Ear infections can sometimes cause muffled hearing. This hearing loss is often temporary and goes away as the virus clears. However, chronic ear infections may put you at a higher risk of developing permanent hearing loss.
What Does an Ear Infection Feel Like?
Ear infections are a common ailment, particularly in children, though adults can develop them as well. The most common symptom associated with ear infections is pain in the affected ear. Other symptoms include:
- Drainage of fluid from the ear
- Pain that worsens when lying down
- Fever (more common in children)
- Very young children may also seem fussier, cry more than usual or tug at their ears
- Temporary hearing loss
Why Can a Middle Ear Infection Affect Hearing?
When you have a middle ear infection, your Eustachian tube, which runs from the middle ear to the back of the throat, becomes inflamed. This inflammation can lead to fluid becoming trapped in the tube, which can interfere with your ability to hear. As the virus clears up, the fluid drains out of the middle ear, and hearing returns to normal.
Ear Infections and Permanent Hearing Loss
The vast majority of hearing loss caused by ear infections is temporary. However, chronic or repeated ear infections can cause damage to the ear that leads to permanent hearing loss.
Chronic ear infections are ear infections that do not go away or keep coming back. Having them can put you at risk of developing a hole in the eardrum that does not heal, as well as causing other permanent damage to the middle ear. Symptoms of a chronic ear infection are similar to those of an acute infection; however, they may come and go and be less severe.
It’s important to seek treatment for chronic or recurring ear infections. Treatments like ear tubes can help fluid drain from the ear, reducing the risk of infection and permanent ear injury.
When to See a Hearing Specialist
If you are concerned that chronic ear infections have caused problems with your hearing, schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist. They can examine your ears and perform a hearing test to see if any hearing loss has occurred and whether it is permanent or temporary in nature.
While there is no cure for permanent hearing loss, treating your condition with hearing aids can make it significantly easier to process speech in sound in any environment, whether at work, having dinner with your family at home or catching up with friends at Cozzi Café.
If you would like additional information or wish to schedule an appointment with one of our experts, call Torrance Audiology today.