Hearing Loss and Flu Season

Hearing Loss and Flu Season

Many people feel that when they are ill, their hearing is affected. Most people experience this as a congested sensation, a perception that sounds are muffled, or a general dullness to sounds. Congestion associated with colds and flus can create a temporary hearing loss due to blockage of the Eustachian tube (a small pressure vent that connects behind your eardrum to the back of the throat) which leads to a buildup of pressure and potentially fluid in the middle ear, which is typically filled with air. Generally, when the head congestion subsides, hearing will return to its previous status.

However, on occasion, a virus can itself affect the hearing organ directly, causing a dramatic sudden hearing loss. This can often be confused with a hearing loss due to congestion from a cold, allergies, etc. It is possible that this damage is permanent, but occasionally the hearing will recover to some degree after prompt treatment (within 48 hours ideally) with prescription medication from your family physician.

 Warning signs for a sudden hearing loss include:

1)      A sudden change in hearing. Frequently, patients report that they wake up one morning and can’t hear.

2)      Typically, sudden losses affect only one ear.

3)      Ringing in the same ear.

If you experience any drastic, sudden change in your hearing, you should visit an audiologist or your family doctor immediately. Call 482-2222 and mention that your loss has been sudden to book a same day appointment at one of our locations.

 

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