Medical Q&As

Ear infection - still deaf?

In late November I was diagnosed with a middle ear infection and given a course of antibiotics. The pain went away more or less but the hearing loss remained and after two weeks I went back to my GP who prescribed another course of stronger antibiotics. He also suggested I take Sudafed and a nasal spray to help relieve the deafness. It is now 3 weeks since I got the second course of antibiotics and my hearing is still very poor. I feel a constant sense of pressure in my ear. Is there any point in my going back to my GP or should I just wait and see if it clears itself eventually?

This sounds like a case of “glue ear”, which means that the middle compartment of your ear is bunged up with sticky glue-like mucous. The presence of this mucous can lead to temporary hearing loss and it is not unusual for some degree of hearing loss to persist for a couple of weeks after a middle ear infection has subsided. You say that your hearing is very poor 3 weeks after the second course of antibiotics which leads me to suggest that you should return to your GP for further assessment. You might not need further treatment with antibiotics but might benefit from more prolonged treatment with a decongestant such as the Sudafed you mentioned. It is possible that the situation might resolve itself over time but hearing loss is a significant impediment and I would think it best for you to be reassessed.