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Hearing Loss (cont.)

Outlook

The likelihood that hearing will return depends on the cause of the hearing loss.

  • Hearing will usually return to normal with removal of foreign bodies in the canal, removal of wax in the canal, and treatment of ear canal infections (otitis externa).
  • Hearing will usually return to normal after treatment of middle ear infection (otitis media).
    • Antibiotics are usually given for 7-14 days.

    • Rarely, a second course of different antibiotics may be necessary if the infection does not respond to the first type of antibiotic.

    • It may, however, take a longer period of time for the fluid in the middle ear to resolve completely and the hearing to return to normal.
  • Injuries to the tympanic membrane will usually heal on their own. Once healed, hearing usually returns to normal.
    • If the perforation is large (bigger than 50% of the membrane), surgery may be required to fix the eardrum.

    • A skin graft is sometimes used to replace or fix the tympanic membrane.
  • Hearing loss due to drugs may or may not return with withdrawal of the drug.
    • No proven treatment restores the hearing other than removal of the drug.

    • Some doctors may try giving drugs known as steroids to restore hearing.
  • Hearing loss due to infections such as meningitis may not return. The doctor may try using steroids during the illness to decrease the amount of hearing loss.
  • Hearing loss due to Ménière disease, acoustic neuroma, and age is usually permanent.

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Hearing Loss - Causes

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Inner Ear, Sudden Hearing Loss »

Definitions of sudden hearing loss have been based on severity, time course, audiometric criteria, and frequency spectrum of the loss.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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