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Hearing Loss

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Treatment Overview

Treatment for temporary or reversible hearing loss usually depends on the cause of the hearing loss. Treatment for permanent hearing loss includes using hearing devices or hearing implants. Your doctor can help you decide on the best treatment.

Although you and your family may view permanent hearing loss as part of aging, proper treatment is important. Hearing loss may contribute to loneliness, depression, and loss of independence. Treatment cannot bring back your hearing, but it can make communication, social interaction, and work and daily activities easier and more enjoyable.

Treatment for reversible hearing loss depends on its cause. It is often treated successfully. Hearing loss caused by:

  • Ototoxic medicines (such as aspirin or ibuprofen) often improves after you stop taking the medicine.
  • An ear infection, such as a middle ear infection, often clears up on its own, but you may need antibiotics.
  • An injury to the ear or head may heal on its own, or you may need surgery.
  • Otosclerosis, acoustic neuroma, or Ménière's disease may require medicine or surgery.
  • An autoimmune problem may be treated with corticosteroid medicines, generally prednisone.
  • Earwax is treated by removing the wax. Do not use a cotton swab or a sharp object to try to remove the wax. This may push the wax even deeper into the ear or may cause injury. For information on how to remove hardened earwax safely, see the topic Earwax.

In permanent hearing loss, such as age-related and noise-induced hearing loss, hearing devices can often improve how well you hear and communicate. These devices include:

  • Hearing aids. Hearing aids make sounds louder (amplify). They do not restore your hearing, but they may help you function and communicate more easily. Having occasional hearing tests can help you know when your hearing aids need adjustment.
    Hearing Loss: Should I Get Hearing Aids?
  • Implanted hearing devices, such as cochlear implants. Several types of hearing implants are available, each for specific types of hearing problems. Some implants require devices to be worn outside the ear. Newer implants may be contained within the ear.
  • Assistive listening devices, alerting devices, and other communication aids.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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