We have all experienced hearing loss from time to time. It might be after swimming at the pool, hiking or landing in an airplane. Exposure to loud and persistent noises too – like in a club or working in a factory – can cause a temporary loss of hearing. And sometimes it doesn’t feel temporary; in some cases, the temporary hearing loss can last for months.
While these experiences are obviously worrying and disconcerting, they are not always as serious as they might seem at first. However, it would help if you always had your hearing checked and consult with an audiologist. You will probably have to change some of your lifestyle habits too, to avoid long-term damage.
What are the symptoms?
Most adults with healthy hearing don’t think about losing this vital sense until they are older, if at all. It might come as an unwelcome surprise, then, when hearing is suddenly lost in one ear, or slowly fades away over days or weeks. This can be a very disconcerting experience that should not be ignored, as doing so might risk further damage to the ear.
Consulting with an audiologist is the best way forward if you happen to experience sudden hearing loss in one ear. An audiologist is the best person to help determine the cause and perform tests to make an accurate diagnosis. From there, the most effective treatment can be found. This type of hearing loss can have several causes, anything from damage due to loud noises to infections.
What are the causes?
Perhaps you recently took up a new hobby that exposes you to loud noises, such as engines or you might have been working with loud noises for many years without thinking about the consequences – most people don’t if their hearing is healthy. Then suddenly things start to change. There is a dullness to your hearing now and again; perhaps you have to ask someone twice before understanding what they are saying.
It could be a simple buildup of earwax that causes your hearing loss, but equally, it could be an infection you are not aware of. Some people even experience temporary hearing loss because of water trapped in the ear canal after swimming or bathing. Determining the cause, even if it is only temporary is crucial to alleviating the symptoms safely.
What can I do about it?
If you experience sudden hearing loss, the main thing is not to panic – there could be several reasons for the loss of sound and chances are it is a temporary occurrence due to a blockage or infection. Of course, this can be worrying and inconvenient, especially if you need your hearing for work or your interest, but the good news is that a professional audiologist can help.
After you contact an audiologist, they will ask some questions to determine the nature of the hearing loss. They will then perform some tests and examinations that may include a pure tone audiometry test or a tympanometry test. Following the results, they will be able to diagnose your condition and recommend a treatment.
What is the next step?
Following a diagnosis from a qualified audiologist, the next step is to consult with them on the best course of action in the future. A consultation can be completed in one meeting or several depending on your diagnosis. If you have tinnitus, for instance, caused by your proximity to high decibels in your work, you might come up with a plan to change your job as well as treat your condition.
Audiologists are not only hearing specialists; they are also trained counsellors who can help individuals deal with the mental and emotional impacts of their condition – even if it is only short term. During your consultation, you might also discuss these issues and work out a plan for treating all aspects of the condition.
What treatment can I expect?
The vast majority of temporary hearing issues will resolve themselves. This includes tinnitus and loss of hearing due to water blockage or wax build up. In the case of tinnitus, it can feel quite extreme but will fade in days or weeks. Blockages and buildups can be treated if the symptoms are ongoing.
If you consult an audiologist, they will examine you professionally and determine the exact cause and treatment for your condition. This is the best option if your temporary hearing loss has persisted for some time without resolution. They will likely recommend the removal of a blockage and protection of your ears using healthy habits.
To learn more about temporary hearing loss and the Audiology & Hearing Center of Tampa, reach us by calling today at Westchase: 813-962-1888 and Tampa Palms: 813-374-3036