Permanent Hearing Damage Resulting from Ear InfectionsOctober 16, 2023
Ear infections are a generic name given to any ailment that affects the ears, but in medical terms they are called otitis media. These infections are common both for children as well as adults and usually result from other secondary infections and viruses, be it sinus problems or influenza. You may be surprised to learn that even teeth problems can cause ear infections!
When it comes to defining what an ear infection (or otitis media) actually is, it basically refers to any infection that affects your middle ear, and is generally caused by bacteria or some other harmful micro-organism.
When other parts of the ear are affected by infectious diseases, they are given different names. Infections can occur in the outer part of the ear, known as the pinna, or they can occur close to your eardrum, whereby the infection would be called otitis externa (commonly known as swimmer’s ear). Ear infections of the cochlea caused by bacterial growth are known as Labyrinthitus.
Ear infections of the middle ear generally have common symptoms that are externally noticeable as well as internally discernible. You may experience foul-smelling discharge emitting from the infected ear. You may experience ear pain, and may also experience hearing loss.
Generally speaking, the hearing loss that results from ear infections is usually temporary and can be treated using medication. However, in some cases, the hearing loss may be permanent. For those who have ear infections frequently may experience some level of permanent damage to their hearing. This is most likely to occur when the ear infections go untreated for a long period of time and are chronic in nature.
The hearing loss that may occur due to ear infections is known as conductive loss of hearing. This occurs when the sound waves reaching your ears are not able to do so at the appropriate intensity, resulting in distortion of sound or inadequate sound amplification. This occurs due to bacterial growth which feed on the tiny cells within the ears, causing damage to various parts of ear, resulting in hearing loss.
Conductive hearing loss usually affects the delicate bones within the ears known as the ossicles, or the eardrums. Damage to any of these parts of the ear can lead to permanent hearing loss, since the cells within the ears do not regenerate.
In severe cases, you may require prosthetic bones to be attached surgically inside your ears in order to restore your hearing. Surgical methods are also available to treat damage to the eardrum. Since conductive hearing loss is generally an irreversible condition, never neglect ear infections and get them treated by a medical professional at the earliest. Your hearing and overall health is precious, which is why it is up to you to take good care of it so that you can enjoy your favorite sounds for all your years to come.