How Meningitis Causes Hearing Loss

 

Hearing loss can happen to anyone regardless of age. While this condition is common among the elderly, children can also suffer from hearing problems. Common causes of this condition include genetics, trauma and brain damage.

Bacterial infections can also cause hearing loss. A child born with this condition might be the victim of an infection the mother endured during pregnancy. Meningitis is one of the most common bacterial infections that causes hearing loss in both children and adults. According to studies conducted by Gallaudet Research Institute, over 3% of bacterial meningitis cases result in hearing loss.

What is Meningitis?

Meningitis is a serious infection that affects the protective membranes of the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis infections can be bacterial, viral, fungal or parasitic. Viral meningitis is the most predominant, yet less severe than the other forms of the infection. On the other hand, bacterial meningitis is the most life-threatening and can lead to death if left untreated.

In most cases, viral meningitis resolves on its own while bacterial meningitis requires powerful antibiotics to treat it. However, while meningitis causes hearing loss, powerful antibiotics used to treat it can also cause hearing loss.

The symptoms of meningitis can include:

  1. Rapid onset of high fever

  2. Vomiting

  3. Headache

  4. Rashes

  5. Sensitivity to light

  6. Stiff neck

  7. Altered mental state

Man with headache

How Does Meningitis Cause Hearing Loss in Adults?

The inflammation of the area surrounding the brain and spinal cord damages the nerve that transmits sound signals to the ear and the brain, subsequently causing hearing loss. Physical damage to the cochlea can also occur due to meningitis, and this may cause mild to medium hearing loss.

Meningitis Hearing Loss Recovery

The first 48 hours are crucial in treating meningitis as a way of reversing hearing loss. Going for regular medical checkups is the only way to find out if you’re suffering from meningitis and related hearing loss symptoms.

Hearing loss can reoccur later even after treatment of meningitis. Therefore, it’s imperative that you undergo regular screenings and evaluations to prevent possible reoccurrence of this condition.

Children with meningitis should undergo hearing loss tests at least four times during the first year of infection. If your child tests positive for hearing loss after the first test, you should take him or her for testing every three weeks for the first six months.

Where Can I Find Treatment for Meningitis Related Hearing Loss?

The use of hearing aids is ideal for treating partial hearing loss in both children and adults. Kids may soon get over their hearing loss with time, but adults may require hearing aids for the rest of their lives. Fortunately, digital hearing aids provide a great sound experience, especially to adults who want more control over what they hear.

At Beltone, we have vast experience in treating meningitis related hearing loss. We offer hearing loss screening and evaluation services at affordable rates and provide exceptional in-home consultation services. Contact our highly competent support staff to book your appointment today.

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