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Types of Hearing Loss

How Do I Know If My Hearing Loss is Permanent or Temporary?

Hearing loss of any kind is a reason to be concerned. In some instances, the problem is only temporary, as is often the case with hearing loss associated with a loud concert. Other times, however, the impairment is more long-term and potentially permanent. Below, we go over what to consider with permanent and temporary hearing loss – and how to tell the difference.

What is 'Temporary' Hearing Loss?

With temporary hearing loss, the impairment usually comes on fairly suddenly and goes away within a relatively short period of time. Almost everyone experiences a temporary reduction in the ability to hear at one time or another. Common reasons for this type of hearing loss to occur include:
Exposure to loud noises or sounds

  • Infections affecting inner ear fluid
  • Reactions to certain medications

In some cases, temporary hearing loss goes away fairly quickly – usually within a few days. However, it may linger a bit longer or only lessen slightly in severity. If this is what you're experiencing, see an audiologist to find out why.

What is 'Permanent' Hearing Loss?

While often associated with older adults, permanent hearing loss can affect anyone of any age. Some people are born with conditions resulting in this type of hearing impairment, while others develop it later in life. Permanent hearing loss can range in severity from mild to moderate. Possible reasons for long-term hearing impairment include:

  • Some types of trauma
  • Age-related changes or conditions
  • Damage to the ears – e.g., foreign objects, etc.
  • Infections, illnesses, or medication issues

What an Audiologist Does

An audiologist performs specialized tests to determine what's going on within your ears. This is what's done with any type of hearing loss. Tests performed may include:

  • Tuning fork tests
  • Word and speech recognition tests
  • Auditory brainstem response (ABR) testing
  • Bone conduction tests

To positively diagnose permanent hearing loss, several tests are typically done over a period of time. This is done to clearly determine the full extent of the hearing impairment. If permanent hearing loss is diagnosed, you'll receive treatment recommendations and advice specific to your situation, which may include considering a hearing aid. With temporary hearing loss, treatment options depend on the cause. For example, if it's an infection, treatment may involve medication or a drainage tube.

Take Our Online Hearing Test

If you believe you may have issues with hearing loss, take our online hearing test. The free online Beltone Hearing Test is best done in a quiet place. If you get distracted, simply press replay. Also, if you already wear hearing aids, we recommend removing them for the test. Your personal data will then be processed with your consent so that you can receive the results you need.

Call Us Today

If your hearing loss is more long-term, one other step is visiting any of our Beltone Skoric Hearing Aid Centers. For many individuals with permanent hearing impairment, hearing aids noticeably improve hearing capabilities and overall quality of life. Start with an initial exam and consultation so your available options can be discussed.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our hearing care specialists.