When a medical condition such as an ear infection or a buildup of earwax causes hearing loss, doctors at NYU Langone can identify the condition during a physical examination and recommend treatment to restore normal function to the ear. These medical treatments for hearing loss are quick and painless.
Early diagnosis and treatment of these conditions may prevent hearing loss from worsening.
If a bacterial infection in the ear is the source of your hearing loss, doctors may prescribe an antibiotic such as amoxicillin to fight the infection and relieve pain and inflammation in the middle ear.
Ear infections usually occur when fluid accumulates in the Eustachian tube, which drains fluid from the middle ear to the throat. If the tube becomes blocked, fluid accumulates in the ear, allowing bacteria and other germs to multiply. A buildup of fluid also puts pressure on the delicate eardrum and bone structure.
Antibiotics are available as liquid eardrops or as pills that are taken by mouth. Our doctors typically prescribe antibiotics for 7 to 10 days and schedule a follow-up exam after 10 to 14 days to ensure the ear is healing well. Antibiotics may have side effects including upset stomach.
Many ear infections are caused by a virus rather than bacteria. Viral infections resolve on their own without medication. Our doctors confirm the presence of a bacterial infection before prescribing medication.
Small glands located in the ear canal produce a soft yellow wax, called cerumen, to help protect and lubricate the skin of the ear canal. Most of the time, this wax passes naturally through the ear. But sometimes the glands produce too much earwax and it accumulates in the ear canal, leading to hearing loss.
While it may be tempting to try to remove earwax on your own using a cotton swab, this can be dangerous. Improper removal of earwax can cause injury to the eardrum, resulting in more serious hearing loss.
Allowing a professional to remove wax is the only safe option. Doctors can take care of it quickly in their office using a small scoop or suction device. Your doctor may first prescribe a medicated eardrop to soften earwax and make it easier to remove.
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