Scary. Sudden. Hard to explain. If you’ve ever experienced temporary hearing loss, you’ll know it can be quite an uncomfortable occurrence. While the causes and duration vary by case, there are a few surefire ways to avoid it in the future.
What causes Temporary Hearing Loss?
The most common form of temporary hearing loss is noise induced, which can occur in any setting with uncomfortably loud sound (in front of a speaker, near active firearms, around a loud machine, etc.). Overexposure to noise exceeding about 85 decibels is generally considered unsafe, and the condition can go from temporary to permanent very quickly if not addressed. Another fairly common instance is a clogged ear canal, which includes a number of possible causes – excessive earwax, post-infection swelling, or trapped fluid to name a few. The third form of temporary hearing loss is less common but certainly problematic and easily avoidable. Certain medications are considered toxic to the inner ear and can spark the condition upon ingestion.
Avoiding the Issue
Obviously, if you find yourself in a setting with hazardously loud sounds, it’s best to remove yourself from the situation or at least wear ear protection (i.e. ear plugs or muffs). Removing blockage, however, can be a bit more difficult, as you don’t want to harm your precious and intricate inner ear canals. Apart from cleaning your ears regularly and carefully, there aren’t many ways to avoid blockage or swelling, and we’d suggest seeing a specialist to remove ear wax, treat ear infections or drain fluid. When choosing medications, be sure to chat to a doctor about ear-safe options.
Treating Temporary Hearing Loss
Once you’ve identified your discomfort, it’s important to see a doctor right away so you can confirm your condition truly is only temporary and take steps towards treating it. At your appointment, your hearing healthcare professional will first give you a thorough evaluation to determine the exact cause of your issue. They’ll likely ask you a series of questions about your current and past living/working situation, as some jobs and lifestyles are more prone to excessive sound exposure. They’ll start with a simple examination of your ears then likely give you a full hearing test. If your condition requires more advanced testing, they may book you for a follow-up appointment or ask that you visit an otolaryngologist.