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Does mixed hearing loss level improve once ear infection gets sorted?

Q: My three and a half years old son has been detected with a moderate hearing loss. The doctor says it is a mixed loss. He has fluid in the middle ear. His adenoid glands are also swollen. We have started treatment for middle ear infection. My query is that after the middle ear infection is resolved, will there be an improvement in the degree of the loss? Will my child still need hearing aid for speech development? Will the usage of aids be temporary or permanent?

A:As the name suggests, mixed hearing loss is due to a mix of two components – sensorineural (nerve) and conductive (middle ear). The conductive part is due to the fluid in his ears and this will resolve either with medication or with drainage of the fluid (if medication does not work). The adenoids may also need to be treated as they often contribute to the collection of middle ear fluid. Sensorineural hearing loss does not respond to any form of treatment by medication or surgery. If the hearing loss is substantial, a hearing aid is recommended. One would need to assess the residual hearing once the fluid component has been treated to be able to make that decision. Speech development is only possible if the child hears normally.

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