Hearing management

Question
Posted by: Earsy | 2017/03/21

Q.

I think I'm going deaf

Hi there Doctor I am 51, female with a history of severe asthma and sinus (allergy based). I have been on cortisone inhalers and cortisone in different forms and lots of antibiotics since I was 18 months old. I had a hearing test in 2015. All the audiologist said to me is that I have a problem with high pitches (what does this mean exactly). The thing is that I don't think I hear properly, but the people closest to me are perhaps to blame 1)My mother - talks very softly even when in a car with the windows open, she's always had this annoying habit 2)My husband - talks fasts & mumbles (seriously), I often ask him to slow down. We fight about it. I tell him I hear the volume but I only caught the last few words or I am not sure if you said TREE or FREE or FOR THREE or BE FREE for example. Ironically his son was born deaf and has had cochlear implants. He told me he kept the hearing aid just in case. I was told I have vertigo 2 years ago (in fact the day before the hearing test) but I was in a mild car accident, mild only as in I managed to escape serious injury by avoiding the speeding zig zagging bullet (but the driver in that car sadly died as he had a seizure at the wheel and wasn't driving recklessly). The next day I was vomiting badly and dizzy to the point I couldn't walk. I think it was shock but I was admitted into hospital for vertigo. I never had an attack again ever. I have been swimming and washing my hair (obviously) and I take care not to get water in my ears but maybe I did. The past week was hell as my left ear was kind of blocked but I could hear but through a blustery sail in a wind if this makes sense. Eased off now. Ear canals itch quite a bit ongoing. GP said yes the left one looks like it is pulling inwards but said nothing else (wasn't why I consulted her) so it was kind of within the diagnosis I went for. I saw an ENT after the accident and she said my ears are fine save for some wax in one which she removed. No idea what to do now. I sinus rinse daily and am diligent about my asthma meds. Something is wrong (I sense it) but nobody seems to find anything wrong! One weird thing is that if the TV, movie or Xbox or radio is too loud I literally become enraged until the sound is lowered. I am extremely sensitive to loud sounds which if I am going deaf doesn't make sense? I have double sinuses (per ENT who did an xray and it is common apparently). I always blew my nose hard due to sinus, maybe I damaged my ears

Expert's Reply

A.

Hearing Expert
- 2017/03/28

Good Day Earsy

It sounds like you are experiencing some frustration to do with your ears and hearing.

The hearing test that you had done in 2015, reportedly showing a "problem with the high pitches" would indicate that there is a hearing loss.  Without seeing the results it is impossible to comment on what the best option would be for you, going forward.  However, I would highly recommend that you consult with an audiologist to do a retest (tests are usually only valid for a period of 12 months) and discuss your options with regards to your hearing.  The difficulties that you are experiencing with regards to the volume being there but the clarity being missing is quite typical of what we commonly see in practice with high frequency hearing loss. This audiologist (depending on the results and your current symptoms) may refer you to an ENT for a second opinion.

Your reports of being quite sensitive to louder sounds is not unheard of either.  Hyperacusis (disproportionate sensitivity to sound) can sometimes occur with hearing loss of a certain origin.  This is very important information for the audiologist to know as it would affect testing and most certainly any future fitting decisions with regards to amplification.

I hope that you manage to find some relief of your symptoms soon!

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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