Hearing loss can, in some cases, be a complication of an ear infection. This is because fluid can build up in the ear as a result of an ear infection, causing a degree of hearing loss in the affected ear. If an ear infection is not properly treated or if it persists despite medical intervention, it may lead to long-term or permanent hearing loss.
For most people, the connection between an ear infection and hearing loss lasts only as long as the infection itself. As soon as the infection clears up, and the related fluid drains from the middle and inner ear, the hearing is completely restored. In some cases, an ear infection and hearing loss will persist. If the fluid remains in the middle and inner ear for weeks or months, this can cause both long-term hearing loss and also permanent hearing loss, especially if the ear drum is affected.
In some severe cases, an ear infection can damage the ear drum. If a significant amount of fluid and pus collects in the middle and inner ear, pressure may build up against the ear drum. If this persists and the pressure becomes too strong, this may cause the ear drum to rupture, which is a very painful experience. In many cases, the ear drum will be able to heal on its own, but there are some instances in which surgery is required to restore the ear drum.
There have been some reports that ear infection and hearing loss in children may cause speech and language delays. The reports on this topic do include some conflicting conclusions. Despite the differences in these reports, it is important to take children experiencing ear infections to pediatricians for treatment. An ear infection and hearing loss can cause a school age child to miss school and also have trouble hearing lessons when she is in school. These complications can lead to academic delays.
There are a number of ways to avoid experiencing an ear infection and hearing loss. Reports have shown than children who are breast fed and kept away from cigarette smoke have a lower chance of experiencing ear infections. Adults who experience frequent ear infections can use nasal sprays with xylitol as a preventative measure. These sorts of sprays help to flush out bacteria that can lead to infections.