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Ear Infection Causing Hearing Loss

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The Process Of Hearing

Can ear infections cause hearing loss?

First, lets review how hearing works. When your outer ear collects sound waves, the vibrations funnel into the ear canal, through the eardrum, and into the middle ear, where they vibrate tiny bones called ossicles. The vibrations then reach the innermost part of the ear, an organ called the cochlea. Here, the vibrations stimulate fluid and tiny hair cells, which translate the vibrations into electrical impulses. The brain detects these impulses via the auditory nerve and interprets them.

If any of these components fail to complete its job properly, you will experience auditory issues. Common complications include damaged hair cells, perforated or ruptured eardrums, ear infections, and otosclerosis.

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How Long Does Hearing Loss Last After Infection

Hearing loss caused by an ear infection is usually temporary and goes away on its own after a few days. If symptoms persist for more than a week, then its important to see a doctor or audiologist who can provide further treatment. Antibiotics can clear up the infection, or if you have a history of recurrent ear infections, the fluid build-up within the ear can be drained.

If you have noticed a recent change in your hearing, then its best to have your symptoms checked. Take our free online hearing test to check how good your hearing is or contact your nearest Specsavers store to speak to an audiologist.


1. Monasta L, Ronfani L, Marchetti F, et al. Burden of disease caused by otitis media: systematic review and global estimates. PLoS One. 2012 7:e36226. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036226

2. Nielsen MC, Friis M, Martin-Bertelsen T, Winther O, Friis-Hansen L, Cayé-Thomasen P. The middle ear immune defense changes with age. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2016 273:81-86. doi:10.1007/s00405-015-3493-0

3. Mazlan R, Saim L, Thomas A, Said R, Liyab B. Ear infection and hearing loss amongst headphone users. Malays J Med Sci. 2002 9:17-22.

4. Okuyama Y, Baba A, Ojiri H, Nakajima T. Surfer’s ear. Clin Case Rep. 2017 5:1028-1029. Published 2017 Apr 4. doi:10.1002/ccr3.929

How Do I Prevent Sinus Infections From Spreading To My Ear

There isnt any special solution to stop an infection from reaching your ear the best thing to do is to see your GP for a proper investigation and treatment. If you have repeat, long term sinus infections then your risk of developing associated hearing loss will increase.

Permanent hearing damage is rare, but letting an infection develop and worsen over time could lead to damage to structures in your inner ear. There are also known cases of sudden sensorineural hearing loss as a result of chronic sinusitis.1 This is why regularly having your hearing reviewed is so important.

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Possible Causes Of Hearing Loss In One Ear

by Geneva Hearing Services | Sep 8, 2022 | Hearing Loss Articles

Because youre so cool, you were in the front row for the whole rock concert last night. It isnt exactly hearing-healthy, but its enjoyable, and the next day, you wake up with both ears ringing.

But what if you awaken and can only hear out of one ear? Well, if thats the situation, the rock concert might not be the culprit. Something else could be at work. And when you develop hearing loss in only one ear you might feel a bit concerned!

Whats more, your hearing might also be a little wonky. Your brain is used to processing signals from two ears. So it can be disorienting to get signals from only one ear.

Infection And Sudden Hearing Loss

Ear infection

Some people develop sudden hearing loss in one ear after a known infection, or they may lose their hearing seemingly out of nowhere. If it’s the latter, a viral infection may still be the culprit. Any sudden hearing loss should be evaluated and treated promptly. The sooner treatment is started, the more likely the hearing loss will not be permanent.

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What Causes Hearing Loss After Ear Infection

In cases of an ear infection, the inflammation blocks the sound from passing through the ear canal from the middle ear into the inner ear. In this case, this hearing loss is known as a conductive hearing loss. The sounds are often heard as indistinctive and muffed. The probability of an ear infection to cause hearing loss will depend on the severity, frequency, and type of the ear infection.

The ear infection can affect all the three parts of the ear: the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear.

1. Otitis Externa

Otitis externa is an infection of the outer ear canal. In cases when the infection and inflammation of the outer ear occur, the swelling and the buildup of pus will stop the sounds from moving from the outer ear to the middle ear, resulting in hearing problems. Once the infection is treated or once the wax is cleared, the hearing will usually return to normality.

2. Otitis Media

Otitis media is an infection of the middle ear. Once the infection of the middle ear is treated, the hearing will return to normality. However, if the infection is not diagnosed and treated on time, the swelling and the collection of pus can lead to permanent and irreversible damage of the middle ear structures. If the infection of the middle ear persists, antibiotic treatment is necessary.

3. Viral Infection of the Cochlea

Note: You can never predict a hearing loss after ear infection, so diagnosis and treatment on time are very important.

Hearing Loss And Speech Or Developmental Delay

Severe cases of recurrent acute otitis media or persistent otitis media with effusion may impair hearing for a period of time. But the hearing loss is not substantial or permanent for most children.

Hearing loss in children may temporarily slow down language development and reading skills. However, uncomplicated chronic middle ear effusion generally poses no danger for developmental delays in otherwise healthy children.

Rarely, patients with chronic otitis media develop involvement of the inner ear. In these situations, hearing loss can potentially be permanent. Most of these patients will also have problems with vertigo .

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Video Answer: Ear Infection With Drainage Time Lapse Video

This condition, which is due to the inflammation or infection of middle ear structures, can cause the following symptoms: Possible head shaking. Facial nerve paralysis of the lip, ear, eyelid or nose. Horners Syndrome, as evidenced by asymmetrical pupils, eyelid droop, sunken eyes, and a protrusion of the third eyelid.

The most common form of deafness in dogs is age-related hearing loss . Most dogs experience some degree of ARHL, beginning sometime during their third trimester of life. ARHL begins by impairing perception of middle to high frequency sounds, but encompasses the entire range of sound frequencies as it progresses.

Infectious diseases such as canine distemper virus infection , rabies and other viral, bacterial, fungal, protozoal or rickettsial infections Nutritional imbalances such as thiamine deficiency In most cases, if the cause of your dogs seizures is a structural intracranial lesion, the disease will be progressive.

The most common side effects in dogs include increased thirst, urination, and appetite. Because drugs like prednisone and prednisolone suppress the immune system, your pet may be more susceptible to infections. Contact your veterinarian if your pet shows signs of fever or infection.

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How To Help Prevent Ear Infections

Reversing Hearing Loss Caused by Ear Infection AMITA Health

While most children get ear infections, there are a few things parents can do to try to prevent them:

  • Breast feeding infants until at least age 6 months may help to lessen the number of ear infections.
  • Keep your child away from cigarette smoke. Do not smoke or allow smoking in your home or car.
  • Always hold your baby with his head up during feeding time . Babies should not be fed by propping the bottle or while lying flat.The formula can get into the middle ear and cause an infection.
  • Do notleave a bottle in the crib for the baby to drink at bedtime.
  • Make sure your childs immunizations are up to date.
  • If your child is diagnosed with acute otitis media, avoid giving him a pacifier.Dress your child properly in cold and rainy weather.

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Infected Ears And Loss Of Hearing: The Double Whammy

Conductive loss of hearing can affect the following:

Usually, the cause is an obstruction in the middle of the ear. Keep in mind, the middle of the ear sends sounds to your auditory nerve. When there is an obstruction it is going to stop the sound from traveling to the middle ear. This will cause loss of hearing. Any type of buildup in the middle ear can produce conductive loss of hearing. This includes:

  • fluid in the middle of the ear

The goal of medical treatment is to eliminate the buildup of fluids while clearing the infection. Untreated hearing loss can lead to bigger issues.

Can An Ear Infection Lead To Hearing Loss

Ear infections are extremely common, and most people will have one at some point in their lives. Hearing loss is a common symptom of many types of ear infection, although its usually temporary and goes away on its own. However, certain infections, particularly when left untreated, could lead to more long-term hearing loss. Thats why it’s so important to have your hearing checked regularly, and visit your doctor if you notice any symptoms.

There are many types of ear infection that can potentially lead to temporary or permanent hearing loss including inner, middle, and outer ear infections. Often these can have very similar hearing loss symptoms, so your doctor or audiologist will need to take a closer look in order to determine the type of ear infection you might have.

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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.

Treatments For Colds And Allergies

Signs of an Ear Infection in Adults

Antihistamines and decongestants can help reduce ear pressure and the feeling of fullness. Sometimes a warm compress helps. If an infection is present, a doctor will prescribe an antibiotic. Over-the-counter pain relievers can relieve earaches.

Because your ears, nose and throat are so closely connected, a problem in one area often leads to another. Thats why a stuffy nose and blocked ears often happen at the same time when you have a cold, the flu or allergies. Usually any loss of hearing is temporary, but if problems persist, a visit to your hearing professional is important.

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When Should I Return To My Healthcare Provider For A Follow

Your healthcare provider will let you know when you need to return for a follow-up visit. At that visit, you or your childs eardrum will be examined to be certain that the infection is going away. Your healthcare provider may also want to test you or your child’s hearing.

Follow-up exams are very important, especially if the infection has caused a hole in the eardrum.

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.

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Likely Causes Of Hearing Loss In One Ear

by Sound Hearing Instruments | Sep 7, 2022 | Hearing Loss Articles

Lets pretend you go to a rock concert. Youre cool, so you spend all night up front. Its not exactly hearing-healthy, but its fun, and the next morning, you wake up with two ringing ears.

But what if you awaken and can only hear out of one ear? The rock concert is most likely not to blame in that case. Something else must be going on. And you may be a bit worried when you experience hearing loss in only one ear.

Whats more, your hearing might also be a little wonky. Your brain is accustomed to processing signals from two ears. So it can be disorienting to get signals from one ear only.

Hearing Loss In One Ear Likely Causes

Otomagnetics to Treat Tinnitus, Hearing Loss, and Ear Infections

Lets imagine you go to a rock show. Youre cool, so you spend all night in the front row. Its enjoyable, although its not good for your ears which will be ringing when you get up in the morning.

But what happens if you can only hear out of one ear when you wake up? The rock concert is probably not to blame in that situation. Something else must be happening. And you might be a little alarmed when you experience hearing loss in only one ear.

In addition, your hearing might also be a little wonky. Usually, your brain is processing information from both ears. So it can be disorienting to get signals from one ear only.

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Symptoms Of Acute Otitis Media

Ear pain is the most common symptom of ear infections. The ear pain associated with acute otitis media usually comes on very suddenly.

Babies and young children who haven’t yet learned to speak may express ear pain in various ways including:

  • Pulling, tugging, rubbing, or holding the ear
  • Excessive crying, especially when feeding
  • Irritability, fussiness, and other changes in behavior
  • Difficulty sleeping

Other symptoms associated with ear infections include:

  • Fluid discharge from ear
  • Cold symptoms such as nasal congestion, runny nose, or coughing

If the ear infection is severe, the tympanic membrane may rupture, causing the pus to drain from the ear. Pus in the ear may cause hearing loss in some children.

When Should A Hearing Test Be Performed

A hearing test should be performed for children who have frequent ear infections, hearing loss that lasts more than six weeks, or fluid in the middle ear for more than three months. There are a wide range of medical devices now available to test a childs hearing, Eustachian tube function and reliability of the ear drum. They include the otoscopy, tympanometer and audiometer.

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Can An Ear Infection Cause Tinnitus

Fans of the NBC sitcom The Office may remember one of Jim and Pams famous pranks, where they softly hummed the same note until their co-worker Dwight decided he needed to make an appointment with an ear doctor. They called it pretendinnitus, based off of a very real ear problem: Tinnitus. In this blog post, we look at this annoying ear problem and its connection to ear infections.

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus involves a perception of noise in the ears. Most people describe what they hear as a ringing, but it can also manifest as hissing, humming, buzzing, or clicking. Tinnitus is a relatively common issue, affecting around 1 in 5 people.

The noise can be steady or intermittent, and it can also vary in intensity, ranging from slightly annoying to overwhelming, making it difficult to hear external sounds or concentrate. Most often Tinnitus is subjective, meaning only the person suffering from it can perceive the sound. Subjective Tinnitus is sometimes caused by problems with the auditory nerves or the interpretation of nerve signals in the brain. More commonly it is caused by outer, middle, or inner ear problems. Some people suffer from a stronger objective Tinnitus, however, where the sound is intense enough for a doctor to hear during examination. Objective Tinnitus can be caused by muscle contractions, blood vessel issues, or a bone condition in the middle ear.

Causes and severity of Tinnitus

  • ear wax buildup
  • injury to the head or ear
  • cardiovascular disease

Your Hearing Specialist Is The Beginning

Who Will Tell You?

If you cant hear out of both of your ears, theres most likely a reason. In other words, this isnt a symptom you should be ignoring. Its important, both for your wellness and for your hearing health, to get to the bottom of those causes. So start hearing out of both ears again by making an appointment with us.

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