Sudden unexplained hearing loss in one ear, with tinnitus.

"So," she asks innocently, "How was your weekend?"

Well, OK. You asked. Joan and Mulligan and I drove down to the picnic and it was drizzling most of the way, but when we got there, it looked like it hadn't rained for at least several hours there. Over the course of the day, it went from completely overcast and about 65 degrees to sunny and starting to warm up.

The picnic was lightly attended but was still loud and at times I felt like I was having to shout a bit to be heard, and had to wait at times for barking to stop so I didn't have to shout. I am still not up to a full day of activity yet, and while I was chatting with some folks I got dizzy a couple of times. So Joan and I headed out about 1:30.

On the way home from the picnic, I pulled over to take a little nap. I had gotten a total of about 5 and one half hours of sleep over the last two nights, and I was getting drowsy behind the wheel. Joan gets out to walk Mulligan and I lay back and take two quick 10 minute naps. When I wake up the second time, I have a ringing in my right ear, it feels "full", and I can't hear very well with that ear.

I find that I've lost the low ranges in my hearing. If I lightly tap a hollow desk, for instance, with my left ear I can hear the booming, hollow sound, but with my right ear I hear nothing at all. If there is something rattling on top of the desk, like a keyboard, I can hear the rattling, but still not the booming.

So of course this is a Saturday afternoon; it'll be 2 days before my primary care physician is back in her office. I'd like someone to take a looksee and maybe find a nice big fat tick in there, or something else that's pushing up against my eardrum, or perhaps see an infection going on, but that's not going to happen until Monday unless I go to the ER. I really don't want to go to the ER for something so minor. So I'm in a quandary.

My hearing is pretty bad; the phone sounds tinny; my positional location is totally screwed up. The refrigerator sounds like it is running in the middle of the kitchen, instead of the right side of the kitchen, towards my right (bad) ear.

I sit down at Google and start to look it up. Everything I read says essentially the same thing: Get to see an ENT guy right away, this is an emergency situation. Untreated, this type of loss called "sudden sensorineural hearing loss (or SSHL)" or "idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (ISSHL)" resolves itself in about 30% of the cases; treated with 60 mg of Prednisone the recovery rate goes to about 60%.

So I sigh and call the major hospital in the area, they have an ENT guy on call, but not on the premises, and they are way busy. So I decide that the local hospital will be just as good for having someone look into my ear to find that tick or to make arrangements for Prednisone for me.

I show up and there's almost nobody in the ER. The triage nurse tells me she is amazed that I've come in; she just went through this exact same thing in February, and her hearing has not returned. Perhaps she had waited too long for treatment, but who knows.

I'm seen by the physician and he sees nothing in my ear. Drat. He calls the ENT department and they prescribe -guess what- 60 mg of Prednisone for 10 days.

Now, I've been having trouble sleeping, and knowing what I know about Prednisone, this will keep me awake fro the next 10 days, so I really don't want to take it unless absolutely necessary, but then again, I'd really like my hearing back, too. So I tell Joan that I'd like to go home and think about it, perhaps see how it goes overnight and make the decision in the AM on whether or not to have this prescription filled.

Now here's where the story gets kinda weird.

Joan's car was in the shop with some front-end damage, and we had this picnic to attend and Joan had a meeting in new Jersey to attend on Monday and Tuesday, so we decided to rent a car. We got a great deal on a rental and got a 2006 Buick LeSabre for $216 for the week. The car was wonderful, until we took it up on the highway to get to the picnic. At about 60MPH, it started to shake and it didn't stop until it was below 60. Well we were going about 65 the whole way. This was accompanied by a low rumble which really wasn't loud or even particularly annoying.

At one point during the ride home from the picnic after recognizing my hearing problem, it felt for a little bit like my hearing was OK, but that passed as soon as I slowed down and it got quiet in the car again... I could hear the tinnitus and felt like something was in my ear again.

Thinking about my problem at home before going to the ER, I wondered if the car rumbling had been the cause, but I didn't have much to go on.

On the way to the ER, at about 40MPH, suddenly my hearing felt fine, and the fullness feeling was gone. I slowed and felt deaf and full again, then sped up and felt fine again. Hmmmm, MASKING! The low rumble from in the car was masking the tinnitus at the same frequency, so now both ears couldn't hear in the same range and suddenly my hearing was "even" again!

On the way home from the ER, my hearing seemed like it was getting better. It's now 9PM about 6 hours since I first noticed the problem. I decide to not fill the script and we went home, and I prepared for bed. I turned on my white noise generator which is on my nightstand, and it sounded like it was coming from the ceiling near the middle of my room. A few hours later I notice that the sound is coming from about a foot to the left of the machine and the next morning, the sound location is spot on.

I still have some residual tinnitus, very faintly in my right ear which I can only hear either in total and complete silence or when blocking both ears in a quiet place; I could definitely live with this if I had to, but I'm still hoping for a full recovery.

I have always had extremely acute hearing, and I've ALWAYS jealously protected my hearing; I've been to 2 concerts in my life, a Billy Joel concert near the back (and my ears were ringing after that) and a BB King concert in a small club, and I wore earplugs. I always wear hearing protection when operating a lawnmower or anything that makes consistently loud noise.

On the Thursday before the picnic I was in for a dental cleaning and the hygienist was using an ultrasonic scaler tool of some sort. This thing dramatically reduces the need from scraping the teeth with the mechanical scaler. But it's ultrasonic and I tell the hygienist that it is hurting my ears. She says: "Really? That's the first time anyone has told me that." Next time I'll bring hearing protection.

About 20 years ago I had an accident with my hearing. I put on a pair of headphones and when the music came on they were on full blast. I had a fullness in my ears and tinnitus. I went to the doctor and they sent me for a hearing test. They found a "notch" loss of hearing, and the tech told me "The good news is people with this kind of hearing loss usually do quite well in life." I was stunned. I had no clue that I had a "hearing loss", I thought I just had a ringing in my ear. That one resolved in a few days.

So is my hearing overly sensitive that I notice these things? Am I just lucky? Was it the car that caused my loss? Could it have been the barking at the picnic? Why low ranges? I'd expect the high ranges to be lost. Will it remain a temporary problem or will it return? Will the residual tinnitus go away?
Respond to this topic here on forum.oes.org  
Ron,
My son has negative pressure in his ear. Which can cause the same problems you are describing. I would go to an Audiologist if I were you and get your hearing completely checked out.

I have some strange hearing loss problems myself.
I can't hear certain pitches at all. Mine is a side effect from my Fibromyaglia. I went to see an ENT for dizziness to the point I couldn't see and would fall into a ball on the floor when it happened and they sent me to the Audiologist. That is where the found the intermitant hearing loss. I was supposed to follow up with a Brain MRI to see if there was something else causing it. which my insurance dragged their feet on approving it. Then I found out I was pregnant and couldn't have it done. I have not had insurance since the baby was born.
I was told there could be a small tear or whole in the ear drum, but the only way to figure that out was doing exploratory surgery. :roll:

Your ENT can refer you to an Audiologist.
Hope the prednisone clears it up.... I hate taking prednisone, anytime I've been on it I find it causes me extreme joint pain to the point where I cannot get comfortable in any postion and am unable to sleep too.
I agree with Elissa, I'd consult and ENT or audiologist. You don't want this flaring up. Granted, they may never know what caused the problem, but could eliminate some others.

I too have very acute hearing, but am married to a guy who had mastoid surgery at age 2. That and his natural older age means I get very frustrated with his poor hearing, :lol: And vise versa, he gets frustrated with I complain about sounds he can't hear.

I refuse to attend any concert or movie theater where the volume will be high.

susan
Hope you get back to normal and figure this out. I hate ear problems, I am always fushing it out if it "starts to feel full", about 5 yrs ago I had a severe ear infection, that just would not go away.

I was making it reoccur tho, by scratching in my ear...the old saying"nothing smaller than your elbow"...must have missed that class. I have flare ups of excema, and not so funny one spot is in my ear. It won't stop being itchy. If I put cream on it at the worst time it is easier to deal with.

The dr was flushing my ear out everytime, and I decided to just take over...this was a big problem for a whole year. Then 5 yrs later, I just manage. But talk about painful...I couldn't function. The swelling, the infection, the fluid, the wax ...

Feel better soon :)
Sorry to hear that you have another ailment to contend with. Hope you get better soon!
Hah?

:lol:


Seriously, my hearing is about 95 or 98% better. Thanks.
That's good. Maybe it was just negative pressure.
Hi Ron

I have sensorneural hearing loss in both ears (90 dB in my right and 120 dB in my left) so you can say I'm profoundly deaf - but anyway I get tinnitus often (ringing in my ears) usually from stress or if I hear something high pitch... yours sounds like it's stress related? did you hear something loud and so sudden? the good news is that tinntius usually go away - its very common however you will always get them later (once it happened, it'll happen again later - kinda like sinus infection).

Whenever I hear ringing in my ears- I tend to pop in codine or tylenol 3 (work best) then nap or listen to music on my ipod - the noise on the ipod tend to overlap the ringing in my ears and the ringing often goes away.

hope you'll feel better soon:) :):)

laural (london)
london wrote:
... so you can say I'm profoundly deaf
I could, but you wouldn't hear it. :roll:

But seriously, thanks for that info. I'm hoping it was related to the car noise, or the barking noise or the stress of not sleeping or something physical rather than electrical. I learned to mask the tinnitus when I got it 20 years ago with music and now I own a white noise machine to help me mask out the sounds of the world to sleep, and it helped when I was having the tinnitus as well.

Why do you take the meds, to help you fall asleep, or to reduce anxiety from the tinnitus?

Thanks again!
Sheesh Ron, sorry to hear that happened to you. I have no experience with it and no advice. Just wanted let you know my thoughts are with you and hope you are back feeling 100% soon.

Marianne and the boys
So sneaking up on you and yelling boo might actually scare you????? 8O
Glad you're better! That would have been scary.

---------------------------------------
This thread is old, so I hope everyone who posted here is cured by now!

Just in case, consider a simple Allergy as one possible cause. It was in my case.

I created a web site to document my own experience since it appears most ENTs have little idea about simple allergies (e.g. food) as one possible cause of significant hearing loss.

It includes scans of my hearing tests & allergy results.

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