, hearing impairment or diminished hearing sensation is a
condition where the individual cannot hear the sounds heard by normal persons.
There are various causes of hearing loss, depending on which, the condition may
be temporary or permanent. Hearing loss can be reversible or irreversible which
means certain hearing problems can be set right in some conditions and in some
they cannot be fixed and the hearing loss will be permanent.
develop temporary hearing impairment due to obstructions in the outer ear or
of the middle ear.
Permanent hearing loss in children can occur due to various genetic or hereditary
causes, diseases and other conditions.
Hearing loss in
adults can be identified and rectified depending upon the location and cause of
the problem. Temporary hearing
in adults is also caused by disturbances in the outer or
middle ear. However, if these conditions are not treated on time, they can
develop into permanent hearing loss. Irreversible hearing loss occurs in adults
due to factors like ageing and exposure to loud noises. These conditions can be
managed with hearing aid fitting and hearing conservation.
What Causes Temporary Hearing Loss?
loss is the result of problems in the ear canal, ear drum or tympanic membrane,
middle ear or its three little bones, the condition is called conductive
hearing loss. Depending on the cause, the symptoms and treatment can be varied.
Conductive hearing loss is mostly treatable with simple cleaning procedures or
, if identified and
intervened on time.
Occlusion of the ear canal:
Cerumen or wax
the most common cause of ear canal occlusion. Foreign bodies, exostosis (benign
bony growth in the ear canal), insects, etc may be obstructing the ear canal
and as a result, transmission of sounds to the middle ear is limited. Fungal
of the ear canal may or may not cause hearing loss.
Hearing loss may
be unilateral, that is in one ear, in which the obstruction is present. Pain
may or may not be present. The treatment involves removal of cerumen after
softening it, and rinsing the ear with body-temperature warm water. However,
this kind of treatment has to be done only by a qualified professional and not
at home.Infection of middle ear:
Fluid accumulation in the middle
due to bacterial or viral infection can result in diminished
sense of hearing as it affects the transmission of sound. This condition is
. Acute otitis media is a temporary infection and chronic otitis
media refers to long term infection of the middle ear.
proper aural hygiene are the solutions for otitis media. If treatment is
delayed further decay of the tiny bones or ossicles may occur as a result of
the infection and fluid accumulation. This may lead to permanent damage to
ear discharge, pain in the ear, etc are the symptoms of otitis media. The
condition can be treated with antibiotics and sometimes surgery. The removal of
fluid accumulation is sometimes done by myringotomy or surgically piercing the
ear drum, just enough to let out the fluid and allowing the area to eventually
Ear Drum Rupture:
otitis media, water accidents, temporal bone fracture and pressure of fluid
inside are all the causes for perforation or rupture of eardrum. The rupture
can cause hearing loss as the tympanic membrane is unable to vibrate to the
sounds and transmit to the middle ear.
painful hearing loss and ear discharge. This condition can be treated with
antibiotics and sometimes a simple surgery called tympanoplasty
, or repairing the
Growth in the middle ear:
Fibroma, papilloma, adenoma and other such benign or malignant growths in the
ear canal or middle ear can cause hearing loss. This condition may or may not
be accompanied with pain. Depending on the nature of the growth, the prognosis
and treatment can be varied.
the thickening of epidermal and connective tissues within the middle ear. The
deafness can be progressive and ear drum can be seen as retracted or
perforated. Surgery is the only treatment for this condition. Otosclerosis:
deposition of bone tissue at the base of the stapes bone is called
otosclerosis. This deposition prevents the right kind of movement of the bones
and hinders the transmission of sound to the inner ear.
painless, progressive hearing loss, usually occurring bilaterally. This
condition is more prevalent in middle-aged women with a positive family
history. Surgical modification of the stapes can help prevent further damage to
ear and hearing. But if the condition is not treated, the damage can spread to
the inner ear and the hearing impairment can be reversed only up to some