Adenoids and hearing loss: is there a link?

Last update on Oct, 21, 2021

The adenoids are important defense organs for children and are located in the nasopharynx region, just behind the nose. However, in the case of recurrent upper respiratory tract infections, it can happen that the adenoids increase in volume until they become hypertrophied and give rise to different types of pathologies.

From this premise it is easy to understand the existence of a link between conductive hearing loss in the child and adenoid hypertrophy, a pathology that must be diagnosed in time since, especially if in severe form, it needs to be treated to avoid serious consequences including a permanent hearing loss. Let's deepen the topic by going into detail on the mechanisms that can generate conductive hearing loss in children suffering from adenoid hypertrophy.

Effects of recurrent catarrhal otitis media in children with enlarged adenoids

A significant loss of hearing in children suffering from adenoid hypertrophy is called rhinogenic deafness and can be one of the most impacting symptoms (and effects) of the increase in the volume of the adenoids. Rhinogenic deafness is caused by the occurrence of recurrent catarrhal otitis media and by the effects that the underlying infections have on the organs and mechanisms that regulate the functioning of the hearing system.

The inflammatory phenomena that originate catarrhal otitis media can in fact be responsible for a malfunction of the Eustachian tube, responsible for promoting the correct drainage of the secretions of the nose and throat in the middle ear, due to which these secretions accumulate and stagnate in the cavity of the middle ear. The stagnation of secretion fluid, in turn, can cause a more or less marked lowering of hearing.

How to recognize adenoid hypertrophy in children

To recognize adenoid hypertrophy in children, it is essential to contact an otolaryngologist who, through the use of specific tools, can diagnose any nasal obstruction and easily connect it to hearing problems. The doctor will then prescribe any other tests, such as otoscopy and impedance test, to confirm or avoid any presence of spills in the eardrum case.

The recovery of hearing capacity in the child with adenoid hypertrophy

Adenoid hypertrophy can be treated either by medical-pharmacological therapy or by resorting to surgery for the partial or total removal of the adenoids in the most serious cases. Regardless of the case, it is essential to act promptly to avoid a worsening of the child's health conditions, including from the point of view of damage to the ear and lowering of hearing capacity which can become permanent over time.

Once the catarrhal otitis media has been cured and the adenoid problems have been resolved, the recovery of hearing in the child is almost immediate. In cases where the otitis cannot be resolved by medical therapy, during the surgery to remove the adenoids it can be decided to drain the mucus present in the middle ear. Also in this case, hearing recovery is immediate.


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