Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss resonant squelch

Hi All,

I lost hearing in my left ear and dismissed it as another episode of earwax blockage - it was accompanied by a feeling of fullness in the ear. A few days later I had that checked and no earwax was found. I then contacted my doctor, at this point around 5 days had elapsed, who diagnosed eustachian tube blockage which would clear up within 2 weeks. After 3 weeks I sort the advice of a ENT and I was diagnosed with SSHL. No treatment was offered and all I was told was that it might return but there was nothing that code be done.

I later saw another ENT, and by this time I had done my research and around 40 days had elapsed, and I asked him if he would try treatment with steroids - even though I knew the chances would be slim - he refused saying that there would “no point”.

I’m waiting to see if hearing aids will give me any useful hearing back. So, that’s the back-story but I noticed that if I tap my ear I can hear a resonant squelching sound. I’ve never seen this mentioned in anything I’ve read about SSHL.

Has anyone experienced anything similar to this?

Thanks. John.

I thought sshl was permanent

I’m sorry @john2: - I can’t easily imagine the type of sound to which you are referring. Could you please offer a more detailed description?

I also was diagnosed with SSHL early this year, although my symptoms and treatment differed. Total bilateral deafness upon waking one morning. Gradually returned at a significantly reduced level over about a week. I did have the feeling of fullness or stuffiness in my ears and the mastoid bone behind the ear as well. I have NOT experienced the noise you are. Did steroids (oral), this really helped my lower frequencies , but actually left me worse off as everything “booms” now, drowning out quite a bit of speech.

I was told that I am left with a common loss pattern and just get HA’s, I came here to learn about them (and I’ve learned a lot)

@john2 I would strongly suggest that you get a script for an mri from the ent. I am very surprised that they didn’t suggest it to begin with. I had a sudden loss on my left side about 4 months ago. Turns out its an acoustic neuroma (brain tumor).

Now granted, the chances of it are small, however they are there - as evidenced by the fact that I was diagnosed with one.

The issue, as my ent put it, was not the loss, but the one sided loss. When loss is dissimilar it can point to another problem.

Hopefully they can take a scan and rule that out. I was told if it wasn’t a tumor then they may never know why it happened. Could be a viral infection, some other unrelated cause, and that they may never discover exactly why, however ruling out AN is a good idea.

Hi Spud,

If I tap the tragus firmly but just hard enough to push the tragus and temporarily seal the ear I hear a pop ( this is probably a better description than squelch ) with a lot of reverb. My right ear doesn’t make this sound. I’m guessing that this is because I have lost nearly all my low frequency hearing.


Was your SSHL diagnosed quickly? I didn’t get a correct diagnosis for weeks.

Hi Janofh,

To be fair the 2nd ENT is arranging an MRI. I had an ear infection around 14 years ago that left me with tinnitus. So I’m assuming that predisposed me to SSHL.

I now have the same tinnitus ( high pitched tone ) plus a new low level noise that sounds like a tyre on a road - this sound doesn’t bother me.

Occasionally the high pitch tone disappears, which is a new phenomena and leaves me with the low level rumble ( which is strangely soothing ).

I’m glad I have found others who have gone through this process.

It can be pretty scary. Definitely want to rule out AN. Thankfully I don’t have the dizzyness or vertigo issues that frequently accompany it.

Tinnitus is a pita sometimes. Mine increased in volume significantly when the AN affected my hearing. I was hoping hearing aids would lessen it - not much for me :(. It does help many though.

48 hours. I ran around in a panic for about 6 hours but because of Covid concerns I was waiting for my physician to call back (to my wife). At lunch I started to here loud sounds, though indistinct. When my dr called me made a presumptive diagnosis. Had a call in for an ENT to call me. The next afternoon I got a call back, hear improved more, he talked to my wife. decided to wait overnight. Next day a bit better, he started me on streoids, a week later I was roughly where I am now. His guess was a rare vaccine reaction. I couldn’t have been more scared if I was tied up, smeared with barbeque sauce and thron in a cage with a pack of Pit Bulls.
I did get a scan but that was about a month later, the positive response to the steroid made him feel that I didn’t need one, but “just to be safe” he ordered it. It was a nice confirmation.

What upsets me most is that the only person feaking out was me! I just lost a bunch of one of my senses for crying out loud.

Thanks. I understand much better now. I’m afraid I have no ideas to offer you at the moment.

The action you describe (when I perform it), increases the air pressure in the ear canal, causing the tympanum to deflect inwards.

This, in turn, causes the auditory ossicles to move. Normally, the movement is miraculously smooth and exquisitely responsive to pressure gradients. The arrangement of the ossicles transmits energy - it doesn’t store it like a spring.

Your hearing a “pop” leads me to suspect that the smooth incursion of the ossicles is possibly being prevented by some kind of physical interference. Eventually, your finger pressure on the tragus increases the pressure on the tympanum and ossicles sufficiently to push them past whatever subtle obstacle they are encountering with a snap.

The sudden bump of the stapes against the round window is perceived by your brain as a ‘pop’

I’m not a medical doctor, nor am I in any way competent to diagnose what ails your hearing - I’m only offering one idea, the physics of which is enticing to me as a possible cause of a popping, rather than a squishy sound. I have no idea of what medical conditions might possibly interfere with the normal trajectory of the auditory ossicles.

The only reason I have for my public, amateur speculation is to suggest that if this type of phenomenon is possibly occurring, it needs - in my patently unqualified opinion - to be thoroughly investigated by the appropriate medical professionals. That’s my only purpose to sharing my ideas with you.

Here’s a link that describes just one of a number of possibilities.

I wish you complete and immediate resolution of your hearing loss.

SSHL can be caused by tumors or a virus can cause it like in my case. I’m not talking COVID although I suppose that could cause it I don’t know. I caught a virus from someone at work in 10/2019. Had SSHL occur 2 months later. I know someone else that had a virus aboot 12 years ago and as a result, reduced hearing and tinnitus.

I had a CT scan and a week later, an MRI which didn’t show any tumors. However as a new patient, it took 3 weeks to see an ENT. The ENT diagnosed SSHL and not an inner ear infection. The one thing I discovered with sudden hearing loss that non-ENT doctors aren’t familiar with is that sudden hearing loss is an emergency. If you’re not having pain, a regular doctor can misdiagnose a hearing loss as an infection that will resolve itself.

With SSHL not caused by a tumor, or at least I don’t think caused by a tumor, I don’t know, is time is of the essence. The sooner one can get into an ENT that diagnoses SSHL after it happens, the more chance of restoring most of the hearing starting with the steroid treatment. Some people have had success with hyperbaric chamber treatments. In those cases, if the treatment can be administered within a couple of days, the better the chance. Once you get into a week or more after, your chances are reduced. My doctor wasn’t sure what to do next. The one good thing was I discovered I could still hear normally with the hearing aid in my other ear. My husband asked me to ask about a cochlear implant. When my doctor wasnn’t sure what to do, I mentioned it not thinking that was even a possibility. She then lit up and said that was the plan that we would take. She didn’t perform those operation, but referred me to a neurosurgeon that did.

If you are a candidate through evaluation, the sooner you have the surgery, the better your rehab will be. That’s not to say someone who has waited some time or years, won’t be successful in rehab, the rehab might take longer. Compared to loss or reduction of sight, there are options with hearing.

Thanks SpudGunner,

I have a lot of activity in my tensor tympani and some conscious control over it. I had wondered if one of the bones had become stuck. This, I think, would account for the low frequency hearing loss and perhaps the resonant sound I get form contact with the ear. Cholesteatoma and Otosclerosis fit the symptoms. Though I don’t have any pain.

Hopefully my MRI will be able to diagnose if either of those is the case.

Cheers. J

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Bilateral deafness. I can’t imagine how traumatic that was. Not being able to communicate with the doctors properly. I’m thankful my hearing loss has only been unilateral ( Left )- but live with the fear that it might happen to my other ear.

Thanks. J

My friends and family have taken my hearing loss quite lightly too - don’t think they realise how scary it is. I was very down about it when I got the diagnosis. I’m starting to look for the positives. If I get hearing aids with bluetooth I can listen to podcasts at inappropriate times. Weddings, funerals that sort of thing. I joke of course…mostly.

Thanks. J.

You’re quicker than me, I took weeks to figure that out!

Yeah - I was lucky that my wife took it very seriously and is very supportive. Also, when I had a hearing test at the ent the audi that saw me was amazing. He said ‘I know you have an appt with an ENT in about two weeks but that’s too long - I want to get you in to see someone today’ and I did, and get on steroids)which unfortunately didn’t do anything). The first ent actually was lousy, but the second was great and was the one who pushed for my mri.

I have bilateral otosclerosis and I can tell you that it doesn’t cause any pain as such at all….

@John2, I was diagnose with SSHL about 4-5 years ago. I spoke to the AuD at the time I suffered this SSHL, he completely ignored me. At this stage I didn’t know about the urgency of treatment starting quickly.
I kept telling him at all my appointments he just ignored me. By this time it was months later and far too late to do anything about treatment. I made an appointment with a different AuD in the practice, I told her I couldn’t hear in my R ear. By this stage I was hourly fed up not being able to hear well even with my HA’s. In the end I had to thump the desk and raise my voice “will you listen to me” I can’t hear in my R ear. My getting cranky with her got her attention, she did an audiogram and found that I had significant loss in that ear. This was 4 months later, at this stage nothing could be done at all. The end result is I now have a CI in that ear… It’s the best thing I ever did.

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