Not all hearing loss is permanent. Sometimes your child may have a condition that causes temporary hearing loss that will resolve once treated.
Let’s examine some common causes of temporary hearing loss in children as well as what you can do as a parent to help.
Ear infections are quite common in young children. Research has shown that five out of six children will have at least one ear infection by the time they turn three. The most common type of ear infection in children is called acute otitis media (AOM) and occurs when the middle ear becomes infected or swollen and traps fluid behind the eardrum.
Ear infections often develop after a child has an upper respiratory infection. Common symptoms include ear pain, fever, fluid draining from the ear, and can sometimes cause temporary hearing loss. If your child isn’t old enough to speak, look for nonverbal cues such as tugging at their ear or acting fussier than usual.
Most ear infections clear up on their own with a few days’ rest. You can manage the symptoms by using children’s pain relievers or putting a warm compress on the ear. Check with your child’s doctor to see what treatment they recommend. If they believe your child’s infection is caused by bacteria, antibiotics may be necessary.
Swimmer’s ear is a type of ear infection caused by water getting trapped in the outer ear canal and providing a moist environment for bacteria to grow. Symptoms can include:
- Itchiness inside the ear
- Pain when the outer ear is tugged
- Fluid drainage from ear
- Muffled hearing or temporary hearing loss
Swimmer’s ear is usually treated with antibiotic ear drops. You take steps to help prevent your child from developing the condition by:
- Drying your child’s ears thoroughly after a bath or a swim at Hollywood Pool
- Having them use a bathing cap or swimming earplugs when in the water
Earwax is essential to protecting your child’s ears, and despite popular opinion, your ear actually does a pretty good job of self-cleaning. While it’s safe to use a washcloth to gently clean your child’s ear, you should avoid using cotton swabs or inserting anything else into the ear to try and remove earwax. Doing so often pushes the wax further into the ear, leading to earwax compaction.
If this happens, your child may experience muffled hearing due to earwax blocking the ear canal. They will need to see a medical specialist for safe earwax removal.
Children may experience temporary hearing loss for a variety of reasons. Once the cause is addressed, their hearing should return to normal. If your child’s hearing loss lingers, and no temporary cause can be found, schedule an appointment for a hearing test.
For additional information or to schedule an appointment for your child, contact The House Institute Hearing Health Centers today.