lost in conversation, and struggle to differentiate between words and background noise.
- Dizziness. Your ears play a serious part in your balance system. When the delicate organs in the inner ear are affected, you can feel dizzy or unbalanced.
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How You Wear It Matters
How you wear your hearing aid plays an essential part in how it feels. The feeling of comfort will only come from regularly practicing how to appropriately place it in the ear. The more uncomfortable it sits in the ear, the more strange it will feel to wear it. So be sure to put in some magic in your method, and continue to fit it, reposition it if you must until you get to the point where it feels comfortable and you have almost forgotten that it is there.
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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The New Normal Of Everyday Sounds
Experiencing hearing loss simply means that you are no longer exposed to sounds that you previously were they have become softer which has altered your overall listening experience. The ultimate goal of a hearing aid is to amplify sounds according to your existing hearing loss wearing a hearing aid will then feel like stepping into a new world of sounds. These sounds may not be the same as what you are used to because of the mechanics of the hearing aid. The device provides amplification, but the way certain things sound may be altered and may come across as unnatural at first. With more use, your ears will adapt to the new normal of sounds.
Why Does Hearing Loss Occur
Much of the time, hearing loss with lupus happens because something is wrong with the inner ear. Hearing loss that happens because the inner ears are not working is called sensorineural hearing loss .1
One cause of inner ear damage in people with lupus is autoimmune inner ear disease . In AIED, the bodys immune system attacks the inner ear, causing damage that results in hearing loss. While it is possible to have AIED on its own, 15 to 30 percent of those with AIED have other autoimmune disorders. These other disorders include:4,5
Sometimes SNHL is very sudden, with severe or even total hearing loss taking place over 3 days or even a couple of hours. This type of sudden SNHL is also associated with having other autoimmune disorders.5
Some doctors think that sudden SNHL might be the result of vasculitis. Vasculitis happens when blood vessels are inflamed. It reduces blood flow, in this case to the inner ears. When blood flow to the inner ears is restored, hearing comes back. Unfortunately, even if hearing comes back, repeated bouts of vasculitis can cause permanent hearing loss.1
A 2020 study showed that antimalarial drugs like hydroxychloroquine do not cause hearing loss. People with lupus who were taking antimalarial drugs had no more hearing loss than those who were not.8
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How Is My Hearing Affected By Conductive Hearing Loss
When suffering from conductive hearing loss, its common to experience these changes in your hearing:
- Noise sounds quieter but not less clear than before.
- Your own voice seems to sound different when you are talking.
- You can hear better out of one ear than the other
These changes to your hearing come about because of the obstruction in your ear and will vary in intensity and sensation according to what is causing the problem. Its also possible to experience non-hearing related symptoms of conductive hearing loss such as a discharge from the ear. Often the fact that hearing only seems to be affected in one ear is a sign that you are suffering from conductive hearing loss as opposed to another kind of hearing loss.
What Are The Causes
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What Does Hearing Loss Sound Like
During their first appointment at Cornerstone Audiology, many patients ask their doctor, But what does hearing loss sound like!? Its a simple question. But in truth, it will be different for each person and will depend on their lifestyle choices and specific hearing condition. These are some of the ways that you can experience a hearing loss.
Is Sudden Hearing Loss An Emergency
When someone suddenly loses his or her hearing, its hard to know what to do or when to get help. Ear specialist Steven Rauch, MD offers insights about the different types of sudden hearing loss and when to seek treatment.
If youve experienced a time when hearing in one ear seems to be muffled or blocked abruptly, you were likely undergoing a form of hearing loss. There are two conditions that can cause a sudden loss of hearing like this: conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss.
Sudden conductive hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the outer or middle ear that prevents sound from travelling to the inner ear. A common reason this occurs is due to earwax buildup.
Sudden sensorineural hearing loss is the loss of nerve sensitivity. This is much more serious because there is only a small window of time to be treated before permanent damage occurs. It is much less common than sudden conductive hearing loss.
Sudden sensorineural hearing loss seems to strike about one person in 5,000 every year, said Dr. Steven Rauch, an ear specialist at Massachusetts Eye and Ear. Here in metro Boston, it amounts to approximately three to five hundred cases a year.
Because it can be difficult for anyone to tell the difference between these two types of hearing loss, Focus sat down with Dr. Rauch to review some commonly asked questions, and to conduct a quick test to determine whether to seek help immediately.
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Women Share What It Feels Like To Lose Your Hearing
The crashing of ocean waves. The live music from a band onstage. The whir of city life. These are sounds that many of us take for granted, but for these 9 women living with hearing loss, it’s a different story. They share their personal takes on what it’s like to lose your hearing.
“When I was 6 years old, my mother whispered something in my left ear and I did not respond. She repeated whatever she was saying and nothing. She told my dad and he tried. Nothing. Doctors can only guess what caused the nerve damagemaybe it was fever from chicken pox? My parents were beside themselves. My mother wanted to enroll me in an institute for the deaf, but the doctor advised my parents that it wasn’t that severe. He wrote a ‘prescription’ requiring me to be seated in the front left of every classroom, which helped, as did learning to read lips.
I’m now a public speaker, yet I find it embarrassing when audience members speak. Unless they wave their arms, I’m often scanning several hundred attendees in a futile attempt to find the lips that are moving. At social events, it’s hard to hear, and I feel like a much older person asking, ‘What did you say?’ or ‘Can you repeat that?’ Eventually, I get tired of asking and smile politely. Later, if friends reference the conversation, they’re confused. ‘Don’t you remember, Brenda? You were right there!’ No, I don’t remember, likely because I couldn’t hear the conversation.” Brenda Avadian, 57, Pearblossom, CA