chriscom, stories like yours frustrate me so much! It’s maddening that so many health professionals have no idea whatsoever that sudden hearing loss is classified as an emergency! Anywhere I’ve ever worked, the medical staff knew that sudden vision loss required a full workup including labs, CT/MRI and an immediate referral to an opthalmologist. But sudden hearing loss does not seem to get afforded the same amount of respect. It shocks me just how often our office receives referrals for SSNHL weeks to months after the hearing loss occurred. I don’t understand how so many GPs, NPs, and, in some cases, hearing instrument specialists, can be so completely clueless that such symptoms are a medical emergency!
Progress through the system can be painfully slow here in Canada, too. Occasionally, our office gets timely referrals for patients who have had appropriate initial treatment (immediate audiogram, oral prednisone, MRI), but that’s pretty rare. Clearly, there is a huge need for more hearing loss education among medical and paramedical health professionals.
I’m sorry this happened to you. I’m in agreement with the one doctor you spoke with who suggested you get a hearing aid, specifically a CROS hearing aid. That system may help, at least somewhat, with your hearing and with your ability to localize sound. It may also help to decrease the perception of the warbling sound (tinnitus) in your ear. Worst case scenario, it doesn’t help you at all. But what if it does? That’s the question I ask my patients. You’ll never know unless you try.
In the meantime, it may help you to take a speech reading course if you have the ability to do so. From what I understand, your local chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) may offer speechreading courses. Being from Canada, I have no experience with HLAA, but I’ve met a few people online who attend their meetings and find them to be extremely valuable.