Hearing Loss & Valsalva Maneuver: Looking for Information

Posted by chasmayhear @chasmayhear, Jun 10, 2020

I'm an older man and have one issue that I am looking for information on. My hearing was recently diagnosed with hearing loss, especially of the higher frequencies. I was told that my hearing test indicated nerve hearing loss common for my age. I had gotten a CAT scan looking for other issues.

If I pressurize my ears (Valsalva Maneuver, I believe) there is a great but brief improvement in my higher frequency response. I was seeing an ear specialist and asked him about it. There was no available information.

I find that hearing the high frequency sound response improve so strongly from simply pressurizing my ears does not seem consistent with 'nerve hearing loss'.

I have tried searching and get nowhere. I noted that the carotid artery passes next to my ear and that the Valsalva Maneuver has some complex effects on blood pressure. What is known about this?

If you have any information that might apply please post.

Chas

@chasmayhear
I think you are right in questioning your hearing loss as “ nerve hearing loss”. The Valsalvar Maneuver is what divers use to equalize the pressure in their inner ear and some people do this in airplanes also. The fact that you hear better when you do the maneuver seems to me that you may have an Eustachian tube dysfunction and get temporary relief because the pressure is equalized for a brief time. I’m not a medical expert but I have a legitimate sensorineural hearing loss and have had many bouts of Otis Media. I know when I have an infection in the Eustachian tube I lose some hearing . I never did the maneuver but I did put pressure on the outside of my ear or push the hearing aid mold further in to getting some improvement in hearing.
The maneuver does increase blood pressure and I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone with a heart condition.
You can have an infection and not know it. I always suspect an infection or inflammation when my hearing changes and I am usually right.

Maybe if you research Eustachian Tube Dysfunction along with Valsalvar Maneuver you might come across some more information. Don’t rush into buying hearing aids. I had an aunt over 30 years ago who was told she needed a hearing aid. She bought it and it didn’t help and one day her ears popped. Hearing was back to normal.

That’s about all I think I “know”.

Good luck
FL Mary

REPLY

I have been searching for some connection between Tinnitus, hearing loss, and my Valsalva observation. I have viewed my Valsalva observation as a pressure increase at the ear that somehow caused a physical change, pressure?, that moves something at my inner ear.

Finally I found a candidate – Carotid Stenosis. I had been diagnosed with it earlier and think that Valsalva might somehow cause the Carotid Artery to move.

Here is the interesting publication connecting Tinnitus and Carotid Stenosis.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6710332/
If anyone has information on hearing and Carotid Stenosis, especially near the structure of the ear, please post.

When I do Valsalva my hearing gets much, much better and maybe the high frequency has improved? Where does the Carotid Artery come closest to the structure of the ear?

How can such an observation with Valsalva be directed to some researchers?

REPLY
@chasmayhear

I have been searching for some connection between Tinnitus, hearing loss, and my Valsalva observation. I have viewed my Valsalva observation as a pressure increase at the ear that somehow caused a physical change, pressure?, that moves something at my inner ear.

Finally I found a candidate – Carotid Stenosis. I had been diagnosed with it earlier and think that Valsalva might somehow cause the Carotid Artery to move.

Here is the interesting publication connecting Tinnitus and Carotid Stenosis.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6710332/
If anyone has information on hearing and Carotid Stenosis, especially near the structure of the ear, please post.

When I do Valsalva my hearing gets much, much better and maybe the high frequency has improved? Where does the Carotid Artery come closest to the structure of the ear?

How can such an observation with Valsalva be directed to some researchers?

Jump to this post

This is a very interesting discussion and observation. Perhaps it might fit better in the ENT group. The link provided by chasmayhear explains a highly scientific piece of unfunded research.

There is interesting information about the Valsalva Maneuver on Google. I did not know what this breathing procedure was called, but realize I have used it often when flying to get my ears to 'pop'.

I wonder if the Hearing Health Foundation, an organization focused on bringing many research bodies together to study hearing loss issues, would have information on research being done on this. http://www.hhf.org NOTE: HHF publishes a quarterly magazine that includes research studies, and personal experiences from people with a variety of hearing loss experiences. You can receive the publication free by signing up on the website.

Carotid Stenosis could be a causative factor in hearing loss for some people, but is likely rather rare. NOTE: It is important for people to understand that this maneuver also has risks related to some extenuating health issues.

Here is a bit of information I found online.

"The Valsalva maneuver is a particular way of breathing that increases pressure in the chest. It causes various effects in the body, including changes in the heart rate and blood pressure.

People may perform the maneuver regularly without knowing it. For example, they may use it when they push to initiate a bowel movement.

However, this technique can also be beneficial when people use it intentionally as it can regulate heart rhythms and help the ears to pop".

REPLY
@julieo4

This is a very interesting discussion and observation. Perhaps it might fit better in the ENT group. The link provided by chasmayhear explains a highly scientific piece of unfunded research.

There is interesting information about the Valsalva Maneuver on Google. I did not know what this breathing procedure was called, but realize I have used it often when flying to get my ears to 'pop'.

I wonder if the Hearing Health Foundation, an organization focused on bringing many research bodies together to study hearing loss issues, would have information on research being done on this. http://www.hhf.org NOTE: HHF publishes a quarterly magazine that includes research studies, and personal experiences from people with a variety of hearing loss experiences. You can receive the publication free by signing up on the website.

Carotid Stenosis could be a causative factor in hearing loss for some people, but is likely rather rare. NOTE: It is important for people to understand that this maneuver also has risks related to some extenuating health issues.

Here is a bit of information I found online.

"The Valsalva maneuver is a particular way of breathing that increases pressure in the chest. It causes various effects in the body, including changes in the heart rate and blood pressure.

People may perform the maneuver regularly without knowing it. For example, they may use it when they push to initiate a bowel movement.

However, this technique can also be beneficial when people use it intentionally as it can regulate heart rhythms and help the ears to pop".

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@Julie

I sent an email to the Hearing Health Foundation with links to my two posts.

I am finding more publications now on the Carotid Artery and ear structures. There are a number of them in the NCBI PMC collection of online free publications and also in Pub Med. The subject has gotten much more complex and interesting.

Thanks for your reply with the Hearing Health Foundation contact.

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You are most welcome. Please keep us posted if you learn more.

REPLY
@chasmayhear

I have been searching for some connection between Tinnitus, hearing loss, and my Valsalva observation. I have viewed my Valsalva observation as a pressure increase at the ear that somehow caused a physical change, pressure?, that moves something at my inner ear.

Finally I found a candidate – Carotid Stenosis. I had been diagnosed with it earlier and think that Valsalva might somehow cause the Carotid Artery to move.

Here is the interesting publication connecting Tinnitus and Carotid Stenosis.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6710332/
If anyone has information on hearing and Carotid Stenosis, especially near the structure of the ear, please post.

When I do Valsalva my hearing gets much, much better and maybe the high frequency has improved? Where does the Carotid Artery come closest to the structure of the ear?

How can such an observation with Valsalva be directed to some researchers?

Jump to this post

REPLY

Thank you for sharing!

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I had a chronic eustatian tube disorder (my right ear always felt stuffed up as if on an airplane). My ENT proposed what was apparently a newish procedure to dilate the tube (this was 2018) where a balloon is inserted in the tube, expanded, and then removed. It was a surgical procedure under anesthesia but very short. It worked in the sense that the constant pressure feeling was gone, which alone was worth doing, but my hearing did not improve. This was a disappointment to my doctor and me.

REPLY

I had my first appointment yesterday with a lymphatic drainage physical therapist. My feeling of blockage was totally gone last night but returned about 50% today however, the tinnitus that came along with it is totally gone alreadyl! I am going to schedule a couple more appointments as this is a last resort. The ear doctors couldn't find anything wrong with my ear and I tried all the breathing techniques without success.

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@renajoy

I had a chronic eustatian tube disorder (my right ear always felt stuffed up as if on an airplane). My ENT proposed what was apparently a newish procedure to dilate the tube (this was 2018) where a balloon is inserted in the tube, expanded, and then removed. It was a surgical procedure under anesthesia but very short. It worked in the sense that the constant pressure feeling was gone, which alone was worth doing, but my hearing did not improve. This was a disappointment to my doctor and me.

Jump to this post

This is interesting. There remains a lot to learn about the hearing mechanism. Where did you have this procedure done?

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@bustrbrwn22

I had my first appointment yesterday with a lymphatic drainage physical therapist. My feeling of blockage was totally gone last night but returned about 50% today however, the tinnitus that came along with it is totally gone alreadyl! I am going to schedule a couple more appointments as this is a last resort. The ear doctors couldn't find anything wrong with my ear and I tried all the breathing techniques without success.

Jump to this post

There are quite a lot of good resources for at-home lymphatic drainage massages you can perform yourself to keep up the work when you aren't going in for one. Have you ever tried this at home? I recently did when I had a swollen lymph node in my armpit and it was resolved within 48-hours!

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@amandajro

There are quite a lot of good resources for at-home lymphatic drainage massages you can perform yourself to keep up the work when you aren't going in for one. Have you ever tried this at home? I recently did when I had a swollen lymph node in my armpit and it was resolved within 48-hours!

Jump to this post

She’s training me how to do myself I’ve only seen her once so far

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