Hearing loss in one ear for months at a time?

Hello, I’m wondering if anyone has a similar experience to me, and if you found a solution or got to the bottom of what causes it?

I lose a significant amount of my hearing in my right ear for months at a time. The ear also feels full and I can hear my pulse and sometimes whooshing or tingling sounds.

I do not have high blood pressure.

I have been given a hearing aid but it doesn’t take the tinnitus symptoms away. They leave me dizzy and exhausted.

These spells of hearing loss can last several months, even over a year.

But then I have a few months where my ear feels much better. Even to the point that I can use my phone on the affected ear, which I cannot do when the hearing loss is more apparent.

Is intermittent hearing loss a thing?

I’ve had blood tests, MRI and full ENT check and nothing is showing as being wrong.

I’m 42, mum of 2 and self employed. This is making life unbearable at times. Any advice would be hugely appreciated.



Have you tried getting a second opinion from another ENT?


You might not get a 100% diagnosis, but it bears some of the symptoms of Menieres.

What’s your salt intake like?


I’m waiting for a second NHS ENT appointment at the moment but it could be months

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Thankyou, I did wonder this. First ENT ruled this out but I think I need to push for future investigation.
I don’t cook with salt or add it to meals but I know it is in a lot of processed foods. Should I be having more or is it about reducing my intake?

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Having had Meniers, I was thinking along the same lines @Um_bongo… Welcome to the forum @CKF42, you don’t say how long this has been going on? If you have been getting fullness of ear, periodically, then that may suggest a build up of fluid in the inner ear? If you have been getting dizzy attacks or vertigo, it may be the onset of Meniers Disease, if this all started in the last couple of years or so? MD is something you don’t want, so hopefully I am wrong, fullness of ear, very loud Tinnitus, dizziness or vertigo, in conjunction with your variable hearing loss, extreme fatigue, if you get visual distortion, and possibly hearing distortion, these are strong indications it may be MD… Not all MD sufferers get all these symptoms, unfortunately for me, I got most of them, read up on Meniers Disease, if it increasingly sounds familiar, then it could be a strong possibility…Good Luck, cheers Kev…


Basic rules of MD…Avoid salt, caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, visual repetition, like shopping malls (ie’ checkered flooring) these can create the onset of a vertigo attack…Flying for me, became virtually impossible (Cabin Pressure) it would make me ill for days, my balance would go…I walked like I had just downed a couple of bottles of whiskey, I was all over the place… Cheers Kev.


Thankyou for this, I really appreciate the detail. A lot of this is true for me, I get episodes of dizziness / vertigo and followed by the exhaustion. It’s awful! This has been going on for about 2.5 years now.
I will read up on the condition and have another chat with my GP.
I’m not a big drinker and already switched to decaf tea (I don’t like coffee) but I’ll definitely try reducing salt intake too.

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Please don’t start removing things from your diet, you ‘need’ a level sodium salt in your system to balance potassium salts for your cochlear to function properly; it’s this ‘saline pump’ that provides the hair cells with sufficient ions to do their job.

If the renal-like tissue in the cochlear duct (stria vascularis) isn’t functioning properly due to illness, medication or the wrong salt balance in your body, it will either allow too much or too little fluid into the duct and you can get a condition called endolymphatic hydrops; or the swelling of this area: this puts pressure on the surrounding structures and doesn’t let them move so freely; hence the vertigo, hearing loss etc.


I don’t want to be alarmist @CKF42, but forewarned, is forearmed… We are very resourceful human beings, we adapt to whatever life throws at us, MD can be very mild, or it can be hugely debilitating, it basically destroys your vestibular system (your balance) it also destroys your hearing, very gradually, it can be single sided (common) or bilateral (Rare) I believe, I had it’s rarer form? It is not believed to be genetic, although my younger brother was diagnosed with MD, a few short years ago, he has it very mildly, but the odds of 2 siblings getting MD, are fairly astronomical… At its hight, I got cluster attacks, the vertigo would be extreme, nausea was also, but I never actually vomited! Hearing distortion, and visual distortions, the walls and ceiling moved, I would be in bed for days, on a rare occasion, perhaps weeks… Chronic fatigue would kick in… It is not all doom and gloom though, eventually I had the classic MD burn out after approximately 8 year’s, and the vertigo started to decrease, and virtually disappeared… Nowadays, I am mostly fine, my balance is problematic, especially in the dark, my hearing is challenging, but we have Roger Assistive Listening Devices (ALD’s) as backup… I can fly, but much depends on the aircraft, smaller aircraft tend to reek havoc with my balance… There is no known cure for MD, once diagnosed, that’s it! Hopefully, you don’t have MD, and if you do, it’s a much milder version, good luck in finding answers… Cheers Kev.


Your sodium and potassium levels show up in your blood work. Shouldn’t that information be enough to tell you if you are out of balance?

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I can only say what worked for me Stephen, I don’t avoid salt entirely, I just use it sparingly, moderation is perhaps the key, 1 cup of coffee per day, 2 cups of tea maximum, one bag of crisps, loaded with salt, and any other natural salt in foodstuffs…I am also a sweet toothed diabetic (type 2) in a constant battle with my blood sugars, I don’t eat meat, but I eat fish (a pescatarian) I monitor everything fairly strictly, but occasionally I will have a pig out day :upside_down_face: There is a difference between Avoidance, and totally Abstaining… Cheers Kev :wink:

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I’m just conscious that we can’t tell if the OP has this problem or not - and giving advice like this has huge caveats as we don’t know the direction of travel/exact nature of the issue.

My experience with this comes from finding clients who have taken dietary advice in getting older -lower sodium salt intake- have set off unstable events. We basically need a bit of hypertension as we get older to drive oxygen through flaccid blood vessels; but all the general advice is to reduce salt intake to mitigate against stroke/TIA incidence.

Some people are already on a pretty restricted salt diet and exercise - being good at listening to health advice. If these people reduce their salt intake further we can put them at risk - usually faints and falls which can be highly detrimental as you get older.

There’s also another question relating to ion content and absorption issues as well as people who are on diuretic tablets for water retention. Again, advising this group to alter their salt intake can have secondary consequences.

As an aside if you get Menieres (potentially) I’m really interested if you try an Isotonic drink - it doesn’t need to be an expensive or really sugary one. I’ve heard good things about them ‘steadying the ship’ for some people. Obviously, try this in moderation to start with; to see if there’s any benefit for you first.

I think there’s an argument that your system might need ions, just not more (or less) Sodium ions. Don’t forget MSG causes issues here too.

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Not if it’s a long term uptake or absorption issue.


Hi Stephen, I am always one to try something new, I shall try your suggestion of isotonic drink, and see how that goes, thank you… I hadn’t read up much on MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) although, I have a particular fondness for Chinese cuisine, so I have probably had my fair share over the years… My Diet is mainly fish, Haddock, Scallops, Prawns, Sea-Trout (when, I catch them) and a little Salmon, although Salmon is my least preferred fish, it’s okay smoked, but only just! In my youth, I was a renowned Poacher, so I basically got spoiled with too much of the finer things in life, Salmon & Brown Trout where always plentiful, so subsequently, I wouldn’t thank you for either, I ate too many, I still love Sea-trout though, in Scotland we call these Finnock, basically between 1/2lbs and 1 1/2lbs, they make gorgeous fish cakes… Anyway, enough of me waffling on, I did have a spell on diuretics, a long time ago now, I don’t think it made a blind bit of difference to my MD, it may have helped other folks though? Cheers Kev :wink:

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The vertigo is very suggestive of Menieres, but the sense of fullness and temporary hearing loss - maybe a long shot, but have you been tested for allergies?

Both are indicative of Menieres ‘episodes’ too.

Also useful to rule out the allergies though.

For me @Rideau_Wood, fullness of ear is something, I will always associate with MD, as is temporary hearing loss & distortion, I could not hear during a vertigo attack, even aided, it was either completely distorted, or my hearing was so poor, I couldn’t understand anyone, even in extremely quiet situations! Tinnitus in both ears, would also be off the scale, strange as it may seem, I started relying on my Tinnitus as an early warning system, it would alert me that a vertigo attack was imminent, once it reached say 9 out of 10, it was time to lay down, and ride it out, each attack, could last a few minutes, or sometimes a few hours, repetitive in nature, these cluster attacks went on for days, occasionally sometimes for weeks, there was no rhyme or reason…During an attack, I had to lie down, the vertigo was so bad, the Tinnitus would now be a 10, my hearing would be completely down, or distorted or both, visual distortion kicked in, the walls moved, the ceiling moved, the nausea then kicked in, so you had to close your eyes, as I couldn’t focus… The aftermath left you with chronic fatigue, it took a few days for your hearing to stabilize, and the fullness of ear to dissipate…Then, completely out of the blue, it would all stop for a few days, perhaps a few weeks, you just prayed, that you had seen the last of it, but you knew that wasn’t likely, and as soon as the Tinnitus started getting louder again, here we go again! The first 2 years where perhaps fairly mild, a gradual build up in frequency of attacks, in conjunction with a gradual build up of intensity & longevity of said attacks, years 3,4,5 & 6, it was full blown Meniers Disease, you couldn’t work, you couldn’t plan holidays or anything, it was to all intensive purposes, a living nightmare… Years 7 & 8, where like years 1 & 2 in reverse order, the attacks got fewer, and further apart, the intensity of each attack gradually wained, and eventually petered out to absolute zero…but the anxiety levels remained with you for years! For me, the vertigo was the worst aspect of MD, other sufferers might disagree? Essentially, MD took most of my residual hearing with it, along with my balance, it destroys your vestibular, but your brain & vision eventually compensates for this, but in the dark, I struggle with my balance, usually badly!!! All in all, I consider myself fairly fortunate to have survived the brunt of MD, there was many dark moments, and dark thoughts, depression and suicidal thoughts where unfortunately very prevalent, if any of you folks on this forum ever need to talk, or perhaps you need help, please feel free to “PM” me… A problem shared, is a problem halved! Cheers Kev :wink:

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This post is emblematic of the frustration I’ve experienced as well trying to get the bottom of my own hearing loss. I’ve been dealing with what had been a fluctuating hearing loss in one ear for years.
From the original urgent care visit that failed to realize that hearing loss is a medical emergency to the “specialists” I’ve consulted with who advised me that the advanced testing I was seeking was “academic” as there was no treatment option that could be offered even if they could identify the specific cause of my loss. There is no test for Meniere’s . It’s a collection of symptoms and a label ENT’s can put on them to identify what you are experiencing. The initial treatment offered to me for episodes of sudden hearing loss has been oral steroids or injections. Diuretics are offered to try to deal with the belief that part of the issue is fluid retention. Research indicates that other cause could be cochlear blood flow, unknown cause of inflamation, blood pressure ect. Pretty much- yes you have hearing loss, we can’t tell what is specifically causing this and the best we can offer is to treat your symtoms (whichever ones you having) and refer you to an audiologist for hearing aids. I’d love to hear from others in the US that have found a clinic that will do complete and comprehensive testing like I read about in medical literature that really drills down to identify that cause of the hearing loss. In the absence of other options I try to follow the conventional advice- limit salt, caffeine and sugar. I eat gluten free. I’ve tried oral prednisone (not effective), betahisine (not effective), take a dueretic. I also have meclizine and ondansetron for any episodes of vertigo. I have hearing aid and an a great audiologist to help with the hearing loss. I find trying to find a cause an effect of what I eat and its effect on my balance and hearing to be an endless endeavor. Good luck with your issue. I hope you find relief.


Difficult to actually fully establish as the onset is often idiopathic.

I know saying - it just happens to some people - is really unhelpful for anyone suffering this debilitating condition, but it does. And it’s very difficult to treat at source, so people end up mitigating the symptoms, just to help.

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