Is it possible for hearing loss to be caused by an ear infection?

If left untreated, an ear infection can become worse and may lead to permanent hearing loss. Also, children suffer from hearing impairment due to recurring ear infections may also suffer from speech and language difficulties.

How does the ear work:

Sounds around us are collected by the outer ear infection and goes to the ear drum. Sound then travels to the middle ear, which is behind the ear drum and is filled with air. After that, sound continues to travel to the inner ear. The inner turns sounds into electrical signals and sends the signals to the brain. In most cases, the middle ear is affected by the ear infections and by fluids and air which are not drained from it.

An ear infection affects the middle and inner ear infection treatment mainly. Hearing is affected because sounds cannot travel through an ear that is full of fluids. Constant fluid in the middle ear and chronic otitis media can reduce a child’s hearing at a time that is critical for speech and language development. Children learn speech and language from listening to other people talk. The first years of life are important for this development. When hearing loss is present, a child is not able to execute the full process of language learning experiences.

A special case in Otitis Media without an infection – there is only accumulation of fluids and air which damage the hearing, but no other symptoms. Otitis media without infection is a unique problem because pain and fever are usually not present. Since the main symptoms are absent, weeks and even months might pass before parents suspect there is something wrong. During this time, the child might have missed out on information that influences development of speech and language. Frequent ear infections in children might cause hearing impairment and are likely to create speech and language disabilities.

At this point, you might be asking yourself: “How do I find out if my child has otitis media?”

First, read and see the common symptoms of ear infections. Even if pain or fever are not present, there are additional symptoms you can look for that may indicate chronic or recurring fluid in the ear:

  • Inattentiveness
  • Listening louder than usual to the television or radio
  • Misunderstanding directions
  • Listlessness
  • Unexplained irritability
  • Pulling or scratching at the ears

If one or more of these symptoms listed above is present in your child’s behavior and you think that otitis media is causing a hearing, speech, or language problem- require immediate attention, most likely from a pediatrician, ENT doctor or an otolaryngologist (ear doctor).

If your child has frequently recurring infections and/or chronic fluid in the middle ear, you might want to consult two more specialists: an audiologist and a speech-language pathologist.
Remember, as a parent, you are the best person to look for signs that suggest poor hearing. Identifying the symptoms might help the doctors’ set an opinion and surely provide additional info.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has identified this issue: “Any child whose parent expresses concern about whether the child hears should be considered for referral for behavioral audiometry without delay”. Parents should listen to their instincts, guiding them in seeking more information and further evaluation whenever they are concerned about their children’s health or development. This should be the guideline for all aspects of the child’s life and health, not just hearing impairment.

Prevention of ear infection and hearing loss

In most cases, Hearing impairment can be prevented when treated in time. Most commonly, antibiotics are prescribed to treat ear infections and can help prevent permanent hearing loss. Less familiar but still a proven and effective solution for Otitis Media is the Eardoc. the Eardoc is a non-invasive therapeutic device, easy to use and suitable for children and adults. It is very easy to use, and has a fast effect on the fluids accumulated in the middle ear.

In addition, immunizations for measles, the mumps and rubella can help prevent hearing loss as well. Some patients who use headphones regularly for music become adjusted to the volume of that sound, and they continue to turn the sound louder and louder, so they don’t really understand how loud music is. The loud sound, with the headphones blocking the ear canal, can cause the middle ear to accumulate fluids to suffer less from the loud sounds that it has to endure.

Congenital hearing loss, in many cases, can be treated or diagnosed. Often, problems that affect the embryo are because of a maternal infection, such as measles, mumps, syphilis or tuberculosis. Performing routine screening exams and following up with a gynecologist will help prevent getting these diseases or spreading these infections to your child. Alcohol can also lead to hearing loss. Consumption of alcohol during pregnancy causes “fetal alcohol syndrome”, and often the alcohol’s affect on the baby causes those children to suffer hearing loss.

Prenatal infections, illnesses, toxins consumed by the mother during pregnancy or other conditions occurring at the time of birth or shortly thereafter are some causes of congenital hearing loss that are not hereditary in nature. These conditions typically cause hearing loss ranging from mild to profound in degree. Examples include:

  • Intrauterine infections including rubella (German measles), cytomegalovirus, and herpes simplex virus
  • Complications associated with the Rh factor in the blood
  • Prematurity
  • Maternal diabetes
  • Toxemia during pregnancy
  • Lack of oxygen (anoxia)

conclusion

Sometimes, even with all medical tests available, the cause of hearing loss may remain unknown. However, it is best if hearing loss is identified early.  Identifying the hearing loss early can lead to diagnosing the cause for the hearing loss and treating that cause. Some of the causes for the hearing loss can be treated easily (a cause like fluids in the middle ear) and some might require surgery.

Natural Ear Infection Treatments for hearing impairment can include communication therapy, parent support and hearing devices such as hearing aids and cochlear implants.  As parents or responsible adults you should pay attention to the preventive steps listed above to try to prevent ear infections or some kind of hearing impairment. If the child is diagnosed with hearing loss (be that permanent or temporary), Parents are advised to see if there is an Early Intervention Program (EIP) available in their area. The EIP offers support and medical services that can assist the child greatly in the first few years. EIP might even assist overcome the delay in development caused by the hearing loss.

When treating ear infections in the middle ear, several alternatives are available. first, consult a doctor for his opinion. The doctor will most likely prescribe antibiotics and pain killers. These will have a slow effect, and are harmful to the body in large doses. Some might try homeopathic therapy such as garlic oil or warm olive oil. One alternative which is new in the market is the Eardoc, a natural non-invasive device to treat the fluid in the ear and cure the infection. The Eardoc offers a quick relief and is easy to use.

 
Questions or opinions? Let us know!