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Can Sinus Cause Hearing Loss

Anatomy Of The Throat

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The throat, or pharynx, is divided into three parts. The nasopharynx is located behind the nose. The oropharynx is behind the mouth . And the laryngopharynx , or lower section of the throat, is in front of the esophagus this is where the larynx, or voice box, and the vocal cords are housed . The often-infected tonsils and adenoids are found in the naso- and oropharynx. A number of common problems can affect the throat: strep and other infections that cause sore throats, hoarseness, laryngitis, and tonsillitis are just a few.

Sinus Inflammation Can Affect Hearing

When sinusitis occurs, it generally causes intense inflammation to sinuses by which eardrums gets pressure on which hearing is connected. The fluid discharge from sinuses increases this pressure. At condition, when fluid accumulates near the ear drums, then the middle ear becomes swollen and gets completely blocked. Thus, the pressure to ear drums increases every bit and the patient starts experiencing hearing loss and pain. Sometimes, the hearing can be restored in case fluids get drained away. At such situation, sinusitis gets subsequently cured. This entire process promotes hearing loss caused by chronic sinusitis.

Coping With Changes To Your Hearing

Although usually temporary, hearing problems can be hard to cope with. Many of your daily activities are affected.

It becomes harder to have face to face or telephone conversations. Ways of relaxing such as listening to music or the radio and watching TV may be more difficult or less enjoyable. You may get fed up with asking people to repeat things.

This can be a worry when talking to your doctors – you may be concerned that you are missing vital bits of information.

When talking to people it is important:

  • that you tell people your hearing is not so good
  • to ask them to speak a little louder and more clearly
  • they may need to face you when speaking as this often helps
  • to get rid of background noise, such as the TV or radio – ask them to turn the noise down, and explain why

If your hearing loss is likely to be permanent your doctor will probably refer you to an audiologist. An audiologist is a health professional trained in the non medical aspects of hearing loss. An audiologist will look at the degree of hearing loss you have. And they can give you treatment suited to your own particular needs.

  • V Paleri and N Roland

    The Journal of Laryngology and Otology, volume 130, number S2, May 2016

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, November 2004

  • Management of late complications of head and neck cancer and its treatment

    T Galloway and others

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Is It A Sinus Infection Or An Ear Infection

Sometimes, people who experience a feeling of fullness in the ear, muffled hearing and fever attribute these symptoms to a sinus infection. That could be a mistake because the symptoms all together line up more with an ear infection. Each type of infection has different treatments, so having the proper diagnosis is important.

Symptoms of a Sinus Infection

The signs of a sinus infection can include:

  • Sinus pressure behind eyes and cheeks
  • Thick yellow or green mucus dripping from your nose or into the back of your throat
  • Lesser sense of smell
  • Runny, stuffy nose for more than a week
  • Facial pain
  • Pain in the upper teeth
  • Upset stomach, nausea, pain behind the eyes and headaches

Sinus infections occur when the nasal passages get congested. These infections can be tricky to treat and are sometimes chronic. Hearing loss is NOT a symptom of a sinus infection, although your ear may feel full. Sinus infections, as opposed to ear infections, are less frequent in children.

Symptoms of an Ear Infection

Children get ear infections more often than adults do, and muffled hearing is one symptom that both groups may share. In adults, the symptoms can also include:

  • Feeling of fullness in ear
  • Ear drainage
  • Sharp stabbing pain in ear canal
  • Sore throat, stuffy nose or fever

Symptoms among children include muffled hearing, pulling at the ear, ear drainage, restlessness, fever, irritability and crying when lying down. Children can also experience sore throat, stuffy nose or fever.

Children vs. Adults

Hearing Loss And Sinus Congestion

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Hearing loss can be often caused by sinus blockages and severe congestion. This is especially true if the Eustachian tube has a clog. This is because it helps to regulate the pressure in your sinuses. When you have fluid in the Eustachian tube, it can cause muffled hearing. Many people report that it is like having ear plugs in, or being underwater.

If you have any changes in hearing, it is a good idea to visit your doctor or hearing care specialist. If you have hearing loss with a sinus infection, it can be a sign that your infection has become more severe.

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Sinus Congestion And Hearing Loss

Chances are that if youre wondering, Can a sinus infection cause hearing loss? youve already got an inkling of what might be behind this symptom. The most common form of hearing loss due to a sinus infection is caused by severe congestion and sinus blockage specifically, sinus blockage of the Eustachian tube, a small section of your ear that helps regulate pressure.

Fluid in the Eustachian tube can cause muffled hearing. Many people equate the sensation to that of descending in an airplane, being underwater, or even having earplugs in.

Changes in hearing such can be distressing. In general, its wise to visit a doctor as soon as you notice any difference in the quality of your hearing, but to have hearing loss coupled with a sinus infection may indicate that your infection has become more severe, and thus definitely warrants a visit to your ENT.

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According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders , sudden deafness, or sudden sensorineural hearing loss, strikes one person per 5,000 every year, typically adults in their 40s and 50s. Sudden sensorineural hearing loss usually comes on suddenly and rapidly, and nine out of 10 people with it lose hearing in one ear.

Unfortunately, most people who experience sudden sensorineural hearing loss delay treatment or dont seek treatment at all, because they think the condition is due to allergies, sinus infections, or ear wax impaction. If you suspect you have sudden sensorineural hearing loss, you should seek immediate medical care, because any delayed treatment could result in a permanent hearing loss.

Sudden Hearing Loss FAQs

How is sudden hearing loss diagnosed?

Your audiologist will conduct a hearing test to diagnose sudden sensorineural hearing loss. This test will help answer if your hearing loss is due to one of the following conditions: 1) Sound is not reaching the inner ear due to an obstruction , or 2) The ear is not processing the sound that reaches it due to a sensorineural deficit. With this test, your audiologist will also be able to determine the range of hearing thats been lost. If you have a hearing loss of at least 30 decibels in three connected frequencies, the hearing loss is diagnosed as sudden sensorineural hearing loss.

What are the signs that you may have a sudden hearing loss?

What causes sudden hearing loss?

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.

Regular Hearing Loss & Sudden Hearing Loss Treatment

Clogged Ear Due to Ear Infection or Eustachian Tube Dysfunction

Conductive hearing loss is often temporary and treatable. Treatments include the removal of abnormal growths and external objects, earwax extraction, or antibiotics. Other issues are usually treatable with surgery.

Treatment of sensorineural hearing loss does not typically result in fully restored hearing. However, with the advent of hearing aids and cochlear implants, your options for achieving better hearing have vastly improved.

Sudden hearing loss, when caught quickly and treated with corticosteroids, can result in successful or partially successful treatment. Again, sudden hearing loss is best treated within 2 weeks of its onset.

For either type of hearing loss, your doctor might administer a hearing loss test to measure the extent of your hearing loss and to determine how much your hearing capabilities have changed.

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Can A Blocked Nose Cause Hearing Loss

A blocked nose can make life miserable. Added to a plugged nose, hearing loss can make the problem worse. But why does it happen that whenever there is an episode of a stuffy nose, your hearing also gets affected? Have you given thought about that? Read this blog to know the relation between the blocked nose and hearing loss.

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Causes Of Nasal Congestion

Nasal congestion can result from various reasons, including the following:

  • Allergies such as hay fever
  • Tumors in the nasal cavity
  • Enlargement of adenoid tissue
  • Congenital nasal narrowing in newborns
  • Otitis media and asthma also cause nasal congestion, which can cause sleep disturbances, sleep apnea, pressure in the ear, and/or temporary hearing loss

While these are the common reasons behind a stuffy nose, it is recommended to visit your doctor for the correct diagnosis.

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This Permanent Damage Can Be Avoided

If you believe that you may have an ear infection, see a doctor as soon as possible. The sooner you get treatment, the better. If you have chronic ear infections, dont ignore them. The more severe the infections you have, the more harm they will cause. Ear infections normally begin with allergies, sinus infections, and colds so take measures to prevent them. If you are a smoker, now is the right time to quit, too, because smoking increases your risk of having chronic respiratory problems.

If you are still having trouble hearing after getting an ear infection, consult a doctor. There are other things which can cause conductive hearing loss, but you may have some damage. If you find out that its permanent, hearing aids can help you hear again. You can schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist to get more information about hearing aids.

How To Treat An Ear Infection

Hearing Loss Ringing Ears Tinnitus, the medical term for ringing ears ...

For mild to moderate ear infection pain, your doctor may decide to prescribe pain medication, ear drops and/or antibiotics to clear out the infection. For serious ear pain, your doctor may decide to lance your eardrum to let the infection drain out before the healing process begins.

Acute otitis media typically requires treatment from a physician.

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Dear Dr Nina: Can A Sinus Infection Cause Long

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Nina Byrnes

Q I had a bad sinus infection a few months ago and was treated with antibiotics. Since then, I don’t feel like I have ever gone back to normal. I have a continous full feeling in my head and my hearing has been affected. I find it hard to hear from one ear in particular. I haven’t been back to the doctor yet because I have been waiting for things to go back to normal. I have had a few sessions of acupuncture which helped clear the congested feeling a bit, but not the hearing issue. Can a sinus infection damage your hearing?

Dr Nina replies: Reduced hearing after a sinus infection is rarely caused by ongoing infection or permanent scarring and ear damage. It is more commonly caused by ongoing nasal congestion due to rhinitis or hay fever. Congestion of the eustachian tube – which runs from the back of the nose to the middle ear is often the culprit.

In many cases treating the underlying congestion can improve hearing. You can buy many treatments over the counter, but always talk to your pharmacist. Older antihistamines can be very sedating and so the newer, less sedating ones are preferred.

It is essential that the water is sterile. Use either cool boiled water or gently warmed distilled or sterile water. Tap water is not safe as it can contain bacteria which may then flourish in the nasal cavity.

How Do Allergies Or Sinus Issues Affect My Hearing

The human ear has three key sections Outer, Middle, and Inner which can all be affected by allergies or sinusitis.

Outer ear: Allergic reactions can cause itching and swelling of both the outer ear and ear canal. Some individuals may be allergic to skin reactants like laundry detergent, pets, fragrances or earrings. Others may experience symptoms because of airborne allergies that cause outer ear inflammation such as hay, pollen, mold or dust. Swelling of the outer ear can make it difficult for sounds to make it to your middle and inner ear.

Middle ear: The Eustachian tube is located in your middle ear, so if swelling occurs here from allergies or infection, it is very difficult for fluid in your ears to drain properly. This can cause fluid buildup and a feeling of unwanted pressure, which gives you the feeling of fullness or congestion in the ear and also creates a breeding ground for bacteria. It also means the sounds coming into your ear are becoming muffled and lost, not clearly traveling to your inner ear. Problems with the middle ear can also affect our equilibrium, so balance problems such as vertigo can occur if inflamed.

Inner ear: People with specific inner ear issues such as Ménières disease can be particularly affected by hearing loss due to allergies or sinus infection.

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Does It Cause Hearing Loss

Since our sinuses are found close to our ear canal, when they start getting clogged, swollen, and congested due to an infection, it is a common occurrence to start losing some hearing function.

As a result, our Eustachian tubes start to get clogged, therefore, preventing any fluids from passing through. Some common symptoms you should watch out for include:

  • Pressure or pain in the eardrum
  • Partial hearing loss
  • Hearing sounds as if youre underwater or going through a tunnel

How Sinus Infection Affects Your Hearing

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Do you know that your nose and ears are connected? Your nasal sinus cavity connects to your eardrum, which can lead to hearing loss when you have acute or chronic sinusitis.

If you or someone you know is suffering from sinusitis, the best thing you can do is treat it before it causes irreversible damage, particularly in children.

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How Is Sudden Deafness Diagnosed

If you have sudden deafness symptoms, your doctor should rule out conductive hearing losshearing loss due to an obstruction in the ear, such as fluid or ear wax. For sudden deafness without an obvious, identifiable cause upon examination, your doctor should perform a test called pure tone audiometry within a few days of onset of symptoms to identify any sensorineural hearing loss.

With pure tone audiometry, your doctor can measure how loud different frequencies, or pitches, of sounds need to be before you can hear them. One sign of SSHL could be the loss of at least 30 in three connected frequencies within 72 hours. This drop would, for example, make conversational speech sound like a whisper. Patients may have more subtle, sudden changes in their hearing and may be diagnosed with other tests.

If you are diagnosed with sudden deafness, your doctor will probably order additional tests to try to determine an underlying cause for your SSHL. These tests may include blood tests, imaging , and balance tests.

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Sinus Pressure And Eye Pain

The sinuses are located all throughout our face in the cheeks, near the ear, behind the eye, and in the forehead and nose. Infected sinuses dont drain properly. The mucous and debris that build up can cause a feeling of pressure and pain. If the infection is in the ethmoid sinuses the pressure can cause pain that radiates to the eyes.

Infection in the frontal sinuses causes a headache that can feel like it is coming from the eyes. Doctors often recommend decongestants to promote drainage and this reduces the pressure. The reduced pressure eases the pain in the area of the eyes.

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Normal Operation Of The Middle Ear

Efficient hearing requires an intact tympanic membrane , a normal ossicular chain, and a well-ventilated tympanic cavity. The tympanic cavity is air-filled and carved out of the temporal bone. For the eardrum to have maximal mobility, the air pressure on either side must be equal. This means the air pressure within the middle ear must equal that of the external environment. This is achieved via the Eustachian tube which connects the tympanic cavity to the throat/nasopharynx and acts as a pressure release valve to equalise the middle ear pressure to that outside.

Normally the walls of the Eustachian tube are collapsed, and jaw-moving actions such as swallowing, talking, yawning and chewing open the tube to allow air in or out as needed for equalisation.

An Important Function Of Sinus

Conductive hearing loss examples
  • Allows voice resonance
  • It helps in filtering and add moisture to air inhaled from nasal passages removing unwanted particles at the same time.
  • Lighten weight from the skull.

The four paranasal sinuses, named accordingly to the bones where they are placed:

  • Ethmoid: located in the upper part of the nose in the middle of the eyes.
  • Frontal: triangular-shaped sinus, located in a bottom part of the forehead over eyes and eyebrows.
  • Maxillary: largest among four, in cheekbones next to the nose.
  • Sphenoid: located behind the eyes.

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