Permanent and Temporary Hearing Loss

Differences in Permanent and Temporary Hearing Loss

Hearing loss affects over 36 million Americans, and no two forms of the condition will be exactly the same. Just as there are several different ways someone can acquire a hearing loss, there are also different types of hearing loss—all of which can happen suddenly or develop slowly over time.

Permanent Hearing Loss

The most common type of hearing loss that affects the seniors in the U.S. is called sensorineural hearing loss. This form of hearing loss develops gradually, usually as part of the aging process. The bad news is that the condition is permanent, and there is no surgical option to restore lost sensorineural hearing. The good news is that hearing aids are incredibly effective in the treatment of sensorineural hearing loss—and while a hearing aid will not restore lost natural hearing ability, it can prevent a patient’s natural hearing from getting worse.

Temporary Hearing Loss

There are many different conditions that can cause a temporary loss of hearing. The most common sufferers of this type of hearing loss are children, especially if they are prone to ear infections. A buildup of fluid in the middle ear can prevent sound transmission and a “blocked” feeling in the ear, and is common in children under the age of 7.

Children who suffer from allergies may also have congestion that builds up in the middle ear. As the fluid in the middle ear moves, a patient may hear better at times, and worse at other times. If your child complains of “popping” in their ears, it can be a sign of fluid buildup.

Even a temporary hearing loss can have serious consequences for learning. It can be tricky to recognize this type of hearing loss, and many times it can appear as if the child is just not paying attention. The child hears fine and then suddenly does not hear so well if the fluid moves. And, to make matters worse, children with this type of hearing loss hear whispers better than speech at a normal volume.

Some children may be given a basic hearing screening prior to starting school, but not all of them will undergo this testing. A child’s health, and particularly their hearing, can adversely affect their ability to function and learn in school. If you notice the volume on the television being increased, it can be a sign of hearing loss. If your child has allergies—such as a cold that seems to drag on—and seems to hear sometimes and not others, a hearing test may be in order. A visit to the pediatrician is a good idea too, since in some situations this type of hearing loss will go away after a round of antibiotics is taken to treat the ear infection.

Our board-certified audiologists help patients of all ages overcome their conditions and live their lives to the fullest. If you suspect a hearing loss in someone in your family, you should schedule a hearing screening right away. Fill out our online contact form to make an appointment in our offices today!