Causes Of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can have many different causes. For example:
- sudden hearing loss in 1 ear may be;due to;earwax, an;ear infection, a;perforated eardrum;or;Ménière’s disease
- sudden hearing loss in both ears;may be;due to damage from a very loud noise, or taking certain medicines that can;affect hearing
- gradual hearing loss in 1 ear;may be due to something inside the ear, such as fluid ,;a;bony growth; or a;build-up of;skin cells
- gradual hearing loss in both ears is usually caused by;ageing or exposure to loud noises over many years
This may give you an idea of;the reason for;hearing loss ;but make sure you see;a GP to get a proper diagnosis. It might not always be possible to identify an obvious cause.
Hearing Loss Or Tinnitus As A Side Effect Of Medication Used To Treat Coronavirus
What is well-known:;Some medications used to treat the coronavirus carry a relatively high;risk of hearing loss, ringing in the ears;or vertigo and dizziness;as a side effect. These drugs include quinine, cholorquine;and hydroxychloroquine.
“These antiviral medications have known adverse events, including tinnitus and hearing loss, and the symptoms may be misdiagnosed as being caused by COVID-19,” stated the authors of the systematic review mentioned above.
How Do Doctors Diagnose It
Hearing loss can be difficult to diagnose in infants and babies because they haven’t yet developed communication skills. All babies are screened before they leave the hospital to see if they have hearing loss. Sometimes parents may begin to notice that the baby doesn’t respond to loud noises or to the sound of voices, or has a delay in speech.
Certain symptoms in teens should prompt a trip to the doctor. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, you should let your parents or doctor know if:
- You feel that people mumble or that their speech is not clear, or you hear only parts of conversations when people are talking.
- You often ask people to repeat what they said.
- Friends or family tell you that you don’t seem to hear very well.
- You don’t laugh at jokes because you miss too much of the story.
- You need to ask others about the details of a class or meeting you attended.
- People say that you play music or your TV too loudly.
- You can’t hear the doorbell or telephone.
The doctor will do an ear exam and, if necessary, refer someone with these symptoms to an audiologist, a health professional who specializes in diagnosing and treating hearing problems. The audiologist will do various hearing tests that can help detect where the problem might be.
A person may also need to see an otolaryngologist , a doctor who specializes in ear, nose, and throat problems.
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Common Causes Of Sudden Muffled Hearing
There are a few different causes, which include:;
- Excessive ear wax ear wax is a natural lubricant and serves a protective function, however, if this builds up in the ear canal , it can cause a blockage. If you have an impacted ear, you might struggle to hear, have earaches, experience extreme pressure, or have ringing in the ear.
- Common cold when congestion blocks the Eustachian tube, it can lead to muffled hearing. When your congestion goes down, your symptoms usually go away.;
- Sinus Infection Infections can cause sinus drainage, triggering ear congestion, and muffled hearing.
- Hay fever symptoms can be like those of a cold and sinus infection, and any muffled hearing caused should reduce once your allergies subside.
- Loud noise a burst of extremely loud sound such as an explosion, gunfire, and an alarm can damage your hearing by tearing a hole in the eardrum or damaging small bones in the middle ear.;
- Foreign objects getting stuck in the ear such as a wad of cotton or an earing can lead to hearing loss
- Head or brain injury blunt force can damage the tympanic membrane, middle ear, and nerve cells in the cochlea, leading to symptoms such as muffled hearing, hearing loss, and tinnitus.
If your muffled hearing develops gradually, it could be presbycusis .
Is It Meniere’s Disease
This is a disorder of your inner ear that can cause permanent damage. Symptoms include hearing loss, ringing in your ears, vertigo, and a feeling of fullness or pressure in your ear. It usually happens in only one ear.
The hearing loss tends to come and go at first. Eventually, some of the loss can be permanent.
Doctors aren’t sure what causes Meniere’s disease. One theory is that it may come from a large buildup of fluid in your inner ear. Reasons for this might include:
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You Have An Asymmetric Hearing Loss
An asymmetric hearing loss means that your hearing is worse in one ear than the other.
Sometimes people who have a difference in hearing between the ears, describe a muffled sound quality in the poorer ear. This is especially true if there is a sudden change in hearing in one ear.
This difference in hearing between the ears leaves your brain confused and you may experience a plugged or full sensation in the poorer ear.
You may notice an asymmetric hearing loss if you hold the phone up to each ear. The phone will sound louder or clearer in the better ear and you will notice a significant difference in the way each ear is hearing.
If you experience muffled hearing or a sudden change in hearing in one ear, see an Ear, Nose, and Throat physician immediately. The sooner the sudden hearing loss is treated, the greater likelihood the hearing will return.
Evaluate And Treat Underlying Problems
If you develop tinnitus, it’s important to see your clinician. She or he will take a medical history, give you a physical examination, and do a series of tests to try to find the source of the problem. She or he will also ask you to describe the noise you’re hearing and the times and places in which you hear it. Your clinician will review your medical history, your current and past exposure to noise, and any medications or supplements you’re taking. Tinnitus can be a side effect of many medications, especially when taken at higher doses .
Musculoskeletal factors jaw clenching,;tooth grinding, prior injury, or muscle tension in the neck sometimes make tinnitus more noticeable, so your clinician may ask you to tighten muscles or move the jaw or neck in certain ways to see if the sound changes. If tight muscles are part of the problem, massage therapy may help relieve it.
Tinnitus that’s continuous, steady, and high-pitched generally indicates a problem in the auditory system and requires hearing tests conducted by an audiologist. Pulsatile tinnitus calls for a medical evaluation, especially if the noise is frequent or constant. MRI or CT imaging may be needed to check for a tumor or blood vessel abnormality.
If you’re often exposed to loud noises at work or at home, it’s important to reduce the risk of hearing loss by using protectors such as earplugs or earmuff-like or custom-fitted devices.
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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.
Causes Of Muffled Hearing
Simply living your day to day life can cause muffled hearing loss in one ear by clogging the ear canals. Although anyone can develop these symptoms, muffled hearing is often caused by ear disorders that can be either acute or chronic. Some people are at higher risk of developing these disorders than others. Disorders that are acute often are easily healed and go away quite quickly. However, problems that are chronic can become worse over time, and if they persist, you may need to be seen by an ear care specialist for assistance.;
For further reading about hearing loss in one ear, check out the causes here.
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What Causes Hearing Impairment
The most common cause of conductive hearing loss in kids and teens is otitis media, which is the medical term for an ear infection that affects the middle ear. Ear infections cause a buildup of fluid or pus behind the eardrum, which can block the transmission of sound. Even after the infection gets better, fluid might stay in the middle ear for weeks or even months, causing difficulty hearing.
But this fluid is usually temporary, and whether it goes away on its own or with the help of medications, once it’s gone a person’s hearing typically returns to normal. Blockages in the ear, such as a foreign object, impacted earwax or dirt, or fluid due to colds and allergies, can also cause conductive hearing loss.
People also get conductive hearing loss when key parts of the ear the eardrum, ear canal, or ossicles are damaged. For example, a tear or hole in the eardrum can interfere with its ability to vibrate properly. Causes of this damage may include inserting an object such as a cotton swab too far into the ear, a sudden explosion or other loud noise, a sudden change in air pressure, a head injury, or repeated ear infections.
Sensorineural hearing impairment results from problems with or damage to the inner ear or the auditory nerve. Its causes include:
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What Should I Do If I Have Tinnitus
The first thing is to see your primary care doctor, who will check if anything, such as ear wax, is blocking the ear canal. Your doctor will ask you about your current health, medical conditions, and medications to find out if an underlying condition is causing your tinnitus.
If your doctor cannot find any medical condition responsible for your tinnitus, you may be referred to an otolaryngologist . The ENT will physically examine your head, neck, and ears and test your hearing to determine whether you have any hearing loss along with the tinnitus. You might also be referred to an audiologist who can also measure your hearing and evaluate your tinnitus.
Visit Village Emergency Centers Today
At Village Emergency Centers, no concern is too small. We understand that your ears are a sensory organ essential to your day-to-day life, and we want to ensure that they stay healthy for many years to come. If you still find yourself asking the question why is my hearing muffled or you have experienced sudden hearing loss, ! Well get to the bottom of your difficulty hearing and work out a treatment plan together.
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Muffled Hearing In One Ear After A Cold
Even though some people have muffled hearing while sick with the common cold, it can also develop after a cold. This can happen when a cold progresses to a sinus infection or a middle ear infection. In this case, drainage or congestion from these secondary infections causes clogged ears.
Common treatment options for muffled hearing include:
Signs And Symptoms Of Hearing Loss
It’s not always easy to tell if you’re losing your hearing.
Common signs include:
- difficulty hearing other people clearly, and misunderstanding what they say, especially in;noisy places
- asking people to repeat themselves
- listening to music or watching television loudly
- having to concentrate hard to hear what other people are saying, which can be tiring or stressful
The signs can be slightly different if you only;have hearing loss in 1 ear or if a young child has hearing loss.
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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.
Auditory Pathways And Tinnitus
Sound waves travel through the ear canal to the middle and inner ear, where hair cells in part of the cochlea help transform sound waves into electrical signals that then travel to the brain’s auditory cortex via the auditory nerve. When hair cells are damaged by loud noise or ototoxic drugs, for example the circuits in the brain don’t receive the signals they’re expecting. This stimulates abnormal activity in the neurons, which results in the illusion of sound, or tinnitus.
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Your Ears Are Plugged With Wax Or Other Debris
Most likely you will start to notice your hearing becoming more and more muffled over time as the wax begins to build. This may occur in one ear or both.
Dont put anything in your ears to clean it out, as this can result in pushing the wax further in the ear. If you see an Audiologist or Ear, Nose, and Throat physician they will be able to look in your ears to determine if you need them cleaned. Once the wax is gone, your muffled hearing should improve.
Symptoms Of Swimmer’s Ear
Swimmer’s ear can be very painful.
A full or clogged feeling in the ear that;may cause sound to be muffled is often the first telltale sign of swimmers ear. If untreated at that point, what follows is intense pain, swelling and sometimes discharge.
- Swelling and sometimes discharge
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Heres What Do To About Ears Clogged With Earwax
We know its tempting to grab a cotton swab or the corner of your towel, but please dont. Cotton swabs and towel corners could make things worse. If you have clogged ears, the best solution is to get them cleaned by a doctor or a healthcare professional.;
But if your ears continue to feel stuffed after they have been cleaned and it still doesnt hurt, you could have the first symptoms of hearing loss.;That means it may be time to get a free test at a hearing care professional. You could always start with a free online hearing test, but if your ears are blocked, theres a good chance your hearing is worse than normal, and that the online hearing test will, in the end, also encourage you to see a hearing care professional.;;
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Is It Noise Damage
You may have a hard time hearing after going to a concert but wake up just fine the next morning. Or you may notice your hearing isn’t good after years of working in a noisy factory. These are both examples of noise-induced hearing loss .
NIHL happens when there is a short blast of loud noise or when youre exposed to loud noise for a long time. Constant exposure to loud noises can cause high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss.;The sounds can damage the inside of your ear and lead to temporary or permanent hearing loss. Common causes include:
- One-time exposure to an intense sound, like an explosion
- Long-term exposure to loud sounds, like in a factory
- Target shooting/hunting without proper ear protection
- Listening to loud music through headphones
- Going to loud concerts
There’s no treatment to bring back the hearing that’s been lost. To protect what you have, wear earplugs or earmuffs around loud noise, and talk to your doctor so you can avoid medications that may cause hearing loss, such as high doses of aspirin.