Ear Infections & Hearing Loss

Ear Infections & Hearing Loss

by Dr. Kevin Ivory

Anyone is prone to developing an ear infection. There are a number of causes, all which are treatable if symptoms are caught early. Unfortunately, there are rare cases in which hearing loss might occur from untreated ear infections. Here, we take a look at ear infections and explore the correlations with hearing loss.

Ear Infections: Symptoms and Causes

Children and adults alike are likely to suffer from this uncomfortable infection of the inner ear. Unfortunately, the likelihood of a child developing an infection, often times recurring, is much higher. In more severe cases there is the potential to develop hearing loss.When a bacterial or viral infection meet the inner ear, medically termed Otitis Media, it causes inflammation in the space behind the eardrum. There may be a noticeable redness of the ears, or a puss like fluid inside the middle ear may be present; in which case there is cause to be seen by a medical professional. If the infection is advanced, the doctor may take a sample of the fluid inside the ear and test it to determine if the infection has traveled beyond the middle ear.Infections in the inner ear may be caused by any number of reasons. Fairly harmless and curable, ear infections are considered a common medical condition. It is important to note if your child has a tendency to repeatedly develop these infections it can create more sever issues. If left untreated, hearing loss or a more serious infections may arise. It is not uncommon for hearing loss to come as a result of continuous flare ups of the infection.Causes may include allergies, sinus infections, swollen adenoids, periods of high elevation, climate changes, exposure to cigarettes, or pacifier use has also been found as one of the main causes of its appearance in young children. Due to the effects on the middle ear, the inside of the ears tends to be painful caused by the inflammation and fluid buildup. It is important to be mindful of how often these symptoms arise. Frequent recurrent infections can be the cause of serious damage to the middle and inner ears, causing temporary or in the worst-case permanent damage to hearing capacities.

Symptoms of Ear Infections

Symptoms of ear infections include:

  • Drainage from the ear
  • Earache or sudden sharp pains in the ear
  • Nausea
  • Muffled sounds

Symptoms to look for in children include:

  • Fever
  • Tugging or pulling the ear
  • Poor sleep habits
  • Restlessness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Excessive crying when laying down

Hearing Loss & Ear Infections

When the infection has traveled beyond the middle ear, there is a high risk of serious damage being present. Hearing loss can be caused by chronic infections of the middle ear, also known as acute ear infections, can cause permanent damage to the inner and middle ear.Hearing loss occurs when you’re unable to partially or completely hear sound in one or both ears. Typically, this occurs over time, but the presence of recurring infections can also be a cause. Left untreated, ear infections could lead to permanent loss of hearing, as well as, other more serious health issues. In other words, if left untreated, chronic infections in childhood can have a lasting effect on your hearing later in life. The percentage of senior citizens who experience difficulty hearing is higher among those that suffered from chronic infections of the middle ear as young children. It is imperative that if you are experiencing any symptoms of chronic infections you are treated by a health professional.

When to Seek Treatment

If you find that you suffer from chronic ear infections, it is important that you schedule a visit to your doctor. Ear infections are treatable, and preventative measures can be put in place for those who suffer from chronic infections. In severe cases, tubes are placed inside the ears to allow fluid to drain or adenoids may be removed to prevent the excess flow of mucus. Most doctors will give you an antibiotic to help get rid of any infection that may be present in the affected area. It is important to finish the entire prescription as prescribed by your doctor to ensure that the infection has gone in its entirety. If the symptoms don't improve or get worse, see your doctor. If your infections seem to be persistent be sure to advise your doctor to eliminate any further health factors.

Glendora Hearing Aids & Audiology

If you’ve noticed changes in your hearing after an ear infection and are struggling with communication, contact us today. We provide comprehensive hearing health services and we’re here to help!

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