How Ear Infections Can Cause Hearing Loss

How Ear Infections Can Cause Hearing Loss

Do you or your child have frequent or severe ear infections? Are you concerned that ear infections can lead to hearing loss? Find out when you should be worried about potential loss of hearing due to ear infections, and what can be done to reduce the frequency and severity of such infections. 

SLENT, or South Louisiana Ear, Nose, Throat & Facial Plastics, has locations in Mandeville, Hammond, and Slidell, Louisiana. Our experienced otolaryngology specialists can help you determine the cause of ear infections and identify risks to your hearing.

Types of ear infections

Most ear infections start in the middle ear, and are called otitis media. There are two main types:

1. Acute

If the eustachian tube that connects the back of the throat to the middle of the ear becomes inflamed, fluid gets trapped and can’t drain normally. Infection in the fluid can cause pain, swelling, and temporary hearing impairment due to blockage of the tube.

2. Effusive

Even after an infection has cleared up, there could be fluid or mucus left behind in the tube, causing minor blockage and hearing impairment that lasts until the tube drains fully.

Complications of ear infections

There are two less common forms of otitis media that can be more serious. These are more often seen in children with repeated ear infections, but may also be present in adults:

Chronic suppurative

Patients who have acute otitis media can end up with complications. If the eardrum is perforated, a persistent discharge from the middle ear can cause hearing loss that isn’t easily remedied.  

Adhesive 

Another complication of a prolonged ear infection is complete collapse of the eardrum. The insides of the eardrum adhere to one another and to the middle ear’s structures and wall, causing hearing loss that may be profound. 

Other types of ear infections that increase risk of hearing loss

There are many childhood diseases that can cause hearing loss as the infection settles in the sinuses or throat and affects the ears. These include:

If you or your child have been vaccinated, you’re likely to be protected against most of these illnesses. If you or your child have had one of these illnesses or have suffered from repeated, acute, or prolonged ear infections and you think hearing loss has occurred, schedule a consultation with the experts at SLENT by calling the location closest to you, or visit the contact page for more information.  

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