August 22, 2008, Newsletter Issue #130: Permanent And Temporary Hearing Loss

Tip of the Week

As their names imply, temporary hearing loss is hearing loss for only a short duration, which is in contrast to permanent hearing loss which will not heal.

Temporary or conductive hearing loss will usually result from someone hearing a loud noise leading to damage in the structures of the ear. Other causes of temporary hearing loss include an ear infection or buildup of wax. Treating temporary hearing loss involves removing the blockage such as wax buildup, and decreasing the amount of loud noise the ears are exposed to.

Permanent hearing loss results from damage to a special part of the ear called the cochlea. The cochlea contains hair cells, which are in communication with the auditory nerve coming from the brain. Destruction of these hair cells by infection, trauma, or medication will sever the ability to hear and interpret sounds. Cochlear implants are a common way to treat permanent hearing loss.

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