Are my ears under attack by my own body?

About six years ago (guessing) on a whim I had a perfunctory hearing test at a Costco in Norfolk, VA. The results showed that I had better than normal hearing on a number of frequencies and no loss at all on any of the others. Now I have substantial hearing loss in my left ear and less substantial loss in my right.

On occasion I feel that there is pressure or congestion and a dulling of sound in my left ear. Now I’m having that same sensation in my right, which makes me worry that I’m in the process of losing hearing there as well. In my mind I’ve attributed the sensation to stuffed eustachian tubes, though I would take no bets on it. I’ve booked an appointment with a local ENT specialist.

Does anyone here know of any systemic processes that lead to hearing loss? Is it simply a function of aging? I know there are a lot of extremely well-informed peopled on this forum, which is why I’m posing this question here.

I see Norfolk Virginia. You weren’t in the navy by any chance?

Afraid not, though I lived 7 miles from both the amphibious base and the big naval base. My spouse was employed by NOAA. I spent most of my life in Raleigh.

Your subject heading would be a reasonable way to describe autoimmune hearing loss. It is rare, so although possible, it is unlikely to be the cause of your hearing loss. Hopefully seeing an ENT will provide you with more info and reassurance.


This is not medical advice as I can’t predict what complications might happen
Are you familiar with val salva. Or what I call blowing out my ears. Plug nose, close mouth and apply outward pressure from the lungs. Slowly. Gently. Don’t faint. Maybe do a chewing motion while doing it. Maybe the ears will pop and you’ll be mostly back to normal. Could also be earwax.
I have done this for many years. It’s how I coped with more and more muffled hearing as the years went by before I finally succumbed to getting hearing aids. And I still do it.


I know I had similar symptoms - I hadn’t had a hearing test prior but a sudden hearing drop in my left ear was found to be an acoustic neuroma (found with mri). It is rare but my ent was insistent on getting the mri just to rule it out. I am not making a diagnosis but I do suggest getting one to rule it out…

Just tried it and it actually had the reverse effect. It blocked my hearing for a second or two. :slight_smile:

Doesn’t sound good. My spouse has been complaining about my hearing for years. I didn’t believe it.

I get various results and sometimes the chew motion or swallowing gets it back. I can tell right away that things are clear when the hearing is better and not quite so muffled. Maybe it’s even a jaw-jutting motion rather than chewing per se.
Sometimes it sounds/feels like things are bubbling to use that description.

There are lots of things that can cause hearing loss in one or both ears. Some you definitely want to get treated, others you can, and have to, just live with. Not many are reversible.

Definitely you should see an ENT specialist as soon as you can. Hearing loss almost never goes away on its own, or by holding your nose and blowing (although that can help in some acute situations if your Eustachian tube is temporarily a bit blocked).

Thanks for the correct spelling of eustachian. I hate to admit it but I was just to tag on lazy to look it up. :blush:

Just so it’s clear…I never said the loss goes away. Even with doing that, I still have less than ideal hearing. And that’s doing it before I get tested.
I would argue “acute” as I simply do it when I’m aware that maybe things are that bit quieter than I would otherwise be able to hear. Even with aids.

Works for me! In a pinch. :sunglasses:

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I agree with @MDB. Your subject does sound like something caused by an autoimmune disease. I’m a type 1 diabetic, way, way back when I was diagnosed, I was told it is hereditary. Now the thought is something caused the immune system to over-react and attack the pancreas as a foreign object in the body. When I was a toddler, I had a bad virus, the doctor suspects the virus caused my immune system to do this and that caused my pancreas to stop functioning. It is also suspected of causing the reduction of hearing in my left ear which was discovered a couple of years before the diabetes onset. I thought my left ear was useless, but I found out several years ago I could hear in that ear normally with the assistance of a hearing aid.

In 2019, I caught a virus from someone I worked with. This happened several months before COVID. Two months later, I had bad vertigo and suddenly completely lost the hearing in my other ear. It was diagnosed as SSHD that was caused by the virus I had. It was determined that with the hearing aid, I had 59% hearing in my left ear just barely making my a candidate for cochlear implant surgery which I’ve had.

I’m not a doctor and not providing a diagnosis. This is what happened to me. Good thing you made an appointment with the ENT. That’s the best first step you can make. See what the doctor says, but don’t let us make you scared.

Sorry to hear your story, Debbie. You’ve had some really bad luck. I made the appointment with the ENT guy suspecting there will be nothing he can do, but I wanted his thoughts if nothing else. Around my home you have to book an ENT a long time in advance. He postponed my original appointment. Now I’ll have hearing aids before I even see him. But booking an appointment with Costco took a long time too, so I don’t want any more delays. If getting the aids first is putting the cart before the horse, then I guess I’ll just arrive there backwards.


I had blocked Eustachian tubes before. The blockages would only last a couple of days and would clear themselves. About 5 years ago I had it for about 4 months. I tried every thing from val salva by using an Otovent, to sinus rinsing with salt water, steam inhalation. It eventually cleared but left me with much worse hearing which led to having hearing aids. I always know when they are blocked; I get distortions from low frequency sounds like car exhausts which sound like a Kazoo vibrating. I still use the Otovent and sinus rinsing from time to time.

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A pharmacist recommended I try SUDAFED years ago whenever I have Eustachian tube issues. It is a nasal decongestant and one of the side-effects is it dilates the Eustachian tube.

It is now available over the counter (Non-Prescription) in “The States” as Pseudoephedrine Hydrochloride.

Usually - my blockage clears within a couple of hours.

Good Luck…

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