How to Determine if Your Hearing Loss is Temporary or Permanent – Expert Tips Revealed!

How to Tell if Hearing Loss is Permanent or Temporary

Damage to our auditory system can come in many ways, but you have the power to protect your ears from hearing loss. High decibel noise, accidents, genetics, and many more situations can lead to damage and complications in the ear. The severity and duration of hearing loss symptoms rely on a wide range of causes. Learn how hearing loss can occur, how symptoms of hearing loss can affect you, and how to tell if hearing loss is permanent or temporary.

What is Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss is the decreased function or total inability of the ear to intake sound from the external environment and relay it to the brain. This loss of hearing ability can be the result of many complications or situations, from work environment to damage from an accident. Whatever the cause, hearing loss can have a vast impact on those affected.

How Does Hearing Loss Occur?

There is no one common cause of hearing loss. There are a variety of factors throughout life that can have an effect on our hearing. The cause of hearing loss most often indicates the type and duration that hearing loss will have.

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Our ears are only able to intake certain decibel levels for certain periods of time. The degree of decibels a sound produces puts our ears at risk of intense sound pressure on the workings of the inner ear. Noise-induced hearing loss can become a problem when you are in an environment with noise decibels over 70 dBA for prolonged periods of time. This can be a loud work environment or a noisy event, like a concert or sports games. The severity of the noise, as well as the amount of time spent exposed, can determine how much damage the noise can cause to your hearing.

Medical Hearing Loss

There are a few ways that medical situations can cause hearing loss. First, illness can affect our hearing when the head or ear is directly affected but the illness. Most commonly found in children, an ear infection can commonly lead to muffled or trouble hearing, depending on the severity of the illness. Some viral infections can also lead to hearing loss. For example, the Mumps is known to lead to damage in hearing to those it affects. Other medical conditions that can lead to hearing loss are diagnosed earlier in life.

Head Trauma Hearing Loss

A head trauma related situation, like a car accident or concussion, can sometimes lead to hearing loss due to the damage done to the brain or the workings of the ear itself.

Age-Related Hearing Loss

Like many other processes, hearing is at risk of effect by age. Statistics show that nearly one third of adults ages 65-75 have some degree of hearing loss. Past the age of 75, that number increases to half the population. Simply as an effect of aging, many will experience trouble hearing and potentially hearing loss as they get older.

Is Hearing Loss Permanent or Temporary?

Since hearing loss can have many causes, it can also have a variety of different results and symptoms. Some complications that lead to hearing damage only cause temporary hearing trouble that can return with treatment, while other factors lead to loss that is permanent.

Hearing Loss Symptoms

The most common symptom of hearing loss is obviously the decreased ability for your ear to take in sound waves and noises in the near environment. This can impact the ability to follow conversation, respond to auditory stimuli, or trouble hearing background noise in the environment. Other symptoms of hearing loss include a decreased sensitivity to high pitched noise, Tinnitus, or ringing in the ear, muffled hearing, or dizziness and imbalance.

Temporary Hearing Loss Causes

Most temporary hearing loss doesn’t start abruptly, but rather gradually over a few days or weeks before it becomes noticeable. Temporary hearing loss may be the result of an obstruction in your ear canal or a similar health-related condition. Causes may include:

  1. Ear Infection

  2. Sometimes a bad cold can develop into an ear infection, which can muffle hearing. Although this condition is most common in children, it can occur at any age. And while ear infections typically clear up by themselves, it’s always a good idea to see your doctor just in case yours needs to be treated with an antibiotic.

  3. Excessive Earwax

  4. The hair follicles and glands in your inner ear produce cerumen, a substance also known as earwax. Although this wax usually falls out of your ears naturally or with a gentle washing, it sometimes builds up and blocks the ear canal. When this happens, you may feel a sensation that the ear is plugged, hear “ringing” in your ear (also known as tinnitus), or experience some hearing loss. If the wax can’t be removed by gently cleaning with a warm washcloth, consult your physician. Trying to remove the wax with sharp objects, such as hairpins or cotton swabs, may push it deeper into your ear canal and perforate your eardrum.

  5. Strenuous Exercise or Stress

  6. Could your exercise routine be causing hearing loss or tinnitus? In a word, yes. When you exercise beyond your fitness level, you may experience temporary hearing loss. While hearing typically returns to normal in a few hours, see your doctor if the symptoms persist. Extreme stress can also trigger hearing problems or tinnitus.

  7. Loud Noise

  8. It’s also common to temporarily lose your hearing or experience tinnitus after you’ve been exposed to loud noise, such as at a rock concert or while operating noisy lawn equipment. This is known as noise-induced hearing loss. While your hearing will most likely return to normal afterward, protect yourself by wearing foam earplugs or earmuffs the next time you’re in a similar situation. Preventing hearing loss is important because repeated exposure to loud blasts can cause permanent hearing loss.

Permanent Hearing Loss Causes

Prolonged exposure to excessive noise is the most common form of sensorineural hearing loss, which is permanent. Sensorineural refers to the ears’ nerves.

Conclusion

Hearing loss can impact anyone at any time due to a wide range of causes. While temporary hearing loss is often caused by health-related issues or obstruction in your ear canal, permanent hearing loss is mostly due to prolonged exposure to excessive noise. It’s vital to seek medical help if you suspect hearing loss to preserve your quality of life.

FAQs

Q1. Can hearing loss be reversed?

A1. Depending on the cause of your hearing loss, treatment can reverse the hearing loss. For example, if excessive earwax is blocking your ear canal, removing the earwax will resolve the issue.

Q2. Does age-related hearing loss lead to permanent hearing loss?

A2. Yes, age-related hearing loss usually leads to permanent hearing loss as aging affects the nerve cells in your ear.

Q3. What are some tips to protect your hearing from loud noise?

A3. Wearing earplugs, minimizing the time spent in noisy environments, and sitting away from loudspeakers are some of the tips to protect your hearing from loud noise.

Q4. Can stress cause hearing loss?

A4. Yes, prolonged stress can lead to hearing problems or tinnitus.

Q5. Is hearing loss curable?

A5. The cure for hearing loss depends on the cause of the loss. While some types of hearing loss are curable, others may be permanent.

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