Understanding Medical Problems

Common Causes Of Temporary Hearing Loss

Many people suffer a permanent reduction in their hearing during old age, but temporary hearing loss can occur at any stage of life. If you've noticed a sudden reduction in hearing, here are some of the common issues that cause temporary hearing loss.

Water in the Ears

The ear canal is designed to limit how much water enters the ear and to drain water that might seep in. Sometimes, however, water gets into the ear canal and doesn't easily drain out. 

Water that's trapped in the ear canal will dampen the ear's ability to hear, and sounds might be muffled. Additionally, you can hear the water moving around in the ear canal. 

When partial hearing loss is caused by water, the issue is easy to diagnose and treat. The sloshing sound isn't replicated by any other issues, and you must have recently gotten the ear wet. For example, this can occur when you're swimming, taking a bath, or showering. If there's no obvious source of water, then the hearing loss isn't caused by trapped water.

Should you have water stuck in your ear, it eventually drains out on its own in most cases. You can help the draining process by tilting your head so that the ear faces down —and gravity will help draw out the water. Some people jump up and down with a tilted head or sleep with their head on the side.

Excessive Earwax

Earwax naturally occurs in the ear, and the body is normally good at regulating the earwax. New earwax is created as old earwax exits the ear.

In some people, though, the body's earwax management is misaligned. More earwax is created than exits the ear, and thus excessive earwax builds up. Excessive earwax isn't a little extra that comes out with a finger, but a lot of earwax that can't be pulled out.

When earwax reaches this stage, it can actually block all or part of the ear canal. Blocking the ear canal even partially results in reduced hearing.

If you suspect that excessive earwax is to blame for your hearing loss, an otolaryngologist can confirm that your ear has extra wax and remove the wax for you.

Ear Infection

An ear infection causes fluid to collect in the ear, and this fluid acts as a liquid barrier. The fluid causes muffled hearing, somewhat as water does.

Most ear infections can be resolved with prescription medication, which a primary care physician can usually write.

For more info, contact a doctor to talk about hearing loss services