Sudden Hearing Loss - Diary

I am posting this in case anyone has a similar situation to mine, I know that reading about others really is helping me and in turn I would really want to help anyone who goes through this situation. My first thought is if you have a hearing issue immediately go see an ENT - do not pass go, do not collect $200, just go right to the ENT, skip the GP, or anybody else. Time is the most important thing on your side and you don’t have time to waste. Well here is my story all these dates are from 2014 and I will try to update. Send me a message through the site if anyone has a question, again this can be a harrowing experience for anyone and I know that it is hard for me as well. I am a 45 year old active male.

Jan 9
I had a lunch meeting in brooklyn with a man who claimed he was having trouble getting over the flu, my thinking at the time was he was giving me the heebeegeebees. Didn’t really get sick, as i had the flu shot in the fall, but as with all new york winters, i had a cough at night, I might have had the cough before the lunch meeting, don’t really remember.

Jan 11Went to an affair held at the Manhattan Center for my Dad, it was a great night. I had gone on stage to say a few words. After the program finished they had a Band Playing. My 3 year old was sleeping on two chairs. When the music started I was wondering if I should take him out because it seemed a little loud. We only stayed about a half hour or so, and I had no signs of a hearing trauma or anything like that.

Jan 15
This is when I can first recollect their being an issue. On the various calls I end up making, I noticed that when the phone was on my right ear it was very unclear and I was having an issue discerning what someone was saying. I thought it was just bad phone connection and when moving it to the left ear there was no problem. So by that afternoon, I had realized that there was an issue and it was my right ear. I was leaving for florida the next day and thinking it was a head cold and sinus congestion, I went to the pharmacy and began taking a sudefed product for sinus congestion.

Jan 16
Same issues on the phone, I packed and I was leaving for Florida. I was a little concerned on how the ear would be on the plane. It really was not a problem but on the flight the Jet Blue TV and my own ear plugs, but only could really hear out of the one. That night we have dinner and get up to bed.

Jan 17
I get up and get to the field for the first game. We play. It is a bit difficult and I am not able to hear out of hear. I feel I was running ok, but my hand eye coordination not great, although I haven’t played in a while so that could be just diminished skills. We go back to hotel get lunch and head back for afternoon game. Same symptoms.
That night we go to dinner. Sitting at dinner I can not hear people to the right of me. It is difficult and frustrating. They can only communicate to me in the good ear. We go up to Team organizers room late night, then down to casino and through courtyard.

Jan 18
We are up real early to play a game, after game we go back to hotel to try to get a nap in between games. We head back to field play in afternoon which we lost game. I am tired sore and frustrated, that we lost and my ear is still a problem. All this time I have continued to take the Sudefed and it is doing nothing. That night we go out all night, I can only hear out of my one ear being my left. I don’t really have any sleep, and go to bed.

Jan 19
I miss the consolation game because i was unable to get up in the morning because I went to bed so late. Hearing still an issue, we hang out more, I am flying out later that day. The conference championship football games are on and toward the end of the first game we leave for the airport. We fly out same issue, watch the second game on jet blue tv, Plug in right ear can hear nothing, but if i push in real far, there is like a buzz sound but can tell any words. Get home i notice that the issue is tough because even with one ear when i hear someone talking , not sure what direction it is coming from, for example my son in a room calling me, could be a room in the left direction or the right.

Jan 20
Back home, first thing I call ENT that I had previously seen over a throat issue years ago where I was hit in throat with lacrosse stick and couldn’t talk for a few days. He looks in says no wax, puts the camera up my nose and says no clogged tubes and nodes all ok. I am taking by the assistant to a room to do a test where they put air in your ear and then you blow out. Not sure of results of that. Then taken to the audio room, they seem to test I think both ear drums with an instrument, then i am put in the booth for the hearing test. I press buttons when i can hear. Then he does a verbal repeat test. when he is doing both or the left ear i am able to hear and understand him. When he goes only right ear, and can hear a noise but can not make out any words. Doctor comes back and says i have sudden hear loss and prescribes the steroid and a water pill. I go right to pharmacy get the rX and get the first dose in between 6pm and 7pm. I am up a lot of night probably because of the medicine probably because I am going to the bathroom a lot due to the water pill and probably because i am stressing about all of this.

Jan 21
I wake up get my son on the bus take the second dose of steroid, maybe it is just optimism, but i am noticing a little better on the sound. it is difficult to give myself a test because i don’t know how much is being heard by the other ear. I am going to call the doctor because they only gave me enough pills to last 5 days and I will see him next monday so i need more. I will also ask him if it is possible that I have shingles, I had it three years ago. I stress a lot, so it wouldn’t surprise me if it is back. Wondering if I should take a blood test or get an MRI to rule out something more serious. Spoke to his assistant she didn’t think the antiviral had anything to do with it.
Spoke to my sister who is a doctor said doctor is playing the odds and will probably order MRI on next appointment on Monday.
Tonight the ringing is there in my right ear and hearing is not there.
Hoping I can sleep and there is improvement.

Jan 22
Woke up this morning took the meds, not much of a difference. Seem a bit tired the right ear is still has the fullness, also feels like a headache, slept ok last night. Need to talk to the doctor today to just run a few things by him. Don’t know if it is the meds or the loss of appetite or low sodium diet but lost 7 pounds thus far. Took the meds for the day and took some children’s dimmatap. The ringing in the ear is loud at times and i do get the tone changes from time to time, don’t know if that is good at all, but it happens every once in a while. The doctor is letting the predisone run its course until my appointment next monday. He also says shingles is not a factor at all and that acyclvir would not help.

Jan 23
Slept through the night, no changes, kept thinking that my other ear was starting to reduce hearing. Getting really afraid, the tinnitus seem to get really low during the night, seems like that is always worse when noise is around. Woke up very tired probably a product of the medicine, took it in the morning. Felt not quite nausus but stomach didn’t feel great, probably another product of the medication. My appointment is monday and it seems like an eternity away. My stomach feels better this afternoon, but i am finding it difficult to work, my calls I just use the speaker phone, and some conversations are difficult to follow with background noise. I am paranoid about losing hearing in my other ear, it truly frightens me to no end. This is the most difficult scary thing i have ever gone through in my life. Tonight I took a little more dinnatap and had dinner. Ringing is still prevalent. I don’t know if i am seeing a bit of improvement or it is just my imagination and hoping for the best, but I do a scratch test. My scratch test includes just scratching my good ear, it will make like a microphone sound. For the last few days bad ear is completely dead, tonight on scratch test, I can hear extremely faint micro, maybe it is my imagination but I am hoping it is not.

Jan 24
Slept ok, could be dreaming but my kids were rustling in the other room and youngest came into our bed at 545am, can’t tell if any improvement is from a combination of hearing with the good ear, but the scratch test still seems like it is getting slightly better. As I laid my good ear on the pillow with my bad ear up, i felt at like 7am what seem to be like a little release in my bad ear similar to when you decompress from a plane, again don’t know if i am imagining or its real, but then i could hear the wonderful whining voices of my two boys in the background in what seemed to be a little better. Got up and took the predisone and water pill. Hearing in bad ear seems a little better, still no way to know until i go back to my appointment on monday. I am going to try to keep the same regiment that i have over the last few days and see if that helps any. There is still the ringing tintus in my ear which seems to be a constant, the fullness does not seem as bad. Had some dimmatap, the ringing still is very strong. It is clear that very little has returned, but some definitely has returned as evidenced by the scratch test. It makes me feel good, but when i block my good ear, i still see how far i am and it does still worry me. I am hoping tonight brings me a good night sleep and some more progress. Tomorrow afternoon I begin to taper my dosages of predisone to 2.5 10 mg tabs.

Jan 25
Got to bed early as the dimatap probably knocks me out, but i also was starting to wake pretty early as well. Its difficult to distinguish what progress is being made but some has been made for sure. The scratch test seems to getting a slight bit stronger, now I can actually do the finger test which is if I rub my fingers together away from my ear an inch or so, I can hear in by good ear and I am hearing that lower but hearing it nonetheless in my bad ear. One really interesting development this morning, is when my kids or wife are speaking, sound seems to be breaking into my bad ear and it very faint feels like a transistor radio trying to work out the station. Really strange. It is like my brain and ear are trying to tune themselves in. I am going to take my predisone and water pill as i do every morning, this afternoon, I move to 2.5 pills instead of 3 on the predisone. Took afternoon 2.5 predisone and at this point, There is not pressure in my ear, the other thing that happened once although it also could be my imagination again or hoping, is like a few mornings earlier, I felt like a little release, or at least i thought I did. This afternoon didn’t feel super great overall, felt like a had a weird metal taste in my mouth and was a little tired but i was up early. After my dimmatap, i know i will go right to bed tonight.

Jan 26
Last night was the first time i think i was feeling a bit of the effects of the predisone, i was not feeling great, had a little bit of a strange taste in my mouth, I ended up going to bed early, I am worried that it is the medicine but the hearing has been improving so I don’t want to hold up with that. Today I take 2.5 pills this morning and 2.5 this afternoon. I have the tinnitus but it seems a bit less and there are clearly signs of hearing improvement. Not sure exactly how much but if i was going to venture to guess i would say to about 50% maybe a little more, with more of an issue coming from when sound goes in bad ear it seems to reverberate and not be able to be dedected so well. Tomorrow is my appointment and I am sure they will give me another audiogram to see if there is any improvement, which i know there will be. It was my sisters birthday so I took dimmetap later then usual, went to bed a little later, didn’t really sleep well I am up at 4am with this update, my stomach is a little upset, don’t know if I am up because of the medicine or the anxiousness of going to my appointment tomorrow. There is no question there will be a significant improvement in where my hearing is, it will only be a question of how much and what type of word recognition I get. I think the medicine is finally having a few of the possible side effects you see on the label, I might take some Prilosec tomorrow and see if that helps. I had gotten a small cut on my finger and it seem to take forever for the bleeding to stop, maybe being paranoid but don’t usually like to take medications at all.

Jan 27
This morning took the 2.5 predisone and water pill, I am going to be heading to my appointment shortly. I woke up feeling ok, and my stomach was not as bad as middle of the night. Arrived at appointment, went in Doctor asked how I was feeling, i told him a lot better but wanted to see how much through the tests, He did the tuning fork test which he hadn’t done the first appointment and I heard the tone in my bad ear, then he used another fork and i didn’t hear it in either ear. He made a positive sign. Next they came to get me for audiogram, he did initial test in the ear testing inner ear and he also had a promising look on his face, next into the booth, I heard all tones and got all word recognition. He was very surprised and happy with the improvement in a week, and believe me so was i. I was brought into the exam room, the doctor was so excited with the augiogram results he was showing it around to the office people. He said that most of the time there is about a 20% chance in this and he was happy for me that there was such a dramatic improvement. We talked about the predisone which he said we would continue to wean down off of. So 2.5 this afternoon, 5 total pills tuesday, 4 total pills wed thursday and friday, then 2 total pills saturday and sunday, and i will go for my appointment next monday. Needless to say i am extremely relieved but clearly there are still things rattling around in there, even in the booth, my own voice seems to make a vibration in my right ear, and certain loud noises rattle around. But pure hearing I definitely can hear and I definitely can understand words.

I’m glad things have seemed to work out. However, I would be concerned with the SHL in the first place. Did your ENT suggest an MRI? Mine didn’t years ago when I had a plugged up feeling, said it was Meniere’s Disease. I didn’t accept that, and found out there is a more specialized ENT doc called a neurotologist (found that one out on the Meniere’s Disease website). Made an appt with one and the first thing he wanted to do was an MRI. Found out I had an Acoustic Neuroma. If i had just taken the first doc’s word for it, that tumor would still be growing.

A Neurotologist specializes in the inner ear. I would highly suggest you make an appt. with one. We have to be our own advocates and get 2nd opinions. Good luck.

Adding the definition of a Neurotologist for you.

Neurotology or neuro-otology is a branch of clinical medicine which studies and treats neurological disorders of the ear.[SUP][1][/SUP] It is a subspecialty of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, and is closely related to otology. Neurotologists are physicians who have specialized in otolaryngology and then further specialized in neurological conditions of the ear, related structures, and lateral skull base surgery. In the United States, this requires an additional two years of fellowship training after five years of residency.[SUP][2][/SUP]
Field of work[edit]Conditions treated by neurotologists include:

  • Vestibular (balance) diseases, such as [Ménière's disease](http://www.hearingaidforums.com/wiki/M%C3%A9ni%C3%A8re%27s_disease) and [vestibular neuronitis](http://www.hearingaidforums.com/wiki/Vestibular_neuronitis)
  • Skull base [tumors](http://www.hearingaidforums.com/wiki/Tumors), such as [vestibular schwannoma](http://www.hearingaidforums.com/wiki/Vestibular_schwannoma) (acoustic neuroma)
  • Facial nerve disorders, including [facial nerve paralysis](http://www.hearingaidforums.com/wiki/Facial_nerve_paralysis)
  • Hearing loss and deafness
  • Certain conditions relating to the [skull base](http://www.hearingaidforums.com/wiki/Skull_base)

Thank you so much Tisha, I have an appointment on monday and I am certainly going to be discussing the MRI. As I ween off the steroid, I haven’t really had much of an issue other then I don’t like the feeling of being on medications. Hearing is still all ok, but i agree with you, because there are so many reason for the symptoms and it is difficult to know for sure what brought this on, it would be good to rule out something more serious.

It is good advice to get to an ENT soon. But there is a problem. Because sudden hearing loss has a speedy recovery rate, speedy results get published along with natural recovery.
“Controlled trials have failed to produce convincing evidence of success and often haveproduced conflicting conclusions.
If one considers the potential aetiological factors in sudden deafness, then certain
treatments, for example steroids, could aggravate the problem they were intended to help; the
deafness of viral labyrinthitis may be exacerbated by steroids.”
http://famona.sezampro.rs/medifiles/otohns/scott/scott316.pdf

— Updated —

It is good advice to get to an ENT soon. But there is a problem. Because sudden hearing loss has a speedy recovery rate, speedy results get published along with natural recovery.
“Controlled trials have failed to produce convincing evidence of success and often haveproduced conflicting conclusions.
If one considers the potential aetiological factors in sudden deafness, then certain
treatments, for example steroids, could aggravate the problem they were intended to help; the
deafness of viral labyrinthitis may be exacerbated by steroids.”
http://famona.sezampro.rs/medifiles/otohns/scott/scott316.pdf