While many causes of hearing loss are temporary, if you do not seek treatment promptly, complications can arise that lead to a permanent loss of hearing. Below are some causes of temporary hearing loss and the risks of letting it go untreated.
Allergies or a bad cold can develop into an ear infection. Ear infections are most common in children because their Eustachian tubes are much shorter and more horizontal than adults’ and do not drain well, though people of any age can experience them. Symptoms include ear pain, drainage and trouble hearing. Many cases clear up on their own, but you should see a doctor if your symptoms are severe or persist more than one or two days. Ear infections are typically treated with antibiotics.
Earwax is a naturally occurring substance that has many benefits, including cleaning and lubricating the ear canal. Earwax usually works its way out of the ears on its own through natural jaw movements when talking or chewing, but sometimes it can build up and block the ear canal. This can cause hearing loss and/or tinnitus (ringing in the ear). Earwax should never be removed with a cotton swab, hair pin or any other small object. Try irrigating the ears with a bulb syringe or softening the wax with over-the-counter drops. If this doesn’t work, visit an ENT or audiologist for a professional ear cleaning.
Heavy exertion caused by lifting weights causes intracranial pressure, otherwise known as pressure in the brain, which in turn causes pressure in the ears. Holding your breath during exertion only magnifies this experience, which is not unlike pressure changes on an airplane during takeoff and landing. To prevent intracranial pressure while lifting weights, clear your ears by yawning or moving your jaw around. Don’t lift weights that are too heavy for you and never hold your breath while lifting. If you have nasal congestion, take a decongestant or skip the workout.
If you attend a concert, use a power tool or experience any other excessive noise, you may experience temporary hearing loss. If the noise is loud enough or you are exposed frequently enough, this hearing loss can become permanent. Limit your exposure to loud noise and invest in a set of custom hearing protection for maximum comfort and protection.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call ENT of Georgia today.