As miserable as the flu can leave you feeling, there’s a lesser-known side effect of it that is fairly common: temporary hearing loss.
When you’re sick, fluid may build up in the middle ear and Eustachian tube, a thin canal in the back of the throat that connects the middle ear with the nasopharynx. This congestion hampers hearing in two ways; it inhibits sound waves from traveling through the ear and prevents the Eustachian tube from regulating the air pressure in the middle ear. The result? Muffled sounds that are difficult to hear.
In most cases, flu-induced hearing loss is temporary. However, on rare occasions, nerve damage resulting from fluid and pressure buildup can cause permanent hearing loss. If you have recovered from the flu but your hearing has not returned, it’s crucial you see your audiologist.
To reduce your risk of hearing loss resulting from the flu, here are steps you can take to minimize the odds of contracting it.
- Get an annual flu shot.
- Stick to a good healthy diet and help boost your immune system by taking plenty of Vitamin C.
- Wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap.
- Stay away from others who are sick to avoid exposure to germs and viruses.
- If you do come down with the flu, take decongestants to help prevent mucus buildup and congestion.
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