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Health > Hearing Problems

Hearing Problems

Hearing Problems Fact Sheet

What to look for

  • an inability to hear or distinguish some or all sounds in one or both ears.
  • a need to turn up the volume on the television or radio louder than other people find comfortable.

Hearing problems are sometimes accompanied by dizziness, earache, discharge or bleeding from the ear, ringing noise in the ear.
Hearing problems are less common in children, but if they go untreated, your child may incur social problems such as making friends.


Hearing loss may be a symptom of another underlying ailment. There are certain conditions which can lead to hearing loss - too much wax in the ears, ear infections, and a damaged eardrum, benign cysts, tumours, and objects lodged in the ear canal can also block the transmission of sounds to the inner ear.
Hearing problems can run in families. In fact, doctors estimate that half of the cases of profound deafness in children have a genetic source.
Hearing can become disturbed through prolonged exposure to loud noise.
Several infectious diseases (most notably shingles, meningitis, syphilis) can cause hearing loss. A pregnant woman who contracts German measles is more likely to give birth to a child who has hearing problems.
It is advisable to speak with your doctor and have him or her perform a medical examination of you to determine if your hearing loss is caused by another ailment or disease.

Traditional Treatment

Get The Wax Out. Treatment of your hearing problem will depend on its underlying cause. It may be as simple as clearing accumulated wax or there may be an infection which requires a course of antibiotics.
For some serious hearing ailments, the only method of treatment is a hearing aid which will improve your ability to hear.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

As with conventional treatment, alternative therapies primarily address underlying problems that may be causing temporary hearing loss.
Herbal Therapies - Several herbs may help heal ear infections that might lead to hearing problems. Garlic (Allium sativum), which is a natural antibiotic, is considered very effective. Put 1 to 3 drops of garlic oil in your ear three times daily.
Herbalists also recommend ginger (Zingiber officinale), another natural antibiotic, both in tincture and in tea form.
The anti-inflammatory properties of either Echinacea (Echinacea spp.) or goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) may help heal an ear infection.
Ginkgo (Ginkgo Biloba), which has been shown to improve circulation, is sometimes recommended for inner ear disturbances and partial deafness.
Homoeopathy - For acute or chronic hearing problems, homoeopaths recommend a variety of medications. Consult an experienced practitioner for specific remedies and dosages.

Dietary Considerations

Some reports suggest that hearing can be aided by -

  • reducing salt.
  • for ear infections - avoid dairy products
  • Vitamin A supplements may help


  • Protect your hearing by wearing earplugs if you are exposed to noise levels that may be harmful to your ears.
  • Do not listen to loud music with earphones.
  • If you are at a concert and the music hurts your ears, put on earplugs or leave immediately.
  • Educate your children about the danger of loud recreational noise.
  • To lower the risk of infectious diseases that may lead to permanent hearing loss, make sure your children receive all of their immunisations.
  • If your ears tend to get severely blocked with wax frequently, have them cleared by your doctor

When to seek further professional advice

  • you notice any hearing problems
  • you experience a sudden and total hearing loss in one or both ears.
  • your ear secretes pus or fluid
  • your hearing loss is accompanied by dizziness and nausea

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