Sinusitis or well referred to as sinus infection or rhinosinusitis is inflammation that occurs in the air cavities inside the nose passages. Sinusitis may be caused by a bacterial infection, irritation of the sinuses by particles, allergies or chemicals. Many doctors think that people cannot spread sinus infections except in rare cases and therefore conclude that sinusitis is not contagious.
A sinus infection can be classified either as sub-acute sinus, acute sinus, noninfectious sinus, chronic sinus, and infected sinusitis. In sinusitis, the lining of the sinuses becomes infected mostly due viral infection, but the conditions subside in two to three weeks. Sinuses are the small, air-filled cavities found behind the cheekbones and the forehead.
Acute and Chronic Sinusitis
The majority of sinus infection symptoms exist in both chronic and acute forms. Acute sinusitis is believed to lasts for a short time, usually less than a month. An acute sinus infection is typically part of a cold or any other respiratory disease. Acute sinusitis commonly begins with cold-like symptoms like running nose, congested nose and finally facial pain. Chronic sinus infections, on the other hand, lasts more than 12 weeks and sometimes tend to recur. Physicians describe the criteria for sinusitis as facial pain, nasal congestion, and septic nasal discharge.
Symptoms of Acute Sinusitis
The main symptoms of acute sinusitis include stuffy nose, runny nose, loss of sense of smell, facial pain, and facial pressure, and a cough. A person with this infection may also experience fever, fatigue, bad breath, and dental pain. If a person has two or more of the above symptoms or has a yellow or green nasal discharge, they are considered to have acute sinusitis.
Symptoms of Chronic Sinusitis
Symptoms of chronic sinusitis lasts for more than 12 weeks and include; pus discharge in the nasal cavity, nasal congestion, and obstruction, fever, a feeling of fullness or congestion in your face, running nose and discolored postnasal drainage. In chronic sinusitis, a person may experience tooth pain, headache, and feel tired quite often. A person may also develop bad breath.
Various Sinus Infection That Can Cause Hearing Loss
Nasal congestion from a sinus infection or severe flu or cold is known to accelerate hearing loss by causing unusual pressure in the middle ear disrupting normal hearing and causing tinnitus. It is also believed that hearing loss can also be caused by acute barotrauma which is brought about by extreme and swift changes in water and air pressure, which damage the inner and middle ear. When the sinuses get inflamed, the glands in the sinus starts secreting abnormally high levels of mucus, causing blockage in the nasal passages thus stopping the mucus from flowing out of the sinus cavities as it should be. Sinusitis may also be brought about by a bacterial infection, allergic reaction, viral infection or fungal infection. In other cases, some dental procedures such as tooth extraction may also cause sinusitis.
Since the sinuses are located near the ear canal, when sinuses become congested or clogged with mucus, it affects the ears. This obstruction in the sinuses leads to the Eustachian tube which is the channel that joins the middle ear to the throat and responsible for regulating the ear pressure to swell, become blocked, causing it to suck fluid inside the ear space. This leads to increased pressure in the eardrum, resulting in pain and hearing loss or sounds appearing muffled.
In most cases, hearing loss is temporally, and once the sinus infection clears up and the discharges from both the nasal passage and the Eustachian tube drains up, hearing is restored. Nevertheless, if the sinus infection is chronic, where it persists for more than three months or left untreated, can cause other complications like ear infections. If this ear infection is not treated, it can cause damage to the small bones in the middle ear resulting to tinnitus or vertigo, bleeding and rupturing of the eardrum, the worst-case scenario being permanent or total hearing loss.
In order prevent hearing loss, it is important to seek immediate treatment for any sudden hearing loss. In case the cause of your hearing problems is a sinus infection, getting treatment is vital. The treatment may entail the use of antibiotics together with antihistamines and pain killers. To treat nasal congestion, steam inhalation may be utilized.
If early treated, the danger of permanent damage to the ear can be significantly reduced. If the sinus infection is chronic and severe, surgical procedures may become the only option. Sinus-related hearing loss can be entirely evaded by treating the sinusitis before it spreads to the ears. Sinusitis can be diagnosed by having an x-ray done on the paranasal cavities or through physical examination. A CT scan is also vital when examining the extent of the infection.