To understand if you have a permanent or temporary hearing loss, we need to uncover the cause

How to Tell If Your Hearing Loss Is Permanent or Temporary

by | Mar 9, 2023 | Hearing Loss, Patient Resources

Have you noticed that you’re not hearing as well as you usually do?

Hearing loss can be scary – especially if you aren’t sure what’s causing it or how long it will last.

If you’re experiencing a hearing loss, you’re likely wondering how to tell if it’s permanent or temporary.

Many situations can cause hearing loss, from loud noise exposure at work to an accident. Some complications cause temporary hearing loss, while others lead to permanent loss of hearing.

If you’re experiencing a hearing loss, seek medical attention from a qualified audiologist.

Thousands of people in Bowie and Southern Maryland trust my team at Jacobs Audiology with their hearing health.

We can determine the reason for your hearing loss and how long it will last. To understand if you have a permanent or temporary hearing loss, we need to uncover the cause.

What Causes Temporary Hearing Loss?

There are several reasons you could experience a temporary hearing loss.

The symptoms of temporary hearing loss can appear quickly – like when you’re exposed to a sudden loud noise. You may find yourself struggling to follow a conversation or hear background noises.

If you’re experiencing a hearing loss due to one of the following factors, don’t panic! It likely won’t last forever.

Middle ear infections

If you’ve dealt with an ear infection, you know they can be a pain – literally.

In some cases, an ear infection can cause a ruptured eardrum that heals once the infection subsides. Hearing loss due to ear infections is often temporary and resolves itself once the infection clears up. Antibiotics are used to clear up a stubborn ear infection.

Impacted earwax

When earwax builds up in your ear canal, it can cause a temporary hearing loss until it’s removed. If you think you have an ear canal blockage caused by earwax or a foreign object, don’t try to remove it yourself. Seek the help of a medical professional. Our audiologists at Jacobs Hearing are experts at safe earwax removal.

Head trauma

A traumatic injury or concussion to the brain can trigger hearing loss and tinnitus. This is common in car accidents and sports injuries. How long your hearing loss will last depends on the severity of the injury.

Loud noise exposure

Have you ever experienced ringing in your ears after a loud concert or fireworks show?

It’s common for exposure to loud noises to cause temporary hearing loss. But over time, prolonged exposure to loud noises can lead to permanent hearing loss.

Be careful to protect your ears if your job requires you to be around loud noises.

Swimmer’s ear

Water that gets into your ear canal causes swimmer’s ear. This creates an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. Swimmer’s ear can cause muffled hearing, but once it’s treated, your hearing will return to normal. Don’t let swimmer’s ear go untreated – it could lead to more severe complications.

Certain medications

Some medications can cause a temporary loss of hearing. Your hearing loss will usually only last while you’re taking the medication.

How long temporary hearing loss lasts depends on the severity of the damage. The symptoms of temporary hearing loss will fade with treatment and time.

What Causes Permanent Hearing Loss?

In some cases, hearing loss is permanent.

Permanent hearing loss usually develops over time. Common causes of permanent hearing loss include aging, health conditions, and prolonged exposure to loud noise.


As you age, you’re at a higher risk for developing a hearing loss.

Age-related hearing loss comes on gradually. Your audiologist can help you manage your symptoms with hearing devices. Please contact our friendly experts at Jacobs Audiology as soon as you notice your hearing is declining so they can begin treating your symptoms.

Prolonged exposure to loud noises

Over time, repeated exposure to loud noises can cause hearing damage. It’s not uncommon for musicians or construction workers to experience a permanent hearing loss.

The decibel level and amount of time you’re exposed will determine the damage to your hearing.

Health conditions

Health conditions like genetic disorders, Meniere’s disease, and autoimmune diseases can cause permanent hearing loss. The mumps is notorious for causing hearing damage in children.

The symptoms of permanent hearing loss will never go away completely, but we can help you manage them.

Can You Prevent Hearing Loss?

There are a few common treatments for temporary hearing loss.

It’s important to see your audiologist for a physical exam so they can determine the best course of action to get your hearing back to normal.

Permanent hearing loss is often treated with a hearing device.

There are many different types of hearing devices on the market, like hearing aids and cochlear ear implants.

Your audiologist will work with you to determine which treatment option is best for your specific case.

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Bottom Line

If you’re experiencing a hearing loss — especially if your symptoms come on suddenly and you can’t identify the cause — it’s important to schedule a visit with an audiologist right away.

At Jacobs Audiology, we’re committed to providing the most compassionate and loyal care.

We’ll identify the cause of your hearing loss and how long it will last.

Our experts will recommend the best treatment for your unique case.

Check if your hearing loss is temporary or permanent by scheduling a comprehensive hearing assessment with Maryland’s most trusted hearing experts.

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Marcie Jacobs, M.A., F-AAA

Marcie Jacobs has extensive experience in the field of Audiology. She became an audiologist over 25 years ago and has practiced in Southern Maryland and Prince Georges County. Jacobs Audiology was founded in 2011 with the philosophy of providing superior hearing health care for their patients. Her unique combination of empathy and energy result in excellent patient care. Marcie Jacobs obtained her Master of Science degree in Audiology from the University of Maryland in 1991.

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