Temporary hearing loss
Some hearing losses are only temporary.
Ear infections often cause hearing loss, as the inflammation reduces the ears’ ability to conduct sound from the outer ear into the inner ear. When the infection disappears, the hearing often returns to normal.
Too much earwax or foreign objects in the ear canal can also cause a temporary hearing loss. When the earwax or the object is removed, the hearing normally returns.
If the hearing loss is a sensorineural hearing loss, which is a hearing loss related to damaged hair cells in the inner ear, the hearing loss is permanent and cannot be reversed.
Exposure to sudden loud sounds may also cause a temporary hearing loss, where the hearing returns after some hours or a few days. If not, you should contact your doctor or an ENT as quickly as possible.
A temporary hearing loss is also called a temporary threshold shift.
Some may experience a sudden hearing loss, which is a hearing loss that appears and develops without reason within a few days. In some cases, the hearing may return, also within a few days. Read more about a sudden hearing loss.
Permanent hearing loss
Most cases of hearing loss are permanent.
Most types of hearing loss including a sensorineural hearing loss and a conductive hearing loss are a permanent hearing loss. This is also called a permanent threshold shift. A permanent hearing loss can develop and become worse (more severe) but never get better.
This means that the hearing loss cannot be reversed and that there is no medical cure or treatment that can bring the hearing back or restore hearing, unless the hearing loss is caused by e.g. infections or earwax.