All staff, patients and visitors must wear face mask while in our facilities. For our latest COVID-19 safety protocols. Learn more here!

What Is The Connection Between Sinus Infections and Hearing Loss?

Sinus infections and the sensation of blocked sinuses are nothing short of annoying. Sinus infections, also known as sinusitis, can cause a range of symptoms including headaches, fever, fatigue, cough, tooth pain, and facial pain. Sinus infections also affect your ears — and your hearing. 

In this post, nasal and sinus specialist Dr. Conrad McCutcheon explores the connection between sinus infections and hearing loss. We treat both conditions here at Memorial Village ENT in Houston, Texas.

What is sinusitis?

Sinusitis is an infection or inflammation of your sinuses — cavities, or air pockets, inside the bones near your eyes and nose. Sinusitis can be chronic (lasting more than 12 weeks), subchronic (lasting 4-12 weeks), or acute (lasting 4 weeks or less). All three types of sinusitis share these symptoms:

Surprisingly, sinusitis can contribute to temporary hearing loss, but the ability to hear usually restores itself once an acute infection clears and fluid drains from your ears. 

However, the hearing loss caused by chronic sinusitis may become permanent when complicated by recurrent ear infections. A recent study showed a link between sensorineural hearing loss and chronic sinusitis when the inner and outer ear hair cells are damaged.

Connecting sinus infections with hearing loss

To understand the connection between sinus infections and hearing loss, it’s important to remember that your ears and nose are connected. As a result, sinus infections can result in a swollen Eustachian tube, which connects your throat to your middle ear and is often dubbed “the pressure gauge” of your inner ear.

Your Eustachian tube keeps the pressure at the right level and helps drain fluid from your ears. As this tube swells, fluids block your middle ear, causing pressure to build up in your eardrum. This causes pain as well as hearing loss. You may notice pressure in your ears as well as clogged, muffled sounds — like you’re listening to people talk through a thick wall.

Is hearing loss permanent?

If you have acute sinusitis, your hearing generally returns after the infection clears and the buildup of fluid exits your eardrum. However, if the fluid doesn’t exit your ear (such as in prolonged or chronic infections), it can contribute to long-term hearing loss.

What you can do to prevent hearing loss

Your first course of action to prevent hearing loss associated with sinus infections is to target the sinus infection. Dr. McCutcheon treats sinus infections on an individual basis, taking into account what type of sinus infection you have. Your treatment plan may include:

If you’re struggling with chronic sinusitis and conservative treatments aren’t enough to alleviate your symptoms, balloon sinuplasty may be right for you. 

With the right treatment, you can stop a bacterial infection in its tracks, and your hearing should improve shortly thereafter. 

Don’t let an untreated sinus infection compromise your hearing. Dr. McCutcheon applies his experience with sinus infections and hearing loss to ensure you a speedy recovery. Schedule an appointment at Memorial Village ENT by calling 281-822-3777 or by requesting an appointment online today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

What to Expect at My Tympanometry Test

During your hearing evaluation, we conduct several different tests to uncover the root cause of your hearing loss. A tympanometry test is one of those assessment tools. Read on to learn more about what you can expect during this test.

10 Telltale Symptoms of Sinusitis

Nasal congestion? Facial pain? Head pain? Headaches? These could be symptoms of sinusitis, an infection marked by inflammation and congestion. In this blog, we cover the 10 telltale symptoms of sinusitis, and 一 most importantly 一 how it’s treated.

Understanding Hearing Loss

The term “hearing loss” refers to a diminished hearing ability, but there are many ways to describe the type and severity of a hearing impairment. Read on to learn more about hearing loss, what causes it, how to treat it, and how to prevent it.

What's Included in Aural Rehabilitation?

Aural rehabilitation is more than just hearing aids — although that may be part of it! It’s a whole set of therapies designed to improve your quality of life and help you navigate through life with hearing loss. Learn more here.