Can Ear Infections Cause Hearing Loss?
While ear infections are more common in children than adults, they can happen at any age. Common symptoms include ear pain, fever and drainage from the ear. Sometimes ear infections can also cause hearing loss. This is usually temporary, but in certain instances, may become permanent.
How Do Ear Infections Cause Hearing Loss?
Temporary hearing loss from a single ear infection is known as conductive hearing loss. This occurs when sound cannot get through the outer or middle ear. When you have an infection in your middle ear, fluid can build up and cause hearing problems. These issues should resolve after the infection clears.
However, research has indicated that chronic ear infections may increase your risk for developing sensorineural hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is permanent and occurs when the hair cells in the inner ear are damaged.
A study of 123 patients with chronic ear infections found that a “highly significant association was found between the presence of chronic otitis media and sensorineural hearing loss.”
An additional descriptive cross-sectional study conducted between 2013 to 2014 examined data from people who suffered from chronic suppurative otitis media, which is an ongoing ear infection accompanied by a perforated eardrum. They found that sensorineural hearing loss was reported in 52% of patients and the frequency of hearing loss was found to increase with increasing duration of infection.
Seek Treatment for Ear Infections
Most ear infections will clear up on their own. However, because they can lead to complications it’s best to visit a doctor if you or your child experiences symptoms. If the infection is caused by bacteria, antibiotics will likely be prescribed for treatment.
Chronic ear infections in children may require more intense treatment, such as ear tubes, to relieve symptoms and help prevent any kind of permanent damage.
Visit an Audiologist at the First Sign of Hearing Loss
If you have noticed that you’re struggling to hear when you go out to breakfast with your grandchildren at Altoona Family Restaurant, make an appointment with your audiologist for a hearing test. The sooner you treat your hearing loss with hearing aids or other listening devices, the better it will be for your overall health and wellbeing.
For additional information or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, call DeFatta Health today.