Hearing loss affects millions of people every year. In the majority of cases, hearing loss is permanent. However, some types of hearing loss can be reversed.
What Causes Temporary Hearing Loss?
Most causes of temporary hearing loss are due to something blocking the ear, like fluid from an ear infection or a foreign object stuck in your ear canal. When a blockage is causing your hearing loss, this is known as conductive hearing loss. In addition to infections and foreign objects, it can also be caused by:
- Ruptured eardrum
- Earwax buildup
- Problems with the bones in your middle ear or other malformations
Conductive hearing loss can usually be reversed by removing the blockage. This may happen from treating infections with antibiotics or ear tubes or surgery to remove or repair any blockages or malformations.
Sudden Hearing Loss
Additionally, some people experience sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL) that comes on rapidly over a matter of hours to several days.
In some cases, and if accompanied by other symptoms, this is a sign of a medical emergency like a small stroke or tumor. Other times it may be caused by an autoimmune disorder, viral illness, head injury or an unknown cause.
While some cases of sudden hearing loss will turn permanent, they can also be reversible with prompt pharmacological intervention. SSHL is treated with several weeks of corticosteroid medication. The sooner you go to the doctor to treat sudden hearing loss, the more likely it is that your hearing will be restored.
Permanent Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common kind of hearing loss. It is often caused by aging or exposure to loud noise. It occurs when the hair cells in the cochlea located in the inner ear become damaged. These cells play a vital role in the hearing process. They cannot be surgically or medically repaired, which is why this type of hearing loss is permanent.
What To Do if You Have Hearing Loss?
Regardless of what is causing it, if you’re noticing that you’re struggling to hear at work or when placing your order at Starbucks, schedule an appointment for a hearing test. Your audiologist will be able to quickly determine what type of hearing loss you have, as well as what treatment will work best for you.
If you have permanent hearing loss, they will likely recommend hearing aids to help restore as much of your hearing as possible and make it easier for you to continue to navigate the world and your surroundings.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, call All Generations Audiology today.