If you are experiencing difficulty hearing, you may be asking yourself is hearing loss always permanent? it’s important to understand the different types of hearing loss to ensure that you can seek help from a hearing care specialist when appropriate. There are various types of hearing loss, and not all of them are permanent. If you are experiencing temporary hearing loss, understanding the underlying cause can help you determine if/when treatment may be necessary.
What Causes Temporary Hearing Loss?
Temporary hearing loss is generally caused by a health-related condition. In some cases, it may be caused by an obstruction in your ear. Whenever your ability to hear changes, we recommend that you seek immediate medical attention. Depending on the cause, you may need to see an audiologist or an ear, nose & throat (ENT) specialist. Some of the causes of temporary hearing loss may include:
- Ear wax. Earwax is produced naturally by our bodies. It helps to protect the ears, and prevent foreign objects from getting into the ear canal. In some cases, you may have too much earwax in your ear, which can interfere with your ability to hear. A hearing care specialist will be able to help safely remove earwax. You should never try to remove the excess earwax by inserting something like a Q-Tip into your ear, as this can actually make the blockage worse or cause injury.
- Foreign object stuck in the ear canal. A foreign object in your ear that doesn’t belong there can sometimes become stuck inside the ear canal, resulting in temporary hearing loss until the object is removed. Once again, we advise against trying to remove the object yourself. You may inadvertently push it further into your ear canal which can cause further damage, and in some cases result in permanent damage to your ear. Instead, seek professional help from an ENT specialist, audiologist, or other medical professional. You should seek immediate treatment, even if this means you will need to visit the emergency room or urgent care.
- Ear infection. An ear infection, whether it affects the outer or middle ear, can in some cases cause temporary hearing loss. Treatment is usually given in the form of antibiotics prescribed by your doctor and your hearing should begin to improve as the infection clears up.
- Hole in the Ear Drum. A hole in the ear drum, also called a perforation is usually the result of trauma but can also be caused by a quick change in air pressure or pressure build-up during a middle ear infection. This is a condition that is diagnosed by a medical professional. Smaller perforations will usually heal on their own; but in some more severe cases tympanoplasty surgery has to be performed to patch the eardrum. Hearing will return to normal or near normal once the hole has closed up.
- Noise induced hearing loss. Noise induced hearing loss is the result of either sudden or prolonged exposure to dangerous levels of noise. Noise-induced hearing loss can be permanent, particularly if you continue to be exposed to dangerous levels of noise. Learn more about how noise can affect your health here.
- High blood pressure. High blood pressure can cause tinnitus, which often presents as buzzing or ringing in your ear.
- Strenuous exercise. Exercise is good for you and something you should be engaging in multiple times a week. However, in some cases pushing yourself too hard can result in a temporary hearing loss. If you experience temporary hearing loss after exercising, the symptoms usually subside in a few hours. If they have not, please seek medical attention.
Hearing is a sense that many of us take for granted, until we experience difficulty with it. If you suspect changes to your hearing, please book in an appointment with the hearing care professionals at Family Audiology. Our hearing care specialists will provide you with a comprehensive hearing assessment to determine your baseline hearing, and determine a treatment plan if necessary. Book an appointment today by calling 607-323-4061. Alternatively, click here to book a consultation with us online.