Is Your Hearing Loss Permanent Or Temporary

Is Your Hearing Loss Permanent Or Temporary

Losing the ability to recognize other people’s voices is the first indication of hearing loss. If you’re in an environment where background noise is loud and you can only hear some of the conversation, this can be particularly confusing. If this occurs often, it may indicate that your ears are gradually losing their sensitivity to sound.

What Are The Different Types Of Hearing Loss?

There are several types of hearing loss, which can be categorized based on where the problem occurs in the auditory system. The main types include: 

1. Sensorineural Hearing Loss 

This is the most common type, and it occurs when there is damage to the inner ear or the auditory nerve. It is often caused by aging, noise exposure, genetics, or certain medical conditions.

 2. Conductive Hearing Loss

This type of hearing loss occurs when sound waves are unable to reach the inner ear. It is usually caused by problems in the outer or middle ear, such as earwax buildup, fluid in the middle ear, or abnormalities in the ear structures. 

3. Mixed Hearing Loss

This is a combination of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. Individuals with mixed hearing loss have problems in both the inner and outer/middle ear. 

4. Central Hearing Loss

This hearing loss originates from the brain’s central auditory pathways and processing centers. It can result from damage to the brainstem, auditory cortex, or other parts of the central nervous system. It’s important to note that hearing loss’s severity and specific characteristics can vary from person to person. If you suspect a hearing problem, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or audiologist for proper evaluation and treatment options.

Temporary Hearing Loss

Most audiologists concur that everyone experiences transient hearing loss at some point in their lives. The onset of temporary hearing loss usually occurs abruptly or over a few short days. Most likely, this issue will only affect one ear. Common signs and symptoms include tinnitus, difficulty hearing high-pitched noises, and muffled sounds.

Here are several of the most common causes of temporary hearing loss:

  • Sudden change in altitude
  • Exposure to loud noise
  • Ear infections
  • Earwax build-up
  • Fluid trapped in the middle ear
  • Foreign objects stuck in the ear canal

Permanent Hearing Loss

Permanent hearing loss can happen suddenly or gradually, although it usually results from exposure to loud noises or age-related changes. Additionally, it frequently coexists with a number of illnesses, including diabetes, Meniere’s disease, and Lyme disease. In rare circumstances, injuries to the head or ears, such as those sustained in auto accidents or blast injuries, can also result in hearing loss.

An audiologist or an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) physician can do a professional assessment to ascertain if a patient has a permanent or temporary hearing loss. A range of tests will be performed to evaluate your hearing, such as a speech audiometry exam to gauge your ability to understand spoken language and a pure-tone audiometry test to gauge your capacity to hear various sound frequencies.

Here are several of the most common causes of permanent hearing loss:

  • Prolonged exposure to excessive noise
  • Age-related hearing loss
  • Health conditions

Types of Hearing Tests

Hearing tests include:

  • Automated otoacoustic emissions (AOAE) tests
  • Automated auditory brainstem response (AABR) tests
  • Pure tone audiometry tests
  • Bone conduction tests

These examinations will assist in identifying the source of hearing loss, which will dictate the appropriate course of action.

When To See A Doctor?

Remember that hearing loss can happen gradually, so getting frequent hearing exams is essential to spot any changes in your hearing. It’s critical to consult a physician as soon as possible if you think you could have irreversible hearing loss. They’ll be qualified to make diagnoses and therapy recommendations.

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Dr. Kimberly Langdon

Kimberly Langdon

Dr. Kimberly Langdon has been an MD for 31 years, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine, earning Honors in many rotations. She then completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University Medical Center, earning first-place accolades for her Senior Research Project and Score of 98th percentile on a National Proficiency Test.

During her clinical career, she delivered over 2000 babies and specialized in minimally invasive procedures, menopause, endometriosis, menstrual disorders, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. After retiring from clinical practice, she founded a medical device company to commercialize her two patented and four patent-pending medical devices for both life-threatening and non-life-threatening infections.

Kimberly Langdon M.D.

Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Coologics, 2010-present
The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Doctor of Medicine 1987-1991
The Ohio State University Hospital Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Program 1991-1995
Private practice 1995-2010

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu, M.D., received his medical doctorate from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. During his medical school training, Dr. Hsu worked with various patients, including adult and pediatric patients with acute and chronic conditions. Dr. Hsu’s interests include neurology, psychiatry, pediatrics, and sleep medicine.

Before medical school, Dr. Hsu finished a master’s degree at Harvard University and wrote a thesis on neuroimaging in schizophrenia patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospital. Dr. Hsu was also a part of the 2008 NASA Phoenix Lander Mission team, which sent a robotic spacecraft to the North polar region of Mars. Dr. Hsu also had research experience on neuroimaging in neonates at Boston Children’s Hospital, another Harvard Medical School-affiliated Hospital.

Since graduating from medical school, Dr. Hsu has worked as a full-time medical writer and consultant. In addition, he has experience writing and ghostwriting books and articles for physicians and health technology start-up companies. Dr. Hsu believes good communication between healthcare providers and patients creates the best results.


-Peer Reviewed Journal Article:
Kounaves, S.P., Hecht, M.H., West, S.J., Morookian, J.-M., Young, S.M.M., Quinn, R., Grunthaner, P., Wen, X., Weilert, M., Cable, C.A., Fisher, A., Gospodinova, K., Kapit, J., Stroble, S., Hsu, P.-C., Clark, B.C., Ming, D.W. and Smith, P.H. The MECA wet chemistry laboratory on the 2007 phoenix mars scout Lander. Journal of Geophysical Research. 2009, Mar; 114(E3): 10.1029/2008je003084.

-Poster Presentation:
2011 Harvard Psychiatry Mysell Poster Session; Boston, MA
Hsu, P.C., Rathi, Y., Eckbo, R., Nestor, P., Niznikiewicz, M., Thompson, E., Kubicki, M., Shenton, M.E. (March, 2011). Two-Tensor Diffusion Tensor Imaging of Acoustic Radiations in Schizophrenia

Dr. Nicolette Natale

Nicolette Natale

Dr. Nicolette Natale is a physician, with a background in Psychology, General Medicine, and English Literature, combining her expertise to provide readers with the most accurate, easy-to-understand, and comprehensive information regarding healthcare. She received her Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from Nova Southeastern University, and her bachelor’s in English Literature and Psychology from the University of Miami. Dr. Natale seeks to empower individuals with knowledge, fostering a greater understanding of holistic health and encouraging a proactive approach to well-being