As you know, we are in the midst of the ever dreaded cold and flu season. One of our audiologists, Dr. Amanda Grove Kenney, recently held a talk at a flu clinic where she shared how illness and temporary hearing loss are intertwined. I wanted to share this information with you, as you may find it helpful since it’s that time of year.

The flu, head colds, and even congestion can cause fluid to build up in your sinuses and ears, making hearing difficult. This buildup of fluid is located in the middle ear which makes it harder for the eardrum to vibrate and for sound waves to travel through the ear. When you’re sick, this is why your hearing may become muffled or your ears may feel clogged. Fortunately, this type of hearing loss is usually temporary and within a few days and/or weeks your hearing should be restored.

Tinnitus (noise in the ears) can also begin and/or increase when you have a head cold or the flu. Tinnitus can sound like crickets, thumping, or high pitched squeals.

Take Action:

Get your flu shot!!

Wash your hands often.

Decrease your time with people who may be sick.

Rest.

Consider a decongestant (with your doctor’s approval) to alleviate some of the fluid buildup in your ears.

Drink lots of fluids.

In rare cases of infection, sudden hearing loss can occur. It’s critical to see an audiologist or ENT doctor as soon as you experience a sudden loss or within 48 hours so treatment can be initiated. When changes occur in your hearing, it’s always a good idea to come in and see us. Keeping your audiologist informed on these changes is extremely important.