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How to Treat Temporary Hearing Loss

Finding an appropriate treatment for temporary hearing loss can be quite difficult if the underlying cause of the loss is not known.  With so many different issues leading to hearing loss, knowing what condition initially lead to your loss of hearing will be necessary to find a treatment method that could restore normal hearing.  Not all hearing loss can be corrected; the only way to know for sure if your loss is reversible is to contact a hearing center for an evaluation.

What to Expect at Your Appointment

Your audiologist will ask you several questions concerning your current health status and your current hearing problems.  A full health history will be necessary to see if there is anything in your past that would cause the provider to believe that your current condition is the result of an ongoing health issue.  Your audiologist will want you to answer each question as thoroughly as you can to get as much information as possible to diagnose your condition.

After your health history and details of your current condition are documented, she will examine your ears for signs of abnormalities.  You will then be given some simple hearing tests to help the audiologist narrow down a diagnosis for your condition.  Some conditions may require more advanced testing methods, so you may need to schedule another follow-up appointment.  In some cases, you may need a referral to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor in order to determine a treatment plan.

Common Hearing Loss Conditions

There are several causes for temporary hearing loss.  Fortunately, some of the most common causes of hearing loss are also the most easily treated and can be done at home.  Temporary hearing loss can be caused by:

  • Exposure to loud noise
  • Impacted ear wax

Each of these conditions can be treated, and in most cases, hearing can be restored without a visit to the doctor.  However, if you are in pain or have a complete absence of hearing, visiting an audiologist or ENT is recommended to protect the health of your ears.

Treatment for Temporary Hearing Loss due to Noise Exposure

When the ears are constantly exposed to loud noises for long periods of time, a condition known as tinnitus, or ringing in the ears can develop.  Overstimulation of the ear can also lead to hearing loss.  The best way to ensure that permanent ear damage does not result is to allow the ears to take a break from loud sounds.  It may seem like an overly obvious idea, but it’s also the safest treatment for this method of hearing loss.

Some other ideas for protecting the ears include wearing protective ear plugs or ear muffs. This is particularly important when using loud equipment, such as lawn mowers or power tools. These will lower the volume of the sound that reaches the ear drum and inner ear, which will reduce the chances that over exposure will take place.  Also, when possible, consider lowering the volume on radios and other music listening devices.

Removing Ear Wax

When ear wax accumulates in the ear canal, sound vibrations are not fully received by the ear drum.  This can lead to a reduction in the ability to hear, or will result in muffled hearing.  Trying to remove impacted ear wax can be dangerous when one is not skilled in doing it properly.  The first time that a patient experiences impacted ear wax, he should visit a health care provider to have it removed. 

Patients who have experience removing their own impacted ear wax can safely do so with a syringe and warm water.  Fill the syringe with lukewarm water and gently squirt it into the ear.  Direct the stream of water to the walls of the ear canal, not the ball of wax.  Eventually the wax will loosen and dislodge, allowing for improved hearing.

It is worth mentioning that placing any object in the ear to try and dig out hardened wax can lead to serious damage to the ear drum.  Using cotton swabs, hair pins, or finger nails can puncture the delicate membrane of the ear drum, which can also lead to hearing loss.  If the syringe and water method does not loosen the wax, make an appointment to see a physician or audiologist for removal.

Whatever the cause of your hearing loss, it is always best to get the opinion of an audiologist or ENT before trying any home remedies.  Take time to protect your ears from loud and constant sound, and keep ear wax accumulation to a minimum to protect your current level of ear function. 

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