Can Hearing Loss Come and Go?

Hearing loss affects an estimated 37.5 million American adults over the age of 18. Hearing loss is more common as people age, but there are a number of causes and types of hearing loss.

Adjusting to hearing loss can take time. You may feel on some days that your hearing ability is better than on other days. Don’t worry - you’re not imagining things. It is possible for hearing loss to come and go.

Permanent Hearing Loss

While certain types of hearing loss may come and go, other types of hearing loss are permanent. Sensorineural hearing loss is unfortunately a permanent form of hearing loss. The common cause for sensorineural hearing loss is aging.

Exposure to dangerous noise can also cause sensorineural hearing loss. This is a leading preventable, cause of hearing loss. Dangerous noise can affect more than just your hearing. Here are 6 ways noise can affect your health.

Intermittent Hearing Loss

It is possible to experience hearing loss intermittently. When your hearing loss comes and goes, there could be a few causes. These include:

  1. Blocked Eustachian Tube - Your eustachian tube connects your nose to your ears. It plays a role in equalizing the pressure in your ears. If your eustachian tube is blocked or obstructed, you may experience symptoms of hearing loss. These blockages are often caused by a virus, such as a cold. Other causes include allergies.
  2. Loud Noise - We touched on this above. Noise can damage your hearing. It can leave you with permanent hearing loss, or in some cases, temporary hearing loss. Have you ever left a rock concert and felt like your ears were muffled? If you answered yes, you’ve likely experienced temporary hearing loss due to noise.
  3. Obstruction in your Ear - If you have an obstruction in your ear, it can cause temporary hearing loss. This could be due to an excessive build-up of earwax. Once the obstruction is removed, hearing generally returns to normal.
  4. Meniere’s Disease - “Meniere's disease is a disorder of the inner ear that can lead to dizzy spells (vertigo) and hearing loss. In most cases, Meniere's disease affects only one ear.” (Source) In its early stages, Meniere's disease can cause intermittent hearing loss. In its later stages, the hearing loss can become permanent.
  5. Medication - Substances that are poisonous to the ear, and specifically to parts of the cochlea or auditory nerve, are referred to as “ototoxic.” Certain prescription medications are ototoxic, and in some cases cause hearing loss. Most cases of ototoxic hearing loss are not permanent.

Sudden Hearing Loss

Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) is also called sudden deafness. It is characterized by a sudden, unexplained loss of hearing. It can affect one or both ears.

SSNHL should be treated as a medical emergency. If you are experiencing sudden hearing loss, especially if accompanied with tinnitus, dizziness or vertigo symptoms, please consult your doctor ASAP.

Addressing your hearing loss as soon as possible can help minimize the impact it has on your quality of life. If you are experiencing changes to your hearing, please book in an appointment with the hearing specialists at HearingLife (formerly Family Audiology). Please contact us at 607-323-4061 or click here to request an appointment online.

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