Sudden Hearing Loss

Posted by eileen123 @eileen123, Jul 22, 2020

Hello, I am new to this group. At age 56, I recently suddenly lost all hearing in my right ear, and I am trying to process this significant impact and find support from others who have experienced the same sudden hearing loss. I welcome your feedback. I am in good hands with very experienced doctors at Mass Eye and Ear in Boston, but my treatment plan has not worked to date (oral steroids and ear injections). I have profound loss in right ear, and above average hearing in my left ear. Thanks for your insight and support. Eileen

@ken82

What kind of Doctors? Where? Do you wear ear buds a lot at high volume? Did you have a COVID test?

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Otolaryngologists in Denver and Atlanta. No exposure to loud ear buds or any other loud noises on that note. I tested negative for COVID antibodies.

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@megwest512

In September of this year I lost most of my hearing in my left ear. There was no trauma or anything, just a regular day – I am 26 years old with no medical conditions.
I have since met with many Doctors, had an MRI, and CT scan – all unable to give me any answers that could explain my hearing loss. Has anyone experienced anything like this or know somebody who has? I am just so confused how this could have happened, my hearing has not improved at all.

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@megwest512 Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. You have lost hearing in your left ear and providers are unable to find a cause.

You will see that I have moved your question into a discussion where members have previously discussed sudden hearing loss. I did this so you could more quickly connect and get support. You will notice members like @tonyinmi @julieo4 @sparklegram @ellen307 @imallears have experience with the topic of hearing loss and may be a good resource for you. I also encourage you to scroll back through the comments to find previously shared suggestions.

Below I have also linked past related discussions related to sudden hearing loss.

– Sudden hearing loss and an echo https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/sudden-hearing-loss-1/
– Sudden Hearing loss–options after steroids are ineffective? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/sudden-hearing-loss-options-after-steriods-are-ineffective/

May I ask what the next step is regarding provider appointments?

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@megwest512

In September of this year I lost most of my hearing in my left ear. There was no trauma or anything, just a regular day – I am 26 years old with no medical conditions.
I have since met with many Doctors, had an MRI, and CT scan – all unable to give me any answers that could explain my hearing loss. Has anyone experienced anything like this or know somebody who has? I am just so confused how this could have happened, my hearing has not improved at all.

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@megwest512, this is not uncommon but unfortunately, not well understood. There is only a small window for steroids to be effective, usually about 4 to 5 weeks after onset. I did develop sudden loss of taste and smell so made an appointment with an ENT immediately. I was prescribed a steroid but it had no affect. An MRI revealed nothing unusual. I thought I was going to have to live with the symptoms but I slowly regained my sense of taste and smell. It took almost a year before the senses returned. I hope the same happens with your hearing. If you do not regain the hearing, do not wait too long to do something about it. A hearing aid may help but a cochlear implant may be a better solution. Keep us posted.
Tony in Michigan

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@erikas

@megwest512 Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. You have lost hearing in your left ear and providers are unable to find a cause.

You will see that I have moved your question into a discussion where members have previously discussed sudden hearing loss. I did this so you could more quickly connect and get support. You will notice members like @tonyinmi @julieo4 @sparklegram @ellen307 @imallears have experience with the topic of hearing loss and may be a good resource for you. I also encourage you to scroll back through the comments to find previously shared suggestions.

Below I have also linked past related discussions related to sudden hearing loss.

– Sudden hearing loss and an echo https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/sudden-hearing-loss-1/
– Sudden Hearing loss–options after steroids are ineffective? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/sudden-hearing-loss-options-after-steriods-are-ineffective/

May I ask what the next step is regarding provider appointments?

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Thanks for the info! My current doctor suggested going in for surgery to see if a stapedectomy or ossiculoplasty would be an option. Not sure what else to do

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@megwest512 Many times the sudden hearing loss is caused by an acoustic neuroma, a small tumor on the hearing nerve. But that should have been picked up on an MRI – my wife had one 4 years ago. I have otosclerosis, a disease of the middle and inner ear that causes the stapes bone to become brittle and eventually collapse, covering the tine hole leading to the inner ear. I have had 2 stapedectomies to replace the stapes bone in each year. But both collapsed stapes bones showed up on the MRI or CT scan. I would ask the otolaryngologist why he can't see the collapsed stapes bone before letting him cut you open. Good luck and let us know.

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@eileen123

Thanks so much. I read an article about his personal situation with hearing loss and his hearing aids, etc. It was inspiring.

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Hi Eileen. I had the exact same thing, in my early 60s, woke up one day feeling like i was hearing under water. Let it go for a holiday weekend and when i went to see doctor, he shook his head, said i had sensorineural hearing loss, that he'd try high-dose steroids for 2 weeks but it was probably too late. seems like it needs to be started pretty quickly. on top of that my loss of hearing was replaced in that ear with non-stop tinnitus. so yeah, i felt like you, i grieved my hearing loss, it's a challenge because all sounds seem like they're coming from the same place so it takes getting used to, and the tinniitus is annoying but there are lots of YouTube audio/videos that help with that, if you have it. i guess as someone said above, we deal with it and move on. but it's always there. glad to hear there are other people with this same condition.

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@megwest512

Thanks for the info! My current doctor suggested going in for surgery to see if a stapedectomy or ossiculoplasty would be an option. Not sure what else to do

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Was your current medical doctor an Ear, Nose Throat Specialist or a general practice MD?

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@julieo4

Was your current medical doctor an Ear, Nose Throat Specialist or a general practice MD?

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ENT specialist

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@wendymb

Hi Eileen. I had the exact same thing, in my early 60s, woke up one day feeling like i was hearing under water. Let it go for a holiday weekend and when i went to see doctor, he shook his head, said i had sensorineural hearing loss, that he'd try high-dose steroids for 2 weeks but it was probably too late. seems like it needs to be started pretty quickly. on top of that my loss of hearing was replaced in that ear with non-stop tinnitus. so yeah, i felt like you, i grieved my hearing loss, it's a challenge because all sounds seem like they're coming from the same place so it takes getting used to, and the tinniitus is annoying but there are lots of YouTube audio/videos that help with that, if you have it. i guess as someone said above, we deal with it and move on. but it's always there. glad to hear there are other people with this same condition.

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@wendymb Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. You woke up one day and felt as if you were hearing under water. You said that you grieved your hearing loss. Would you care telling me a little bit more about your grief process?

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I lost the hearing in my left ear in 1987 from having an acoustic neuroma removed at Mayo in Rochester. It was a miracle at the time that the team of an ear doctor and neurosurgeon could remove it without damaging my facial nerve. Evidently today doctors can remove acoustic neuromas and save the ability of the person to hear if the nerve isn't too badly damaged to begin with. I'm sure I grieved the loss of hearing in that ear, but more I think I still grieve the loss of not being able to do things socially and professionally I had always done, like attend conferences because it was impossible to hear in crowded rooms with background noise, chair meetings because I couldn't follow side conversations, go out to noisy restaurants, etc. I've really become very good at compensating; but often rather than dealing with the frustrations of not being able to hear well, I tend to avoid problematic situations and am less social. I am also much more wary about being in crowds where I can't tell where people are around me. Every five years or so I get my hearing in my good ear checked and ask if there is a hearing aid that will help me; but so far all the audiologist has offered is a transmitter that will send sound from my dead ear over to my good one with annoying static, etc. I have faith someone will come up with something better than that — it's too hard to imagine engineers can design rockets to go into space but not develop a decent hearing aid for my condition. Fortunately, being deaf in one ear hasn't kept me from doing the things I love most like traveling in rural areas in Africa, South America and Asia, although not being able to hear properly has made learning and speaking foreign languages really hard. Nancy – nla4625 member of lung group on Mayo Connect

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@erikas

@wendymb Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. You woke up one day and felt as if you were hearing under water. You said that you grieved your hearing loss. Would you care telling me a little bit more about your grief process?

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Thank you for asking. It has been a process and it’s ongoing, some four years later. I went from hearing relatively well with a tinge of tinnitus, to hearing nothing in my left hear, overwhelmingly loud tinnitus and that directional confusion – having no idea where a sound was coming from as I only heard out of the one ear. I grieved the loss of normal hearing, and mostly, the loss of absolute silence in my head. I’ll never “hear” silence again.

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@nla4625

I lost the hearing in my left ear in 1987 from having an acoustic neuroma removed at Mayo in Rochester. It was a miracle at the time that the team of an ear doctor and neurosurgeon could remove it without damaging my facial nerve. Evidently today doctors can remove acoustic neuromas and save the ability of the person to hear if the nerve isn't too badly damaged to begin with. I'm sure I grieved the loss of hearing in that ear, but more I think I still grieve the loss of not being able to do things socially and professionally I had always done, like attend conferences because it was impossible to hear in crowded rooms with background noise, chair meetings because I couldn't follow side conversations, go out to noisy restaurants, etc. I've really become very good at compensating; but often rather than dealing with the frustrations of not being able to hear well, I tend to avoid problematic situations and am less social. I am also much more wary about being in crowds where I can't tell where people are around me. Every five years or so I get my hearing in my good ear checked and ask if there is a hearing aid that will help me; but so far all the audiologist has offered is a transmitter that will send sound from my dead ear over to my good one with annoying static, etc. I have faith someone will come up with something better than that — it's too hard to imagine engineers can design rockets to go into space but not develop a decent hearing aid for my condition. Fortunately, being deaf in one ear hasn't kept me from doing the things I love most like traveling in rural areas in Africa, South America and Asia, although not being able to hear properly has made learning and speaking foreign languages really hard. Nancy – nla4625 member of lung group on Mayo Connect

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So well put, thank you. That is a huge issue, the social aspect. I will avoid crowds, loud restaurants, movie theaters, most group settings. I forgot about that, having been home for the last 10 Covid months!

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