Sinus Infections Can Cause Loss of Hearing

Having grown up with that silly children’s song, some of us accepted long ago that somehow “the knee bone is connected to the jaw bone,” but did you know your nose is connected to your ear?  More specifically, your nasal sinus cavity links to your eardrum, which occasionally causes hearing loss when suffering from acute or chronic sinusitis.  If you or someone you know finds themselves enduring this condition, the best move is to treat sinusitis before it causes permanent damage, especially in children.

What is Sinusitis?

Simply put, sinusitis is an infection or inflammation of the sinus cavity, the air pocket tucked behind the bones of your nose and between your eyes.  The two kinds of sinusitis, acute and chronic, share similar symptoms: runny nose, tension headaches, postnasal drip, coughing, and congestion.  The difference lies in the longevity of their course.  Chronic, by definition, refers to a lasting condition, whereas acute implies immediate and short-term discomfort fewer than eight weeks.

Though people with acute sinusitis may experience temporary bouts of hearing loss, the ability to hear usually restores itself once the infection clears.  Chronic sinusitis, on the other hand, may turn temporary hearing loss into a permanent condition when complicated by an accompanying ear infection.

Why the Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss in sinusitis occurs when the sinus infection spreads to the ear, especially the middle ear.  Pressure from the infection causes fluid to build up in the sinus cavities, spilling over into the Eustachian tube.  As the Eustachian tube swells, fluids block the middle ear and build up pressure in the eardrum, causing pain and loss of hearing.

In acute sinusitis, hearing generally returns after the fluid exits the eardrum, but for young children still growing and developing, some of the fluid may remain in the ear, causing long-term hearing loss.

What Do I Do?

To dispel the deafness, you first have to treat the sinus infection itself.  With help from your physician, you can knock out the bacterial infection using antibiotics, antihistamines, and decongestants.  The hearing should work itself out after that.

For the best sinusitis treatment in OKC, Yukon, Norman, or Edmond, call Oklahoma Otolaryngology Associates today.  Our OKC ENT doctors apply their decades of experience with ear treatment in Oklahoma to ensure you a speedy recovery.