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Ear Infections & Hearing Loss

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Terri Ellert, HIS

Terri has been in practice as a Board-Certified Hearing Instrument Specialist for the past 11 years and is a co-founder of the Hearing Centers of Arizona.
Terri Ellert, HIS

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Hearing loss can occur to certain people and it happens for a variety of reasons. It may be caused by aging, noise exposure, injury, infection and even heredity. These factors affect the auditory nerve and cause the most common type of problem, known as sensorineural loss. However, almost anyone can experience hearing problems caused by an ear infection, and it can happen at any time to people both young and old. In most cases it is a temporary issue and eventually normal hearing returns.

n infection in the middle ear can cause fluid to build up and this obstructs the movement of the eardrum and the bones attached to it which is the cause for the temporary problems with hearing.

There are two common types of ear infections. They are known as otitis media and otitis externa. The otitis media is when you get a middle ear infection. Otitis externa is when you have an infection in the ear canal which causes swelling. In both cases, you can experience a loss of hearing.

Otitis Media and Its Effect on Your Hearing

When you have this condition, you will generally experience swelling and pus in the ear. Hearing can be affected sometimes for several months, or in some cases, the infection may be chronic, which means hearing comes and goes. When you have a chronic ear infection, the ear swelling is repeated and persistent. Rarely, is the problem caused by an ear infection permanent, but if the problem is chronic, you should see a doctor to get treatment.

Types of Hearing Problems

In most cases, problems with hearing caused by infection is not total. According to recent Studies by the American Academy of Otolaryngology when there is an ear infection, the average loss of sound is about 24 decibels, the equivalent to wearing earplugs. In rare cases, the fluid can become thicker and so must be can be a size 45 decibels.

It Is Often Temporary

As we mentioned before, in most cases, an inability to hear can be du due to ear infection is only temporary, however, this does not mean you shouldn’t seek treatment as continual infection may cause scarring. It is this scarring that can lead to further permanent issues. when you seek out treatment for an ear infection the doctor will usually choose to use antibiotics. When the antibiotics take effect oh, you’re hearing will return to normal, but, if you have recurring ear infections, your doctor may choose to insert a tube into your eardrum to help the fluid drain and eliminate the build-up. The purpose of draining the fluid is to relieve the eardrum and prevent it from rupturing.

Treatment for Ear Infection

Antibiotics are the preferred treatment; however, your doctor will have alternatives if you are allergic or need another type of treatment. When the infection is gone the build-up is also gone and your hearing will return to normal, but you may still be susceptible to infections in the future.

Otitis Externa

Otitis Externa Is also known as swimmer’s ear and is a bacterial infection, although in some cases it can also be fungal. This infection may cause hearing problems and pain which occurs because of the swelling. Often, a buildup or discharge will also occur and this can obstruct the ear canal. People who have psoriasis or eczema may have an increased risk of this type of otitis. It is important to note that the use of Q-tips may also cause external otitis.

Treatment for Otitis Externa

Whatever the reason for the hearing issue, you need to get treatment from a professional like a doctor as untreated hearing loss from infections can cause scarring which leads to permanent damage. Aside from visiting a specialist in ear infections you can also do the following:

  • Avoid water in your ear. Wear a shower cap when bathing
  • Hearing loss specialists also suggest you avoid using objects Clean ears. Stay away from bobby pins, Q-tips and other objects you might insert into your ear.
  • Dry heat can help relieve pain
  • Use analgesics for pain
  • Visit your doctor for antibiotic ear drops
  • Treat allergies which can also be the cause of ear problems

Hearing Centers of Arizona

Recurring ear issues can cause other problems such as the thickening or scarring of the tympanic membrane. In turn, this problem can reduce hearing acuity. If you have a problem hearing, it’s important that you get your hearing tested by a professional. This will determine the type of hearing loss you have. Contact us at Hearing Center of Arizona for professional hearing health services.

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