Hearing Loss

A hearing loss is sometimes called deafness. Hearing loss may be partial or total.

CAUSES

Hearing loss may be caused by:

  • Wax in the ear canal.

  • Infection of the ear canal.

  • Infection of the middle ear.

  • Trauma to the ear or surrounding area.

  • Fluid in the middle ear.

  • A hole in the eardrum (perforated eardrum).

  • Exposure to loud sounds or music.

  • Problems with the hearing nerve.

  • Certain medications.

Hearing loss without wax, infection, or a history of injury may mean that the nerve is involved. Hearing loss with severe dizziness, nausea and vomiting or ringing in the ear may suggest a hearing nerve irritation or problems in the middle or inner ear. If hearing loss is untreated, there is a greater likelihood for residual or permanent hearing loss.

DIAGNOSIS

A hearing test (audiometry) assesses hearing loss. The audiometry test needs to be performed by a hearing specialist (audiologist).

TREATMENT

Treatment for recent onset of hearing loss may include:

  • Ear wax removal.

  • Medications that kill germs (antibiotics).

  • Cortisone medications.

  • Prompt follow up with the appropriate specialist.

Return of hearing depends on the cause of your hearing loss, so proper medical follow-up is important. Some hearing loss may not be reversible, and a caregiver should discuss care and treatment options with you.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You have a severe headache, dizziness, or changes in vision.

  • You have new or increased weakness.

  • You develop repeated vomiting or other serious medical problems.

  • You have a fever.