What is the Connection Between Ear Infection and Hearing Loss?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel
The ears aid in sound detection and balance of the body.
The ears aid in sound detection and balance of the body.

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.

Ear infections sometimes require a visit to a physician.
Ear infections sometimes require a visit to a physician.

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.

If too much pressure collects in the middle and inner ear, the ear drum could rupture and lead to hearing loss.
If too much pressure collects in the middle and inner ear, the ear drum could rupture and lead to hearing loss.

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.

A persistent ear infection could lead to long-term hearing loss.
A persistent ear infection could lead to long-term hearing loss.

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.

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for , Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for , Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • The ears aid in sound detection and balance of the body.
      The ears aid in sound detection and balance of the body.
    • Ear infections sometimes require a visit to a physician.
      Ear infections sometimes require a visit to a physician.
    • If too much pressure collects in the middle and inner ear, the ear drum could rupture and lead to hearing loss.
      If too much pressure collects in the middle and inner ear, the ear drum could rupture and lead to hearing loss.
    • A persistent ear infection could lead to long-term hearing loss.
      A persistent ear infection could lead to long-term hearing loss.
    • For most people hearing loss caused by an infection lasts only as long as the infection does.
      For most people hearing loss caused by an infection lasts only as long as the infection does.
    • Approximately 30 million Americans exhibit some type of hearing loss or impairment.
      Approximately 30 million Americans exhibit some type of hearing loss or impairment.