What's next after "non-medical" diagnosis?

Long story short (so I can get to the point), I had my first “real” hearing check yesterday at Costco and had a very positive experience. Previous to this, I had self-diagnosed as a cookie biter from the Mimi IOS app, reading forum posts and experiences, etc., and yesterdays appointment confirmed what I already knew.

My question is this: what’s next? Should I follow up with an ENT, audiologist, or other medical professional? I think I’m only concerned about following up if there’s a possibility that my hearing will get worse over time AND there’s something a medical professional can do about it that a HIS cannot. If the general consensus of all hearing professionals is “yeah, you have hearing loss. Get hearing aids and deal with it.” it’s kinda hard to justify the added time and expense of hearing that again from someone else, but with a pretty degree on the wall. I guess maybe an official diagnosis may be helpful from an ADA standpoint in the future? Anything else I’m not thinking of? Those of you that were first diagnosed by non-doctors, what did you do? And yes, I ordered hearing aids and am eagerly anticipating their arrival; I’ll chronicle that separately.

You should always follow up with an ent and go from there

Interesting. Why is that? What advantage will that provide me, or what additional information or advice would I expect to receive?

My hearing loss is a cookie bite loss. I have read it is genetic but I don’t know of anyone in my family with my type of hearing loss. I wasn’t told I had a hearing loss until I was leaving the Navy in 1977, never really noticed hearing issues until 1999, and didn’t get aids until 2005. The Veterans Administration has me as service related hearing loss and I am classified as hearing disabled. My present Audiologist says my loss maybe genetic but made much worse due to my military service.

Yes you should get an ENT to check your ears, I had to to qualify for aids, it seemed to be a state requirement at the time. I now get yearly hearing test and if I have an abnormal amount of more loss then I have to see an ENT.

first of all, thank you for your service.
Second, what would an ENT provide me that I’m missing right now? I’m not looking to “qualify” for aids, my insurance doesn’t cover them anyways… so I’m failing to understand the perceived advantage.

Mostly the ENT will check to see if you have nerve damage that could prevent hearing aids from hearing you, and they also check closer than most Audiologist for wax issues and ear drum issues.
I am like you I sometimes wonder why bother. Did the Costco hearing tech say what aids he or she recommended, that could be an indication that you more than likely are okay to get aids. I haven’t ever gone to an ENT without it being required of me to do so. I never volunteer to go to any doctor if I am not sick.

They recommended the KS10’s, which I pretty much walked in the door wanting to buy anyways. I work remotely 100% of the time so streaming/connection to multiple devices is paramount for me, and as much as I love my AirPods they aren’t “all day” comfortable for me. The HIS said my ears were devoid of wax build up (which I expected, as I swim almost daily and keep my ears clean) and my understanding is that cookie bite almost never points to ear drum issues. I tried the KS10’s out for a while and if I wasn’t such a prime example of masculinity :rofl: I would have cried when I had to give them back at the end of the appointment- they helped that much. So I’m not sure what an ENT would tell me at this point that I don’t know, but I’m open to hearing others experiences!

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Let look at a somewhat similar situation:
You are driving from New York to San Diego in a few weeks. You notice smoke from your exhaust pipe. At the gas station the kid tells you that you are 2 quarts of oil low but he can add two quarts and you’ll have the right amount. He has indeed restored your oil level to it’s proper level. But can’t tell you if, when, and how fast it will get worse. Can you make it to San Diego without major issues? Maybe, but why not see a good mechanic and get his take, then you can decide what to do with the additional info. Add your wife and newborn quintuplets in the backseat, does that change your decision?

Right now you are looking at only the symptom (hearing loss) and a fix for that (hearing aids). Not the cause. Of course there is a good chance that there is nothing that the ENT will discover , but , in my opinion, it’s worth a few hours/bucks .

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to be clear, I guess I’m looking for something more… substantive? Specific? Like if someone were to tell me “there’s a chance that your hearing will get indeed worse, but there’s a test that only an ENT can do that will show you “X”. And if that’s the case, you can do “Y” and stop the progression.” then it’d make sense to me. But just knowing the cause? I mean… unless knowing the specific cause gives me better tools with which to treat it or possibly prevent it getting worse, I’m not seeing the justification.

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There really isn’t a clear cut answer. An ENT is good Fri trying to determine the cause of the loss, however, even that is not guaranteed. I had a sudden loss and from an mri the ENT suggested found an acoustic neuroma. But that’s me. I have an unequal loss due to that. My doc specifically stated that what concerned him wasn’t the loss it was the unequal loss, and wanted to try to find out now.

If you are pretty sure that your loss is due to age/noise exposure or similar then at least a doc can make sure your ears are ok medically. However going to a doc certainly can’t hurt…

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Suggestion: read more of what’s already in/on the site and learn about the panoply of medical conditions that can cause hearing loss, and might be diagnosed by an ENT

Then come back and continue stirring this pot, if you will.

My take is that if hearing aid specialist didn’t mention any warning signs, there is no need to see an ENT. The big thing ENTs pick up on is tumors and those are usually associated with single sided losses. There’s nothing wrong with seeing an ENT and they MIGHT pick up something unusual, but I also think it’s reasonable to skip it (assuming HIS didn’t mention anything. ) Your hearing likely will get worse over time, but there’s nothing medicine can do about it at this time.

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I’ve been doing that ad nauseum… kinda obsessed over it after getting a “real” hearing test and seeing the graph at moderate or “moderately severe” for those that have that additional level. I keep getting back to cookie bite = genetic, and almost all providers simply say “wait and see”. That’s why I was wanting to hear from the awesome folks on here and get their ideas and experiences. Seems almost certain that my hearing certainly “can” get worse with time… and no one wants to say what the chances are. Maybe I’m just worrying… if my mid range is this bad at 43, am I going to be able to communicate with my grand kids? How bad should I expect it to get? Thanks for your input, sir. Much appreciated!

I guess the answer is the only people who could give you someting more substantive are the ENTs.
There are diseases that affect hearing - autoimmune, age related, genetic.
There are medications that can cause it as well.
Heck, you could have tumors ithat are to blame (I would think both sides at the same time would be rare though)

When I was practicing , people would come to me for toothaches wanting extractions -“No x-rays though,doc” but I had seen enough nasty stuff in peoples mouth to not take that chance with their health. Same with people wanting implants without a good scan, the one time you fly blind is the first time you will regret it.

However, it’s your body, your life. But, on the outside chance that they might find something…or you could read the threads here on cochlear implants. If those don’t make you want to be careful, nothing will.

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I hear your worry, @adambullock, and I emphasize, but - and I’m trying not to be too blunt - 14 hours of research on the site to understand a miracle as complex and subjective as one’s sense of hearing is not, by my gauge of it, “ad nauseam”.

There are many who share your concerns and, (for want of a better term, (which I’m not using pejoratively), angst. They have written eloquently and voluminously about it here on the Forum.

There’s no objectively demonstrable answer to your question except to say that seeing an ear, nose and throat professional face-to-face, in the context of a medical consultation, may be you best bet to finding a shorter road to your peace of mind.

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Unfortunately medicine hasn’t come up with a way to predict how any given person’s loss will proceed. Heck in a lot of cases they are guessing at the real cause. Even people with similar audiograms with have different experiences in how it will progress.

Unfortunately this means that the only thing you can do is wait and see (hear) what happens. You may have a steady decline, it might stay the same for years and then drop, it might even never get worse then it is right now, or it might do something completely different.

An ENT could tell you if you have one of the rare causes that can be fixed, but a good audiologist or His should be able to pick up signs of the possibility and refer you if that is the case. So if you trust the His who did your evaluation, then I don’t think an ENT is going to give you the answers you are seeking.

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I don’t understand. You asked if you should see an ent and now you’re questioning everyone who says yes. So far all you had done is a hearing test. You don’t know why you have a loss. An ent is a medical doctor. You want to make sure your loss is not medically related. Some people develop loss because of a benign tumor which can be removed. In some states an ent visit is required before seeing an audiologist. People here are trying to help you and answer your questions. But you’re free to do as you please. Relax. Why challenges everything. Wait till you see an audiologist. We’re here to help. You’re going to have a thousand questions because this whole process can be very once. But you need to listen. You asked and people are tryu g to give you informed answers. But one thing about hearing loss. There are not always cut and dried answers. And everyone’s loss is different. The e t may not be able to answer your questions. But most people don’t lose hearing for no reason. If you don’t want to see an ent then don’t. But I got a feeling you’re going to come back here complaining about how you’re getting ripped off

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Actually, what I said in my original post was “I think I’m only concerned about following up if there’s a possibility that my hearing will get worse over time AND there’s something a medical professional can do about it that a HIS cannot.”
and followed up with
“What advantage will that provide me, or what additional information or advice would I expect to receive?”
and also
“what would an ENT provide me that I’m missing right now?”
I guess I was just hoping for more specifics as to why and what specifically I may get from that experience. I’m not meaning to be insulting by asking questions or “challenging everything”… asking questions I can’t find the answer to is just how my brain works and I thought this was an acceptable place to do so. I meant no insult to anyone. I apologize if follow up questions come across as… combative? Or however they were interpreted.

We all are human and have personalities.

Your question can go different directions easily.

I agree with if your trained fitter, HIS, audiologist etc didn’t see a reason for you to see an ENT, I wouldn’t worry about it. Your hearing loss is for the most part balanced, pretty normal really.

But, if you feel the need to verify you don’t have a medical problem with your hearing, see an ENT.

Hang in there, you really have come to a great place to learn about your hearing loss and hearing aids.

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See an ent. No one here can tell you if your hearing will get worse

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