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The Doctors Lounge - Primary Care Answers

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Forum Name: Ear Nose and Throat

Question: hearing loss in one ear


toban - Tue Nov 14, 2006 6:30 pm

I have noticed the hearing in my right ear is not as sharp compared to my left. I have no troubles hearing loud noises, but lower noises such as people talking etc, seem to be more muffled. r I ask to repeat. I noticed this problem occured around the time I experienced head injuries this past year. Over the past year I experienced 3-4 head injuries and only one was checked medically. I lost consciousness with each injury. I am assuming I had head concussions but can't say for sure. Injuries due to abusive relationship, not with this person anymore. Anyways could my hearing problem be related to these head injuries?
Dr. Tino Anthony Solomon - Thu Nov 16, 2006 11:47 am

Hello there,

You will need to provide us with more information about your status and medical condition before a cause of your hearing loss can be determined. Demographic details such as your age, sex and current occupation would be helpful to begin to piece the jigsaw together. Do you suffer from any other medical conditions? When exactly did you sustain these head injuries and did you have CAT scans after any of them? What was the duration from the injuries to the onset of your hearing loss? Did you have or do you have any discharge coming from the affected side? Is your hearing loss associated with pain? Has your ear been looked at with an otoscope, an instrument used to examine the external canal of the ear up to the eardrum? Do you have any other symptoms that appear alongside these, such as change in sensation over your face, change in taste, loss of balance, Nausea, difficulty in moving certain areas of your face, like unequal smiling on one side?

If you can answer these questions, it would be of great help to us to attempt to establish a cause. I look forward to receiving your reply.

Kind regards,

Dr Tino Solomon
BSc(Hons) MBBS
Senior House Officer in Surgery
toban - Mon Nov 27, 2006 11:09 pm

Hello, sorry for the slow response..

35 year old female
Occupation: Health Care Aid (work with elderly in their homes- bathing, help getting them dressed etc)

No health problems, healthy

As for the head injuries, they occured over the past year, approximately 2-4 times, maybe every 4 months, but not exactly. I never did have cat scans, or my ears checked with a otoscope. No discharge from my ears, no change in sensation of the face, taste, no loss of balance (except some loss of balance that occured right after head injuries but not continuous).

Each head injury, bump on my head, no major cuts, small scrapes, minor bleeding, dizziness, Nausea, Headache, blurred vision (temporary). I noticed after the second head injury, my hearing seemd to be affected, not majorly, but could tell. One of the last head injuries, which I felt was more serious compared to the rest- vision was very blurred, bad Headache, dizziness etc, that is when the hearing problem seemed to get worse. The bumps, scrapes were on the right side of my head in all cases except for the first injury.

I hope this is enough information, if not please let me know. Thank you for your help!
toban - Thu Nov 30, 2006 9:36 pm

Update...

A doctor refered me to a ear, nose, throat specialist and there was a cancellation yesterday. I had a hearing test done, listen to a series of beeps etc. Anyways he determined that the hair/nerves? in my middle ear are damaged, siginficant damage and suggested a hearing aid. Loud noises I can hear well, low frequency I have trouble with.
Dr. Tino Anthony Solomon - Wed Dec 13, 2006 4:31 pm

Hello there,

Thank you for providing us with further details about your history. You descriptions and subsequent findings are in line with middle ear hearing organ damage due to the trauma. The organs such as the cochlea of the middle ear control balance and hearing. Damage to these can result in permanent hearing loss on the affected side. The hair cells your doctor is referring to are situated with the cochlea and sway from side to side when sound waves are detected. Other hair cells also provide their function of sensing your position in relation to balance.

Unfortunately if your hearing tests confirm a degree of hearing loss then this is likely to be permanent due to the nature of the cause and the area damged. A hearing aid would be a sensible option if this were to be the case as it would restore some quality of life associated with regaining the sense of hearing. As your job involves day to day communication with other people, hearing is an essential sense required and thus partial restoration of this should be a priority. I suggest you visit your doctor for a follow-up appointment to confirm the diagnosis, determine the exact extent of the damage to the hearing organs and perhaps arrange an appointment with an audiologist or hearing specialist who will manage the next phase of your treatment.


Kind Regards,

Dr Tino Solomon
BSc(Hons) MBBS
Senior House Officer in Surgery
toban - Wed Dec 13, 2006 9:50 pm

Hello,

Thank you for the reply. You mentioned that the cochlea controls balance and hearing. I noticed my balance seems to be slightly off at times. I don't fall, but maybe a bit clumsy, slightly off balance. I never experienced this before my injuries. Could this be in relation to the damage to my ear? I don't have any other symptoms or health problems.
Dr. Tino Anthony Solomon - Tue Jan 02, 2007 9:42 pm

Hello there,

It certainly can be coming from the middle ear. Feeling 'off balance' can however be due to many other conditions and I recommend you have a brief check up with your family doctor before it is attributed to your ear problems. There are several drugs available to treat these types of symptoms if it continues to disturb you daily activities or quality of life.

Kind Regards,

Dr Tino Solomon
BSc(Hons) MBBS
Senior House Officer in Surgery
toban - Tue Jan 02, 2007 9:56 pm

Hello, thank you for your reply.

The next time I see my family doctor I will mention the problem about being off balance and have a check up. Thank you for your help!

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