In many cases, hearing loss is gradual, progressive and permanent. However, there are times when hearing loss is temporary and can be reversed.
A Word of Caution on Sudden Hearing Loss
If hearing loss comes on suddenly, visit a medical professional right away. You may have inflammation in the ear that needs to be treated with steroids. The sooner treatment is administered the less likely it is that the hearing loss will become permanent.
How Can You Suddenly Lose Hearing?
Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL) occurs because there is something wrong with the sensory organs of the inner ear. While it can happen to anyone, SSHL most often affects adults in their late 40s and early 50s.
While the cause is often unknown, some conditions known to trigger sudden hearing loss include:
- Bacterial or viral infections
- Head trauma
- Autoimmune disorders
- Blood circulation problems
- Neurological disorders
- Meniere’s disease
- Reactions to certain medications
You may also experience a pop in your ears before your hearing disappears. Additionally, you might have a feeling of fullness in the ear, ringing in the ear (tinnitus), and/or dizziness.
Common Reasons for Temporary Hearing Loss
Most cases of temporary hearing loss don’t happen suddenly, but rather gradually over days and even weeks. Some common causes include:
- Earwax buildup. Earwax usually falls out of your ears naturally or is removed during gentle cleaning. However, it can build up and block the ear canal, causing sounds to be muffled.
- Ear infection. Infections in the ear can also cause muffled hearing. While they are more common in children, they can occur at any age.
- Loud noises. If your ears ever felt a little full after attending Concerts on the Green, you know that loud sound can affect your hearing. This is known as noise-induced hearing loss. While it can be temporary, repeated exposure to loud volume without proper ear protection can lead to permanent damage.
- Intense exercise. Regular physical activity is important to your overall health and contributes to healthy ears. However, if you exercise too strenuously you may experience temporary hearing loss. If this was the cause, your hearing should return to normal in a few hours. If it doesn’t, reach out to a medical professional.
If you would like additional information about temporary hearing loss or wish to schedule an appointment with one of our experts, contact The Audiology Offices today.