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Sinus Infection And Hearing Loss

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Is It A Sinus Infection Or An Ear Infection

Treating allergies, sinus infections, hearing loss, and sleep disorders at Brookhaven!

Sometimes, people who experience a feeling of fullness in the ear, muffled hearing and fever attribute these symptoms to a sinus infection. That could be a mistake because the symptoms all together line up more with an ear infection. Each type of infection has different treatments, so having the proper diagnosis is important.

Symptoms of a Sinus Infection

The signs of a sinus infection can include:

  • Fever
  • Sinus pressure behind eyes and cheeks
  • Thick yellow or green mucus dripping from your nose or into the back of your throat
  • Lesser sense of smell
  • Runny, stuffy nose for more than a week
  • Cough
  • Facial pain
  • Pain in the upper teeth
  • Upset stomach, nausea, pain behind the eyes and headaches

Sinus infections occur when the nasal passages get congested. These infections can be tricky to treat and are sometimes chronic. Hearing loss is NOT a symptom of a sinus infection, although your ear may feel full. Sinus infections, as opposed to ear infections, are less frequent in children.

Symptoms of an Ear Infection

Children get ear infections more often than adults do, and muffled hearing is one symptom that both groups may share. In adults, the symptoms can also include:

  • Earache
  • Feeling of fullness in ear
  • Ear drainage
  • Sharp stabbing pain in ear canal
  • Sore throat, stuffy nose or fever

Symptoms among children include muffled hearing, pulling at the ear, ear drainage, restlessness, fever, irritability and crying when lying down. Children can also experience sore throat, stuffy nose or fever.

Sinus Congestion And Hearing Loss

Chances are that if youre wondering, Can a sinus infection cause hearing loss? youve already got an inkling of what might be behind this symptom. The most common form of hearing loss due to a sinus infection is caused by severe congestion and sinus blockage specifically, sinus blockage of the Eustachian tube, a small section of your ear that helps regulate pressure.

Fluid in the Eustachian tube can cause muffled hearing. Many people equate the sensation to that of descending in an airplane, being underwater, or even having earplugs in.

Changes in hearing such can be distressing. In general, its wise to visit a doctor as soon as you notice any difference in the quality of your hearing, but to have hearing loss coupled with a sinus infection may indicate that your infection has become more severe, and thus definitely warrants a visit to your ENT.

Its Usually Only A Matter Of Time Before A Sinus Infection Clears

So, youre laying in bed with your head between twelve pillows and assuming that, in a few days or, well, twenty days at most, your hearing will come back. At least the end is in sight. Usually.

But not if you suffer from chronic or repeated sinus infections. Unless youve been previously cursed with a never-ending sinus infection, you probably were not aware that chronic sinus infections were even a thing. But they are! Most people are considered to have a chronic sinus infection if symptoms linger for a significant amount of time or if the symptoms recur on a regular basis.

If a one-off sinus infection can cause temporary havoc with your hearing, what will a chronic sinus infection do? Well, nothing good, as it turns out.

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Will I Have Permanent Hearing Loss After I Get An Ear Infection

by Conejo Hearing Center, Inc. | Aug 15, 2018 | Hearing Loss Articles

What is usually referred to as an ear infection, is medically called otitis media or AOM. Ear infections are very prevalent after a sinus infection or cold and they not only affect children but adults as well. You can even get an ear infection from a bad tooth.

When you have an infection in the middle ear you will most likely have at least some loss of hearing, but will it go away? The answer to this question might be more challenging than you may think. There are quite a few variables to consider. You should learn how the damage caused by ear infections can end up affecting your hearing.

Anatomy Of The Throat

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The throat, or pharynx, is divided into three parts. The nasopharynx is located behind the nose. The oropharynx is behind the mouth . And the laryngopharynx , or lower section of the throat, is in front of the esophagus this is where the larynx, or voice box, and the vocal cords are housed . The often-infected tonsils and adenoids are found in the naso- and oropharynx. A number of common problems can affect the throat: strep and other infections that cause sore throats, hoarseness, laryngitis, and tonsillitis are just a few.

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How To Treat Sinus

When sinus issues cause your hearing loss, you need to treat the root of the problem in order to relieve the symptoms. The source of your sinus issues may be infection or sinusitis, or may be a less common problem such as enlarged turbinates or nasal polyps. The best course of treatment for your hearing loss will depend on the reason your sinuses are swollen or congested. An experienced ENT Doctor can help you determine the cause and treatment plan for hearing loss caused by sinus problems.


If the cause of your hearing loss is sinusitis, medications like antihistamines, analgesics and decongestants can decrease swelling and reduce allergy reactions to help temporarily alleviate symptoms like hearing loss. Unfortunately, antibiotics are not usually effective to help clear sinus infections since symptoms often return as soon as a round of antibiotics is complete. Oral steroid medications can sometimes be prescribed as well.

Sinus Surgery

The most effective long-term treatment for your sinus issues and hearing loss symptoms is a fast, easy procedure called a FESS or Sinuplasty. This procedure involves opening and enlarging the sinuses, allowing the infection or fluid to drain. This can help eliminate many sinus issues and symptoms, including hearing loss caused by sinusitis.

Steam Inhalation

Allergy Treatments

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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What Is Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is a disorder that occurs when theres an impairment between your ears and brain. The impairment can result from different reasons:

  • Damage to your inner ear
  • Wax build-up in the ear
  • It can be hereditary
  • Infections for instance sinus infections
  • Rupture to your eardrum among others

To get a better understanding of hearing loss, youll have to understand the process of hearing.

Ear Infection Or Sinus Infection Treating Your Symptoms Quickly

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By raphael, April 20, 2022

Sometimes its hard to know whether you are experiencing an ear infection or a sinus infection because of the similarities in symptoms. Both diagnoses involve significant pressure or pain in the head/neck area and both infections may trigger a fever response in your body.

So, why is it important to know whether youre suffering from a sinus infection or an ear infection? Because the treatment option selected will only be effective if you have the right diagnosis.

Heres how to decide whether youre experiencing a sinus infection or an ear infection and how your ear, nose, and throat doctor can help along the way.

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How Is Sudden Deafness Diagnosed

If you have sudden deafness symptoms, your doctor should rule out conductive hearing losshearing loss due to an obstruction in the ear, such as fluid or ear wax. For sudden deafness without an obvious, identifiable cause upon examination, your doctor should perform a test called pure tone audiometry within a few days of onset of symptoms to identify any sensorineural hearing loss.

With pure tone audiometry, your doctor can measure how loud different frequencies, or pitches, of sounds need to be before you can hear them. One sign of SSHL could be the loss of at least 30 in three connected frequencies within 72 hours. This drop would, for example, make conversational speech sound like a whisper. Patients may have more subtle, sudden changes in their hearing and may be diagnosed with other tests.

If you are diagnosed with sudden deafness, your doctor will probably order additional tests to try to determine an underlying cause for your SSHL. These tests may include blood tests, imaging , and balance tests.

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Infection Of The Bone

Both recurrent acute sinusitis and chronic sinus infections can spread to the bone surrounding the sinuses. This infection can enter blood vessels and send bacteria to the brain or other parts of the body. Infected bone is very difficult to cure. Treatment is generally long-term intravenous antibiotics.

by Anderson Audiology | Aug 15, 2018 | Hearing Loss Articles

An ear infection is the well-known name, but its medically referred to as otitis media or AOM. These ear infections can have an affect on children as well as adults, particularly after a cold or sinus infection. If you have a bad tooth, that can also lead to an ear infection.

Hearing loss is one of the primary symptoms of an infection in the middle ear. But is it going to last forever? You might not recognize it but there is no simple answer. Ear infections have a lot going on. There is damage which can be caused that you need to understand and also how that injury can affect your hearing.

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Sinus Infections And Other Health Effects

Aside from ear pain and dizziness, a sinus infection can also cause temporary hearing loss. Sinus-related hearing loss occurs when the infection spreads to the ears, specifically the middle ear. Hearing can become affected if inflammation puts pressure on the ear drum. This inflammation can cause discharge of fluid and the build-up of fluid in the eardrum, which leads to pain and temporary hearing loss.

When the fluid and pressure are relieved the hearing loss will reverse, and you can go back to hearing how you previously did, prior to the infection. If the fluid does not drain commonly seen in children the continuous pressure can cause the eardrum to burst, which contributes to permanent hearing loss.

Its important to prevent sinus infections as well as treating them right away, so that you dont encounter any complications.

Other health complications that can stem from a sinus infection are headaches and throat problems, such as coughing or a sore throat.

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Can A Sinus Infection Cause Hearing Problems

Hearing Loss

Sinusitis and hearing problems may sound like an odd pair. However, sinusitis often affects your hearing ability as it can manifests itself as a condition called ear congestion, a feeling of plugged ears. If not treated promptly, this increased middle ear pressure can lead to the perforation of the tympanic membrane, or eardrum, as well as secretions from the inner ear.

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Why Do I Have Issues Hearing When I Have A Sinus Infection

The sinuses are located in close proximity to the ear canal. Once those sinuses become swollen, red, clogged, and congested, your hearing can become compromised. The Eustachian tubes the tiny passageways that connect the middle ear to the throatcan become clogged during a sinus infection. The Eustachian tubes can also prevent fluid from passing through. Not only will you experience temporary hearing loss but you may also experience ear pain, pressure in the ear, and sounds that resemble as if you are traveling underwater or in a tunnel.

Lets First Look At Conductive Hearing Loss

It involves the outer and middle ear. This occurs when sound has a hard time getting through the outer and middle parts of the ear. Soft sounds are harder to hear and the louder sounds may sound more muffled. Sometimes this can be cured by medicine or surgery.

Most of the time when sound passes in the ear canal to the eardrum where it is transmitted across the middle ear to the inner ear by three small bones called the ossicles. Conductive hearing loss results if there is a mechanical problem in transmitting the sound from the outer and middle ear to the inner ear.

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Chronic Sinus Infections And Permanent Damage To Your Hearing

Chronic sinus infections can lead to permanent damage to your hearing. Long-term inflammation, essentially, isnt good for any part of your body, and your ears are no exception. The longer your sinus infection goes on, the more at risk you become for permanent hearing loss.

When your ears are permanently damaged by a sinus infection, your hearing will not come back once your sinus infection symptoms abateor, at least, it wont come back quite as strongly. In many instances, if you start experiencing tinnitus during a sinus infectionespecially if that tinnitus becomes quite persistenta trip to your hearing specialist just might be warranted.

That tinnitus could be an early warning sign. And if remedies arent sought, that tinnitusor hearing losscould become permanent.

Coping With Changes To Your Hearing

2 Your Health: Hearing Loss and Sinusitis

Although usually temporary, hearing problems can be hard to cope with. Many of your daily activities are affected.

It becomes harder to have face to face or telephone conversations. Ways of relaxing such as listening to music or the radio and watching TV may be more difficult or less enjoyable. You may get fed up with asking people to repeat things.

This can be a worry when talking to your doctors – you may be concerned that you are missing vital bits of information.

When talking to people it is important:

  • that you tell people your hearing is not so good
  • to ask them to speak a little louder and more clearly
  • they may need to face you when speaking as this often helps
  • to get rid of background noise, such as the TV or radio – ask them to turn the noise down, and explain why

If your hearing loss is likely to be permanent your doctor will probably refer you to an audiologist. An audiologist is a health professional trained in the non medical aspects of hearing loss. An audiologist will look at the degree of hearing loss you have. And they can give you treatment suited to your own particular needs.

  • V Paleri and N Roland

    The Journal of Laryngology and Otology, volume 130, number S2, May 2016

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, November 2004

  • Management of late complications of head and neck cancer and its treatment

    T Galloway and others

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How Chronic Sinusitis Affects Vision

Basically, sinusitis is called to sinus cavities infection that exists in head. Some areas of sinus are quite close to the eyes. Being near to sinus area, when sinusitis remains for longer period, it starts pressurizing the eyes by which vision issues occur. The constant pain and affect of sinusitis can sometimes cause blurred vision or vision impairment. Although, this problem occurs very rarely, yet it happens for sure. Significant number patients of sinusitis do complaint for blurred vision. As the sinusitis lasts, the problem of blurred vision also lasts.

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Symptoms Of An Ear Infection

The primary symptoms of an ear infection include acute ear pain and hearing loss. You will have the sensation that your hearing is muffled or you’re experiencing hearing loss and you may experience referred pain in your throat or fluid in the middle ear.

When youre experiencing an ear infection, you may not necessarily see a change in color in or outside your ears.

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What Are The Causes Of Sensorineural Hearing Loss

The most common is age related or caused by noise.

  • Aging
  • Diseases that include multiple sclerosis, Meniereâs disease, and autoimmune disease of the inner ear
  • Exposure to certain viruses including mumps, measles, and meningitis
  • Drugs that are toxic to hearing
  • Hearing loss that runs in the family
  • Congenital conditions like malformation of the inner ear, premature birth, and maternal diabetes
  • Head or ear trauma can damage the delicate structures of the inner ear
  • Excessively loud noise like a rock concert, an airhorn, or explosions, as in military service or excavation blasting
  • Repetitive noise exposure in industries like machine shops, construction sites, or airport services

“Dr.Stan Potocki is an excellent doctor.”

Dr. Stan Potocki is an excellent doctor. He did surgery for my son who had severe speech delay, so he can hear perfectly and speak fine now. There are no words that I can explain what Dr. Potocki has done for my son!

What You Can Do To Prevent Hearing Loss

Eustachian Tube Dysfunction

Your first course of action to prevent hearing loss associated with sinus infections is to target the sinus infection. Dr. McCutcheon treats sinus infections on an individual basis, taking into account what type of sinus infection you have. Your treatment plan may include:

  • Medications, including antibiotics, steroids, and anti-inflammatory medication
  • Antihistamines
  • Mucolytics

If youre struggling with chronic sinusitis and conservative treatments arent enough to alleviate your symptoms, balloon sinuplasty may be right for you.

With the right treatment, you can stop a bacterial infection in its tracks, and your hearing should improve shortly thereafter.

Dont let an untreated sinus infection compromise your hearing. Dr. McCutcheon applies his experience with sinus infections and hearing loss to ensure you a speedy recovery. Schedule an appointment at Memorial Village ENT by calling 281-822-3777 or by requesting an appointment online today.

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