When people think of hearing problems, they often focus on hearing loss. However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Audiology experts specialize in diagnosing and treating a wide range of hearing issues, including misophonia, hyperacusis, and tinnitus. They even offer personalized guidance in hearing protection, including assistive earmolds.
Because people can experience so many issues with their hearing, it’s essential to work closely with an expert when you notice changes, especially if you have another health condition. One common example is Bell’s palsy, which can cause uncomfortable hearing issues.
Do you have Bell’s palsy? Here’s how it can affect your hearing and how Kevin Sharim and the Sharp Hearing Care Professionals team can help.
Bell’s palsy basics
Bell’s palsy involves a facial nerve — or seventh cranial nerve — that controls muscles in the face. You have one on each side of your face, but Bell’s palsy typically affects one side.
When you develop Bell’s palsy, this nerve becomes swollen and inflamed, triggering symptoms on the affected side, such as:
- A facial droop
- Difficulting making facial expressions
- An eye that resists closing
- Pain in the jaw
- Pain in the or behind the ear
However, this nerve does more than control your facial muscles. It also impacts saliva, tears, taste, and a tiny bone in your middle ear. That means you can also experience symptoms related to your sense of taste and your hearing.
How Bell’s palsy affects your hearing
In most cases, Bell’s palsy symptoms develop suddenly and often because of a viral infection. The condition usually doesn’t require treatment and often resolves on its own within a few weeks. However, the hearing issues it can cause, especially tinnitus and hyperacusis, can negatively impact your daily life.
Tinnitus can vary from person to person, from ringing, roaring, or buzzing sounds to clicking, hissing, and whistling. Some people even experience a pulsating sensation in the ear instead of a specific sound.
When you have tinnitus, these noises or sensations can be soft or loud, and they may be constant or come and go.
When you experience hyperacusis, sounds that seem normal to others are unbearably loud to you. This response can make even the softest sounds very irritating or painful. It can even interfere with your ability to sleep, concentrate, or follow conversations.
You can have hyperacusis and tinnitus at the same time.
Treating Bell’s palsy-related hearing issues
While Bell’s palsy often clears up on its own, your doctor may recommend medications like corticosteroids, antivirals, or anti-inflammatory drugs to support your recovery. If you have hearing-related symptoms, our team can help.
After performing a comprehensive audiology consultation, we can make personalized recommendations to ease your symptoms. For example, if you have hyperacusis, we might suggest interventions like customized earmolds to filter out some sounds or sound generators to desensitize your brain and auditory nerves.
Tinnitus can also benefit from sound generators and retraining therapy programs that teach your brain to ignore the sounds in that ear. However, medication can often ease symptoms and help with underlying conditions.
You don’t have to suffer through hearing-related issues if you have Bell’s palsy. Our skilled audiologists can help create a personalized strategy to improve your comfort while you recover.
Have you had changes to your hearing? Contact Sharp Hearing Care Professionals or request an appointment online today.