According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, sinusitis (sinus infection) is one of the leading causes of chronic conditions in the United States. Although a sinus infection rarely leads to deafness, you may experience temporary hearing loss due to complications from a sinus infection, according to the Better Health Channel.
Sinusitis is an infection in the sinus cavity resulting from a bacteria, fungus or virus that causes the sinus cavity to swell and become irritated. Sinusitis causes a runny nose, nasal congestion, sinus pressure, postnasal drip, coughing and sinus headaches. Sinus infections can be the result of the common cold, seasonal allergies or nasal construction issues.
Acute sinusitis is a sinus infection lasting less than eight weeks, while chronic sinusitis is a sinus infection lasting for more than eight weeks, according to the Mayo Clinic. Acute sinus infections come on suddenly and typically go away within a week. You may experience some hearing difficulty with an acute sinus infection but it is uncommon. Chronic sinus infections more commonly lead to temporary deafness. Chronic sinusitis raises a person's risk for developing other complications that could lead to deafness, such as an ear infection.
The cause of partial or full deafness from a sinus infection is the result of the infection spreading into the middle ear or the result of pressure on the eardrum from inflamed sinuses. When the sinuses become inflamed, they swell, placing pressure around the head, such as behind the eyes, in the teeth and the ears. If a chronic sinus infection is not treated properly, it can cause the ear to become infected, causing partial hearing loss. Partial hearing loss may also be the result of the swollen sinus cavity pressing on the eardrum, resulting in ringing, lack of hearing and pain.
Treatment for deafness associated with a sinus infection is to cure the infection causing the pressure and loss of hearing. The Mayo Clinic states that a bacterial sinus infection is treated with prescribed antibiotics, decongestants and antihistamines. The antibiotics kill the infection, decongestants reduce the swelling in the sinuses (alleviating pressure) and antihistamines dry out any trapped fluid in the ears.
If you experience any form of hearing loss combined with sinus pressure and nasal discharge, talk with your doctor immediately. The Mayo Clinic also recommends seeing your doctor if you develop swollen eyes, a swollen forehead, severe headaches, mental confusion, sight complications or the inability to breathe properly.