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Hearing loss!

Specializes in Cath Lab, OR, CPHN/SN, ER.

Hello! I saw the other thread, but didn't want this to get buried in there.

I lost part of my hearing last year (May 24, 2007 around 10pm if you want to be exact). LOL I had been a nurse 2 years before that, we had just moved across the state, and I was waiting to start my new job. It started with ringing in my right ear, and it wouldn't go away. I also noticed some numbness around that ear.

Next day- still ringing. We went and saw the 3rd part of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie (it came out the 25th), and then I said "it's not going away and my face is still numb, let's go to urgent care". Doofus there said to keep popping my ears and it should go away, but he did offer for me to get a MRI. My insurance was about to expire, so I said yeah, let's do it. I had an MRI that night. About 5pm that day, the vertigo started as well. Let me tell you, it sucked! Luckily, I knew from the ER I could take meclizine (AKA non-drowsy dramamine), so I started that.

Got a call that it could be a tumor, we'd repeat the scan with contrast. By this point, I've totally freaked myself out, and knew it was brain cancer and I would need chemo and radiation. Hint- stay away from google when you're sick. You can sprain your ankle and you can convince yourself you have cancer!

The vertigo was in full force. Meclizine made it possible for me to get out of bed, but I need my husband to help me get dressed and get to the recliner where I stayed most of the time. I couldn't take care of my daughter- I couldn't even hold her, b/c I was so dizzy!

Not a tumor (Praise God!), and the hearing improved slightly with a course of prednisone (I couldn't afford the antivirals). Before I could get my husband to whisper in my ear, and without feeling the breath, didn't know he was talking. Now I know someone is talking on that side, but have a hard time figuring out what they are saying.

I was terrified about work. I was inbetween jobs, and was getting ready to start in a new ER. I just knew I would have a patient code because I couldn't hear, or would miss some important part of an assessment.

I started (thank God the vertigo stopped after a few days, I was tired of not being able to drive) work. I was very honest with my coworkers about my disability. I had people who thought I was ignoring them because they were on the bad ear side. LOL

My biggest problem now is the vertigo. I don't get it often, but if I get sick, it flares up. We (my husband and I) have been trying to have another child for a while, and the ENT made sure to let me know I'd probably have vertigo problems once I got pregnant. I had to use Valium for a while when the attacks were bad and the meclizine wouldn't help- I keep meclizine with me always, and the valium is at home.

I tried an aid a few months ago. Honestly, it didn't do much for me. One of my worst times is when I am out with a crowd, and everyone is talking. I can't understand if I don't sit at the right spot. It didn't do anything to help me there. I'd forget an put my stethoscope in my ear also! Since I left to do school health earlier in the year, I don't have to assess nearly as many sounds as I did in the ER.

I don't know any sign languages yet, but would like to, in case my hearing worsens down the road.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Have you seen a really good specialist?

I have a sensorineural loss bilat, worse in my right ear. The aid helps a lot with conversation. I turn it off in crowds.

Aneroo, LPN

Specializes in Cath Lab, OR, CPHN/SN, ER.

I think she's pretty good. We're in a small town, so we're limited (one big ENT office and one small one), but insurance doesn't cover any of it. Go figure. You lose your vision- insurance covers it. Lose your hearing, you're screwed!

athena55, BSN, RN

Specializes in critical care: trauma/oncology/burns. Has 38 years experience.

Aneroo:

SO what was the final diagnosis? Autoimmune? Meniere's Disease?

Many people who are diagnosed with an Acoustic neuroma often describe being able to "hear their heartbeat (pulse) in their affected ear" (I used to work at a School for the Deaf, in the ENT clinic) but you mentioned that they ruled that out....

Do you have hearing loss in your "good ear"? If you don't then it is just a matter of training yourself to lead in with your "good ear or side"

Do you have recruitment? You have already tried the hearing aid, may I ask for how long? As many of us with hearing loss and users of hearing aids can attest to, it can take a while to get used to using one....

What I do is when I leave a patient's room I back out, in case the patient continues to talk to me as I leave.

And you are still having problems with your vertigo. OUCH, sorry to hear that.

athena

theresa1

Specializes in day surgery.

Hi there, new to this, so hope I don't make any mistakes!

I have been wearing hearing aids for eight years now, and still have trouble in noisy environments, not good when you work in an operating theatre with all the equipment beeping and theatre staff chatting etc!!!

I have recently started to experience pulsitile tinnitus and have an appointment to see an ENT specialist next week. I am terrified that I have an acoustic tumour. ENT is not one of my strong points as I have never worked in that area. Does anyone know much about acoustic neuromas and the out come? I know that they are benign, but that the treatment involves a lengthy operation that results in complete deafness on the affected side. Am I right?

Keep fingers crossed for me :icon_roll.

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 43 years experience.

I experienced "Sudden Hearing Loss Syndrome" 15 years ago, when I was 38 years old and in graduate school. In the span of about 10 seconds, my right inner ear died -- probably the result of an otherwise asymptomatic virus. I lost 100% of my hearing and balance on my right side and developed severe tinnitus and a very faint mild decrease in my facial sensations on that side as well.

Sudden Hearing Loss Syndrome is a known phenomenon that effects thousands of people each ear. Some people just lose a portion of their inner ear function. Others, like me, have a total wipe out.

It took me a few years for life to seem "normal" again to me -- but eventually, I did "get used to" my new way of being in the world. Over the years, I have met a few other people with similar histories -- and most of us are doing just fine. You can too -- but it does take time, patience, and the ability to adapt.

You might want to check out another website -- an online organization of people with hearing impairments, most of whom developed those hearing problems as adults rather than being born with hearing/balance losses. The group is called The SayWhatClub. Many of those folks have mild/moderate losses like yours and are not part of the Deaf Culture. They are people like us who developed hearing/balance problems as adults and continue to function well in the hearing culture.

Good luck to you.

Aneroo, LPN

Specializes in Cath Lab, OR, CPHN/SN, ER.

I experienced "Sudden Hearing Loss Syndrome" 15 years ago, when I was 38 years old and in graduate school. In the span of about 10 seconds, my right inner ear died -- probably the result of an otherwise asymptomatic virus. I lost 100% of my hearing and balance on my right side and developed severe tinnitus and a very faint mild decrease in my facial sensations on that side as well.

Sudden Hearing Loss Syndrome is a known phenomenon that effects thousands of people each ear. Some people just lose a portion of their inner ear function. Others, like me, have a total wipe out.

It took me a few years for life to seem "normal" again to me -- but eventually, I did "get used to" my new way of being in the world. Over the years, I have met a few other people with similar histories -- and most of us are doing just fine. You can too -- but it does take time, patience, and the ability to adapt.

You might want to check out another website -- an online organization of people with hearing impairments, most of whom developed those hearing problems as adults rather than being born with hearing/balance losses. The group is called The SayWhatClub. Many of those folks have mild/moderate losses like yours and are not part of the Deaf Culture. They are people like us who developed hearing/balance problems as adults and continue to function well in the hearing culture.

Good luck to you.

LMAO- I like the name of the club. I'm always saying "HUH? Do what?" since my husband STILL hasn't learned to not talk and walk away from me at the same time. LOL

Your experience sounds a lot like mine, with the exception of yours being more severe.

You know what really made me mad- we had bought our new cell phones with the blue tooth headset that day. So of course, I couldn't use the ear piece! I can't occlude the good ear. LOL I managed to sell it to a friend who needed one, so we both won there.

Hearing loss runs in my family anyways- my mother wears bilateral BTE's and still have a very difficult time hearing. She was terrified this was something she passed onto me. That's one of the reasons I am so scared about future losses.

Other thing that makes me mad- when the pitch of the ringing in my ear changes. CANNOT stand that! Or when my almost three year old yells *really* loud, it does something to the ringing in my ears and it's so darn annoying. LOL

ETA- I did try the aids for a little over a week, but by the end of the week found myself just turning it off and taking it out. At the time, not worth the money. It probably will be later though. I wish they had some different colors for the aids. I found one that matched my hair, but half-jokingly said if they made a bright pink one, I'd get it. I don't mind that people see it or they know I have hearing loss. I think it might help, since people always want to come up and whisper stuff into the bad ear. LOL

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 43 years experience.

Dear Aneroo,

From your most recent post ... it sounds as if you will do just fine. You have a sense of humor about it and don't seem to be the kind of person to "roll up in a ball and die" about developing a handicap.

But ... it CAN be frustrating. It took me quite a while to fully feel normal. And it does come up again now and then. For example: I stumbled and fell last week. Was it because of my balance deficit? Would I have fallen if my inner ear had been normal? Will I start falling down more often as I get older? Will I have repeated falls and broken bones? Another person would just say "oops" and move on -- but such an incident reminds me that I have a balance handicap and I need to be more careful than most folks just walking around on an average day.

If I can be of any help, don't hesitate to PM me.

llg

Aneroo, LPN

Specializes in Cath Lab, OR, CPHN/SN, ER.

Dear Aneroo,

From your most recent post ... it sounds as if you will do just fine. You have a sense of humor about it and don't seem to be the kind of person to "roll up in a ball and die" about developing a handicap.

But ... it CAN be frustrating. It took me quite a while to fully feel normal. And it does come up again now and then. For example: I stumbled and fell last week. Was it because of my balance deficit? Would I have fallen if my inner ear had been normal? Will I start falling down more often as I get older? Will I have repeated falls and broken bones? Another person would just say "oops" and move on -- but such an incident reminds me that I have a balance handicap and I need to be more careful than most folks just walking around on an average day.

If I can be of any help, don't hesitate to PM me.

llg

Are you done reading my mind? LOL

I was pitiful right after I lost my hearing. I cried and cried, and was so frustrated at my husband because he didn't get it. He joked about it then, but I certainly didn't feel like joking. The song "Praise You In This Storm" by Casting Crowns really helped me through that rough time, and I realized I still had a ton to be thankful for, even for the fact I still have some hearing, even if it isn't perfect anymore. I still get down about it, mostly when I go out with a group of friends and feel totally out of it, and don't hear any of the conversations.

I did fall down yesterday. I was moving too quick, wearing Dansko's on a hill, and twisted my ankle. I hurt so bad, but luckily have a great doctor who wrote for some pain meds. I always am concerned about that too when I fall- was it the vertigo or just me wearing tall shoes. LOL

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