Hi everyone. I desperately hope someone out there can help. About 4 weeks ago, I lost complete hearing in my right ear about 5 minutes into a shallow Scuba dive (at 12 meters).
Just a bit of history to help ...I am certified but this was only my 12th dive. I have always had problems equilising ear pressure on decending and sometimes have pushed it when I shouldn't have, i.e. lived with the pressure pain. I sometimes suffered slight hearing loss but nothing major...usually just water in the ears and hearing returned to normal within a few hours.
On this particular dive, I did not experience much of a problem with equilising. Everything seemed okay, just slight pressure. About 5 minutes into the dive, I had a sensation of hearing a loud "buzzing" sound (not ringing or whistling) that increased in volume and pitch and then died away. I knew something wasn't right as that sensation or sound wasn't one I have experienced before. I carried on with the dive, as there was no pain associated with this, no dizziness that I was aware of. I kinda hought....we'll it's probably like previous dives...nothing to worry about.
When I surfaced 30 minutes later, I was stone deaf in my right ear. I mean stone deaf, not a sound. I was also very dazed....but not dizzy, no nausea or vomiting. Kinda similar to a concust or semi-concust feeling. That has improved, but 4 weeks later and I still feel a bit dazed. My balance has been fine throughout.
Long story short, I went immediately to an ENT specialist in Cancun (I was on holiday in Mexico at the time). He did various test with a tuning fork, headphones, that lamp gadget they use to look in the ear, plus an ear pressure test. He concluded that I had acute hearing loss in the right ear (less than 90db) and that the "prognosis was not good".
He suggested I may have suffered a viral infection, a spastic nerve?, or a blood clot that restricted or shut down blood flow to a vital part of the hearing system. I am almost certain that my problem is directly related to barotrauma of some description and tried explaining this to him....he seemed to doubt my thoughts. I certainly doubt his.....too much of a coincidence with the problems I have always had with equilising on dives.
I was placed on drugs that included a steriod (Prednisolone 5mg) and hyperbaric chamber treatment to increase oxygen to all parts of the body (not to treat decompression sickness). No improvement.
4 weeks later and I'm back in the UK. There has been slight improvement in hearing over the 4 weeks but as good as useless
. With headphones on, I can hear heavy base and drums but distorted and increasing volume seems disproportional to the increase in volume I get in my good ear...i.e., I get about 10% volume increase total in my right as opposed to 100% in my left. I cannot hear anything above 250hz...so no voices, no nothing except for deep, deep tones and they are faint and distorted.
If anyone can share any information on probable causes, or has had a similar experience, I would be grateful to hear from you. I'm convinced that pressure has damaged something .... that this is not a neurological or viral condition. ENT specialists seem quick to diagnose sudden hearing loss as "ideopathic" (i.e. of no known cause) and that frustrates me. Hearing is important to all of us and these specialists seem reluctant to actually work on the problem. By the way, I had a MRI scan done and the ENT fella called to say "good news, all clear with the MRI"
Desperate, please help.