Could I have damaged my ear?

I went to an ENT today to get wax removed from my left ear, and the sound emitted from the vacuum he used was extremely loud. It was like having a child scream into your ear. After that my left ear started ringing and it felt full. Could this have damaged my hearing? I am extremely worried right now because my left was supposed to be my good ear. Has anyone else gone for wax removal and experienced the same thing?

I would definitely call the ENT back and tell them what you have told us. The vacuum should not make your ears ring. He can do another hearing test to be sure.

I’m going to an audiologist that i really like for a hearing test first thing tomorrow morning, but for now I’m going out of my mind with the fear that my left ear might be damaged too.

This is terrible! It appears your ears are very sensitive to noise. That’s another reason I would recommend you stop wearing your HA(s) because I fear the amplified sounds will further damage your hearing. I would in fact invest in earplugs to wear whenever you are in a situation where noise exceeds 85db. Let us know your new audiogram, scan it if possible.

Here’s my new audiogram from 24/8:

Freq—L–R--
250 - 0 10
500 - 5 15
1000 - 10 20
2000 - 5 20
4000 - -5 0
8000 - -10 0

This is still normal hearing right? Do I have to worry about the ~5 db shifts in my left ear?

It takes some concentration hit the button just at the right times during the exam. Mine fluctuates about that much.

Hearing aids that this patient would wear would, in no way, be strong enough to cause hearing loss.

It is possible (although highly unlikely) depending on how loud the equipment was, length of exposure, and the dBSPL level that was emitted into your ear. Typically to cause any sudden loss a sound has to be EXTREMELY loud, more in the acoustic trauma level (115/120dB+) and not only would it be LOUD it would be very painful as well. The ringing and fullness could also be from wax that may have moved during the procedure and is resting up against the eardrum and not an actual, permanent shift in hearing. I would be inclined to think it’s a temporary sensation and due to wax remaining in the canal and not damage done to your ear. In all the years I’ve worked in an ENT office I’ve never heard of anyone who has had hearing loss from wax removal.

There is a test/retest variability of +/- 5dB for audiometry. So that means that there is no change in your hearing…I could test someone right now and then the same person 10 minutes later and have results that could be 5dB above or below the thresholds I got 10minutes earlier. A shift in hearing doesn’t become significant until you are at 10-15dB. Your hearing remains completely normal.

Thanks for your replies guys. The ringing and fullness are gone now, apart from the ringing i usually have. DocAudio, I feel much more secure now that you’ve told me you’ve never heard of anyone with hearing loss from wax removal. Thank you, also for your advice on hearing aids. :slight_smile: