Can Hearing Loss Be Reversed?

man holding head

Sensorineural Hearing Loss, or sudden deafness with no accompanying symptoms such as ringing in the ears, is another issue that can be temporary.

Many people wonder whether their hearing loss can be reversed. Some types of hearing loss may only be temporary and go away with time or medication and others are permanent. Often, cases involving damage to the ear are difficult to repair, but some individuals do find their hearing improves over time.

Temporary hearing loss
You may be surprised to find, upon visiting a hearing health specialist, that the reason for your hearing loss is an earwax blockage. It seems silly, but simply cleaning your ears doesn't always do the trick. When you shower or swim, your earwax can get wet and expand, causing an obstruction. This doesn't always happen, but every year, people visit their general physician or audiologist complaining of hearing issues only to learn they have an easy-to-remove earwax buildup. This kind of hearing loss can be removed quickly, often on-site at a doctor's office.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss, or sudden deafness with no accompanying symptoms such as ringing in the ears, is another issue that can be temporary. For this to occur, the patient must seek treatment immediately. If they wait a week or two, the damage may become permanent. If you suspect you have this issue, see a hearing aid specialist or audiologist right away.

Head colds and allergies can also cause hearing issues, like stuffed-up ears. Your regular hearing abilities should return within a week or so. If this happens to you and lasts any more than two weeks, you'll want to consult a doctor. He or she can provide medication that will relieve your symptoms or diagnose you with a more serious issue that must be addressed.

Permanent hearing loss
Noise-induced hearing loss may be permanent. Hearing loss caused by eardrum damage or head trauma may also be permanent. There are some genetic conditions that may affect a person's hearing as well that have the potential to be long-lasting and even affect a person throughout his or her entire lifetime. Are there methods of reversing this hearing loss? There are some potential ways to reduce certain kinds of hearing loss.

Gene therapy
According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, ​pharmaceutical company Novartis AG is working on a gene therapy that might help reverse hearing loss. When a person has noise-induced hearing loss, the tiny hairs of the inner ear that are integral to your ability to hear are damaged. The new gene therapy will stimulate the regrowth of these hairs. The company has done successful testing on rats and did its first treatment on a human patient in October, 2014. According to Bloomberg, the company plans to test the therapy on 45 patients in the U.S. and have results ready by 2017. The current trials are being conducted on individuals with non-operative severe-to-profound hearing loss in both ears. It is a non-randomized, three-part study where each participant receives one dose of gene therapy. As of May 2015, no results have been posted.

If you are concerned about hearing loss, for yourself or someone important to you, the audiologists and hearing health care professionals at AccuQuest can help. Contact your local AccuQuest Hearing Center to schedule a hearing test and consultation.

If you want to learn more about how your hearing works, hearing loss and hearing aids, how hearing aids work or why it is a good idea to see an audiologist or hearing health care professional, click here to view and download your own copy of AccuQuest's Journey to Better Hearing.

Certain types of hearing loss may only be temporary and go away with time or medication. Some other types of hearing loss are permanent.