Tinnitus is a well-known but commonly misunderstood symptom of an
Can An Ear Infection Cause Adult Hearing Loss?
Hearing complications as a result of an ear infection are more commonly experienced and treated amongst children. However, this does not mean that they’re impossible for adults, as well. If you think that you might have an ear infection and you’re concerned about whether it may cause or contribute to adult hearing loss, we’re going to explain the relationship between the two and likely outcomes.
Can an Ear Infection Cause Adult Hearing Loss?
To put it simply: yes, ear infections can cause adult hearing loss. This is most commonly known as conductive hearing loss and it typically happens because when you have hearing loss, fluid builds up in the inner ear. As such, the eardrum and tiny bones attached to it can’t move freely, meaning that they can’t transmit sound as effectively. Children are more likely to experience ear infections than adults due to underdeveloped immune systems as well as more delicate ears, but adults are still susceptible to them.
About Ear Infection Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss is the more commonly experienced type of hearing loss, defined as when it’s due to interruptions in the workings of the outer or middle ear, rather than the auditory nerve. In most cases, as with ear infections, it’s due to an obstruction in the ear. It’s the kind of hearing loss that you might experience if, for instance, you have an earwax buildup. In the case an ear infection, it’s a buildup of fluid that blocks the ear and slows the movement of the eardrum and its surrounding bones.
Is it Permanent?
The good news is that, in most cases, hearing loss caused by an ear infection is temporary. Once the infection subsides, the fluid can drain out of the ear naturally or with the help of an audiologist and you won’t experience any obstruction. The fluid that builds in the ear and the pressure that it causes can lead to some symptoms such as pain, discomfort and even a ruptured eardrum is severe cases, so having your audiologist relieve it is recommended in general.
In some cases, the hearing loss experienced as a result of an ear infection might not go away if, for instance, it leads to an eardrum rupture. A part of the middle ear can thicken and scar due to recurring ear infections, as well, which can also impact your hearing. If this happens, then your audiologist is likely to recommend a hearing aid to treat the hearing loss. However, this is not as common. That said, it’s not impossible either, so it’s always worth getting your audiologist involved.
Signs of an Ear Infection
Are you concerned that you might have an ear infection, but hesitant to make an appointment because you’re not sure? Here are some of the most common symptoms associated with an ear infection:
- Pain in the ear
- A high temperature
- Nausea and being sick
- Hearing loss
- Feeling of pressure in the ear
- Discharge coming out of the ear
- Lack of energy
- Itching and irritation in the ear
If you think you have an ear infection, then you shouldn’t delay. The sooner that you treat it, the quicker you can get your hearing back to normal and the better your chances of preventing any complications.
It’s Important to Treat an Ear Infection
Ear infections rarely have impacts worse than temporary hearing loss and pain. However, there are complications that you have to be aware of. As mentioned, you can experience permanent hearing loss if your eardrum is ruptured as a result of unresolved fluid and pressure build-up in the ear or due to the thickening of the membranes in the ear.
There is a rare, but still present, possibility of other infections, such as mastoiditis, meningitis or a brain abscess. As mentioned, these are not common, but it’s still wise to have your ear infection treated. Visiting your audiologist can get you a quick diagnosis and recommendation for treatment.
Get in Touch to Start Your Treatment Today
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of an ear infection, you should get in touch with your audiologist. The team at Baker Audiology and Hearing Aids is here to answer any questions you might have, so feel free to get in touch at (605) 610-3466.