People are often faced with factors, which negatively affect hearing. Those living in noisy cities can be considered a risk group. According to statistics, almost every American has experienced temporary hearing loss at least once in life.
Some people face this problem every day because of their profession. Let’s take a closer look at temporary hearing loss and see how dangerous it is.
What is temporary hearing loss?
Temporary hearing loss is a common phenomenon in which a person experiences hearing loss for a short time. It’s believed to be harmless as it doesn’t cause dangerous complications. Many people face different causes of temporary hearing loss every day. Therefore, they get used to temporary difficulties and discomfort, which quickly pass after the negative factors disappear.
Often we don’t attach importance to temporary hearing impairment, for example, due to a cold or a long stay in a noisy environment. However, recent research shows that even short-term hearing loss affects cells and alters the body’s ability to perceive sounds. Therefore, this phenomenon isn’t as harmless as it might seem at first glance and requires your attention.
The main reasons for temporary hearing loss
Temporary hearing loss doesn’t cause any dangerous complications or difficulties such as sensorineural hearing loss. However, it also cannot be ignored. The best solution is to see a doctor for help if your hearing doesn’t return to its previous state within a short time. In most cases, the hearing loss goes away quickly, in a day or two.
Dr. Fulman has a lot of experience with temporary hearing loss. She has prepared a list of the main causes of this problem, as well as effective ways of temporary hearing loss treatment.
Long-term exposure to loud noise
Prolonged exposure to loud noise causes damage to the cells of the inner ear, which progressively leads to hearing loss if no protective measures are taken. Continuous noise over 75-80 decibels can damage your hearing. Music concerts, shooting ranges, construction work, and factory activities cause outer hair cell damage in the ear. Temporary shift in the hearing is the result of such exposure. During this time, the individual may hear muffled sounds. It’s nothing more than a protective mechanism to avoid hearing damage. Hearing is restored after several hours (up to 14 hours).
Exposure to loud noise is a very common and insidious problem these days. If in the past it was more common for individuals that work in loud noise, we are now seeing it in younger populations. Today almost all teenagers, and many adults, wear headphones almost constantly. Earbuds are especially dangerous among them. They are capable of creating a load of more than 80 decibels! As a result, a person can destroys their hearing simply by listening to loud music. It’s important to note that constant exposure to loud noise leads to hearing loss and tinnitus. Unfortunately, people don’t even realize the dangers of daily use of headphones until they experience hearing problems.
Dr. Fulman emphasizes that musicians aren’t the only ones at risk of developing tinnitus. Ringing in the ears can happen to anyone, including everyone in a crowd at a noisy event. According to statistics, more than 10% of Americans suffer from tinnitus.
Treating long exposure to loud noise
As you might have guessed, the best prevention of temporary hearing loss and tinnitus is to minimize exposure to loud noise. The less auditory stress you experience, the better your hearing. Using ear protection when attending noisy events is important. What to do if you are a professional musician or in construction? Ear protectors have been specially designed for you. They suppress loud noises, protecting hair cells.
Earwax happens naturally in our ears. Its job is to trap dust and other small particles before they reach the eardrum. Typically, earwax naturally falls out of the ear canal. Earwax formation is a natural process. Why is it on our list? With a large accumulation of earwax, which isn’t able to leave the ear canal, a so-called ear wax plug is formed. It blocks the ear canal and sound can’t pass freely to the eardrum. Not only can this cause a decrease in hearing but can also result in physical discomfort of the ear. Taking care of this is important in order to avoid further pain as well as possible development of infections.
Treating earwax plugs
How to fix the earwax plug problem? Of course, it must be removed. However, you shouldn’t do this yourself at home. See a specialist. Otherwise, you’ll only harm yourself. Use an ear wax removal service. The doctor will quickly and painlessly remove the earwax plug, and you’ll forget about your problem.
Middle ear infections and their complications
Why are middle ear infections dangerous? They cause inflammation in the middle ear. As a result, swelling of the mucous membrane and accumulation of mucus disrupt the conduction of sound. This leads to temporary hearing loss. Most of the inflammation caused by ear infections goes away. Hearing returns to normal. But if you experience pain, fever, or notice discharge from the ears, then you should immediately consult a doctor. Otherwise, a middle ear infection can lead to dangerous complications, including hearing loss.
Treating of middle ear infections
Antibiotics are an effective treatment for ear infections. After the diagnosis, the doctor will prescribe a course of medication for you. It’s very important to follow all directions. Even if you feel better, you should not stop taking your medication. Remember that only a doctor can make changes to treatment.
We all love to swim and have fun in the water. It doesn’t matter what you choose, a swimming pool near your home or a warm sea on vacation – water can be relaxing and energizing. However, sometimes water in the ears can cause pain, discomfort and infection. Almost every one of us got into such a situation. There are many ways to remove water from your ears. The most famous is a simple head tilt so that the water can flow out on its own. After getting rid of water, people usually continue to swim and have fun.
However, particular symptoms can develop after swimming: soreness, hearing loss, noise, and a feeling of congestion in the ear. This is a symptom of otitis externa or Swimmer’s ear. Not to be confused with acute otitis media (middle ear fluid).
The water remaining inside the ear canal after swimming, diving, or jumping into water becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. They cause inflammation of the ear canal with corresponding consequences, including temporary hearing loss.
Treating of Swimmer’s ear
Like any disease, Swimmer’s ear is easier to prevent than to cure. Moreover, there is a simple but effective remedy – swimming earplugs. You can wear them when you go swimming if you are prone to swimmer’s ear. Swimming earplugs protect the ears from water penetration, preventing the development of the disorder. A doctor can prescribe an ear ointment to take down the swelling and reduce discomfort.
What about sudden hearing loss?
Sudden hearing loss is a sudden sensorineural decrease in hearing that occurs either immediately or within a few hours. Unfortunately, many people confuse it with temporary hearing loss and don’t rush to the doctor. This can be a mistake! In the case of sudden hearing loss, a timely treatment is vital. Experts regard this condition as an emergency requiring urgent medical attention. The sooner you get help, the more likely you are to have your hearing come back.
Some people experience sudden hearing loss in the morning, immediately after waking up. Others don’t pay attention to hearing changes until they use it in practice (talking on the phone or watching TV). In some cases, hearing disappears along with a noticeable “popping”, which causes anxiety.
Sudden hearing loss differs from temporary hearing loss in several clinical ways. In addition to the speed of development, its distinctive features include an idiopathic character (the phenomenon has no pronounced cause).
Hearing is the most important sense organ that should not be taken for granted. Hearing loss causes both physical and psychological problems. If a temporary hearing loss occurs it is important to find out the reason and treat it accordingly. Do not wait too long for it to simply go away.
About Dr Stella Fulman
Dr. Stella Fulman, AU.D., CCC-A received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Audiology from Brooklyn College in 2004 and her Doctorate of Audiology from Salus University in 2008. [ Learn More ]