A temporary hearing loss (temporary loss of hearing) is a hearing loss that is only present for a shorter period or can be treated so it disappears and the hearing is restored.
A temporary hearing loss is also called a temporary threshold shift.
Symptoms of a temporary hearing loss
The symptoms of a temporary hearing loss are sudden, reduced hearing or that you experience that the hearing becomes worse over time, typically some days.
What can cause temporary hearing loss?
A temporary hearing loss can have many causes, but the most common causes are ear infections, earwax or foreign objects in the ear or sudden loud sounds.
Many ear infections such as otitis media can cause a temporary hearing loss, as the inflammation in the ear reduces the ability to conduct sound from the outer ear into the inner ear. In many cases, the infection disappears by itself, in other cases you have to seek medical help and use medication to get rid of the infection.
Earwax or foreign objects
Too much earwax or foreign objects in the ear may also cause a hearing loss. When this is removed (by a doctor), the hearing in most cases returns to the normal level.
Exposure to sudden loud sounds may also cause a temporary hearing loss, where the hearing returns after some hours or a few days. But if the hearing does not return within a few days, it is very important to see a doctor or an ENT on an emergency basis.
Sudden temporary hearing loss
A temporary hearing loss can occur suddenly or develop over time. Loud sounds may cause a sudden temporary hearing loss, this could e.g. be a temporary hearing loss after a concert. Ear infections and earwax typically make the hearing loss develop over time. Read more about sudden hearing loss.
How to cure temporary hearing loss?
If the temporary hearing loss is caused by ear infections, the hearing loss is treated with medication. If the temporary hearing loss is caused by earwax or foreign objects in the ear, these are removed. This must be done by a doctor. Do not try to remove it yourself.