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Hearing Loss (cont.)

What Is the Medical Treatment for Hearing Loss?

If a foreign body is found in the ear canal, the doctor will try to take it out.

It can be removed by flushing the canal with water, using suction, or using forceps.

  • Cerumen (earwax) in the canal is removed by flushing the canal or scooping out the wax with special instruments.
    • If the wax is too hard to remove, the doctor may prescribe softening drops (also available over-the-counter) and have you return in a week to try to remove it again.
    • If infection is found, antibiotics will most likely be prescribed. Middle ear infections usually require pills, while infections of the ear canal can usually be treated with eardrops.
    • If the eardrum is perforated from an injury, no medicines will usually be prescribed. A follow-up visit with the same doctor or an ear, nose, and throat specialist (otolaryngologist or ENT) will be suggested. Eardrum perforation from an infection is usually treated with antibiotics.
    • If a problem is suspected with the bones of the middle ear or nerves, a referral will likely be made to a specialist such as an ear, nose, and throat specialist.
    • If the cause of the hearing loss is due to medications, the medication will be stopped or changed.
    • If there is a tumor, such as an acoustic neuroma, a referral to a neurotologist (an ear, nose, and throat surgeon specializing in and ear surgery) or a neurosurgeon (a surgeon specializing in brain, spinal cord, or nerve surgery) will be made.
    • If associated symptoms are troublesome (tinnitus, vertigo), anti-anxiety or motion sickness medication may be prescribed.
    • If Ménière disease is the suspected cause, certain diuretics, antihistamines or nicotinic acid can sometimes be helpful. A low-salt diet may also be suggested.
    • If the hearing loss is a sudden sensorineural loss, oral steroids may be started by the physician and an otolaryngologist may inject steroids directly into the middle ear.
    • Most causes of hearing loss do not require admission to the hospital.

What Is the Follow-up for Hearing Loss?

Many treatments are available for permanent hearing loss.

  • People with conductive hearing loss can have the middle ear reconstructed by an ear, nose, and throat specialist.
  • Hearing aids are effective and well tolerated for people with conductive hearing loss.
  • People who are profoundly deaf may benefit from a cochlear implant.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/16/2016
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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.

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