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Hearing & Balance Doctors is currently open. We are taking special measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including offering a curbside service for hearing aids. Please call 435-688-8991 for more information. Utah: 435-688-8991 | Nevada: 702-896-0031
Hearing & Balance Doctors is currently open. We are taking special measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including offering a curbside service for hearing aids. Please call 435-688-8991 for more information. Utah: 435-688-8991 | Nevada: 702-896-0031

Can Ear Infections Cause Hearing Loss?

Can Ear Infections Cause Hearing Loss
There can be many causes of hearing loss, from loud noise exposure to being born with hearing impairment. Illness is another way to develop hearing loss, and those who experience ear infections will often have temporary hearing loss.

However, in some cases, chronic ear infections can cause hearing loss. If your hearing hasn’t recovered after an ear infection has cleared up, you should work with a doctor of audiology to see if you have suffered permanent hearing loss.

Ear Infections Generally Cause Temporary Hearing Loss

As we said above, most ear infections will cause only temporary hearing loss. They are especially common in children, as their narrower ear canal can lead to fluid build-up and trapped bacteria. As ear infections can cause people to feel plugged up, it is not surprising that temporary hearing impairment is a side-effect of this type of infection.

However, after the infection has passed—either with medication or not—your hearing should return to normal. When it comes to chronic ear infections, they need to be treated by a medical professional, as even the temporary hearing loss at a young age can impede speech and vocabulary development.

When Ear Infections Cause Permanent Hearing Loss

It is rare for ear infections to cause permanent hearing loss. They can be painful and uncomfortable but rarely impact your hearing permanently unless there are secondary factors that are able to damage your eardrum or the bones in your middle ear.

However, for children who suffer from chronic ear infections and struggle with built-up fluid in the middle ear, there is a simple surgical intervention where tubes are placed in the child’s eardrums. These tubes allow for fluid to drain and the pressure to equalize.

While this procedure was more common, it is now reserved for more severe cases, as the tubes can end up scaring the eardrum and causing conductive hearing loss.

How To Prevent Ear Infections

It is far better to try and prevent ear infections, rather than jump to interventions. Some ways to protect yourself and your children from ear infections are:

  • Receive the flu vaccine every year
  • Maintain good hygiene
  • Avoid secondhand smoke exposure
  • Use swimming earplugs when swimming
  • Cough into elbows, not hands

What To Do If You Wear Hearing Aids And Have An Ear Infection

Ear infections can happen when wearing hearing aids. Along with receiving antibiotics from your primary care physician, you should thoroughly clean your hearing aids every night to kill off any bacteria. We also recommend you do your best to keep your ears clean and dry, using earwax softening drops if you need to remove excess earwax.

Also, while it can be uncomfortable, you should take out your hearing aids as you can during the day, particularly if you wear In-The-Ear style hearing aids. With your ears opened up, more air movement can help dry out your ears. After your ear infection has cleared up, you should be able to go back to your normal level of hearing and wear your hearing aids comfortably.

If you are concerned about your hearing and would like to ensure that it is on track, please contact us today to set up a hearing evaluation.

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