On January 24 I rather suddenly developed severe pain in my left ear. I also quickly developed ringing, popping, and hearing loss. As it was a Sunday, I went to an urgent care facility and was, unsurprisingly, diagnosed with acute otitis media. I was given a 10 day course of antibiotics and told to take decongestants and a steroid spray to help clear my ear. After 12 days I was still experiencing symptoms, so I went to my PCP and was advised to use Afrin for at most two days to try to open up the Eustachian tube. Finally, after a little over two weeks, my ear drained. But my hearing did not return.
So yesterday I went to an ENT. He examined my ear and confirmed that the infection seemed to have cleared nicely. Tympanometry revealed slight negative pressure in my left ear, but nothing significant. Then I had a hearing test. As I suspected, they found a moderately severe hearing loss (~65 dB starting at about 1 kHz) in my left ear. They also found a mild hearing loss (30-35 dB) in my right ear. They did a bone conductivity test, which showed nearly identical results.
So the next step is apparently an Auditory Brainstem Response test (ABR), scheduled for March 3. Unless they find something they don’t expect in that, though, I guess I’m looking at at least one hearing aid.
This is all still pretty new, and I’m still adjusting to the idea that my hearing isn’t coming back. But at the same time, I have all kinds of questions. Is there anything I should be sure that the doctor doesn’t overlook? What can I expect after my next test? Is it too early to start reading up on hearing aids? Is it really advisable to have just one hearing aid? Are there any questions that I should be asking but don’t even know to be asking?
I’d really appreciate any advice or even words of encouragement you could offer. Although I have a supportive wife and family, I’m feeling kind of alone right now since none of them have any experience or knowledge in this area than I do.