Can an Ear Infection Affect My Hearing?

It can. We all know that hearing loss can be caused by lots of different factors, such as aging and injury, but an untreated ear infection can impair your hearing as well.

How, you ask? Our AFC Urgent Care Ooltewah team provides some answers below, so keep reading.

How Do Ear Infections Cause Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss caused by an ear infection is referred to as “conductive hearing loss” and is commonly caused by an obstruction in the middle ear. The middle ear moves to send sounds to your auditory nerve.

“Otitis media,” the medical term for a middle ear infection, can cause a buildup of fluid, making it difficult for the eardrum and the ossicular chain (the three smallest bones in the body located in the ear) to work together to move sounds to the auditory nerve. If you are unsure if your hearing loss is related to an ear infection, we’ve listed some common symptoms below.

Common Ear Infection Symptoms

  • Ear pain, especially when lying down
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trouble hearing or responding to sounds
  • Loss of balance
  • Drainage of fluid from the ear
  • Headache
  • Nausea

How Long Will Hearing Loss Last When Caused By an Ear Infection?

Hearing loss related to an ear infection is usually temporary and often goes away after treatment.

Your physician may choose to treat your ear infection with antibiotics. If the antibiotics successfully treat the infection, your hearing should return to normal. If you have a history of recurrent ear infections, your physician may insert a tube in your eardrum to help the fluid drain. We’ve listed some tips below to prevent future ear infections from happening.

Ways to Prevent Future Ear Infections

  • Keep your ears clean by washing them and using a cotton swab carefully. Make sure you dry your ears completely after swimming or taking a shower.
  • Don’t smoke and avoid secondhand smoke as much as you can.
  • Manage your allergies by avoiding triggers and keeping up with allergy medications.

Not sure what’s causing your hearing loss? We can help! Visit us at AFC Urgent Care Ooltewah today.