Editor's note: This article was originally posted on March 2, 2011. Due to its overwhelming popularity, we've updated it to republish today.
When one notices temporary hearing loss, it can be quite a scary experience. There are a number of reasons why it is possible to lose the ability to hear, so finding out the reason for hearing loss is the key to restoring it. Luckily, many of the reasons why this type of hearing loss occurs are due to situations that can be quickly remedied.
Exposure to loud noise
For employees who work in a high noise workplace, protecting the ears should be of utmost importance. Even short amounts of time spent in these types of environments can lead to temporary hearing loss. Chronic exposure to noise that is loud enough to cause ringing in the ears can eventually lead to permanent deafness.
The same holds true for those folks who listen to their headphones too loudly or frequently attend loud concerts. Ringing in the ears, often called tinnitus, generally results from high noise exposure. Turn down the volume or wear protective ear equipment to reduce the chance of developing permanent hearing loss.
Accumulation of ear wax
Even though production of ear wax is a normal process of the body protecting the ear canal, there are times when the wax becomes impacted or stuck in the ear canal. This blockage can hinder the ability of sound waves to travel through the ear canal to the ear drum. When the ear drum is unable to function properly, hearing can be negatively affected. The easiest way to restore normal hearing when a wax impaction is present is to visit a health care provider who can easily flush or remove the wax from the ear canal. For many people, the procedure is quick and fairly painless.
Middle ear infections
When the area behind the ear drum is invaded by bacteria, an infection is very likely to develop. Because the middle ear contains a passageway to the back of the throat, many times ear infections will develop while one is suffering from a cold virus. When the accumulation of phlegm starts to invade the passageway between the ear and the throat, an infection could develop that can affect the ability to hear.
An infection that is affecting the middle ear can cause a build-up of fluids when the body is trying to fight the infection. These fluids can put pressure on the structures of the ear that are used in hearing. Sometimes these fluids cause so much pressure that the ear drum can rupture. Many people with ruptured ear drums will notice blood and pus-like fluids leaking from the ear. A ruptured ear drum is also very painful. Treatment for ear infections is typically a course of antibiotics, and sometimes ruptured ear drums heal themselves or require minor surgery to repair.
If you think that you may be experiencing temporary hearing loss, the best way to find out for sure is to visit an audiologist or ear physician. Many times, a few simple hearing tests can be conducted to assess one’s level of hearing sometimes provide insight to the cause. These tests will be used to diagnose hearing loss and also will allow the provider to make treatment decisions based on the results. Take the time to be proactive about your ear health and visit a hearing center or ear doctor for more information on hearing loss and treatment.