I have a friend who is losing his hearing. It seems mostly age related BUT he has these bizarre ear canals. They are closed and have been for years. He's needed periodic ear wax removal (always a major struggle for the doctor.) I've tried the Murine klit on him but you can't even get the nozzle in. Best you can do is fill his auricle and "massage it in by alternate tugs on his ear.
My feelijng is that LOTS of his hearing loss could be regained simply by opening his ears. Has anyone ever run into this or ever even seen MENTION of it.
I'm doing an experiment involving putting a tiny soft plastic tube in...hard work and needs lube, but it's hard to tell if there's a big benefit without audiological testing equipment. He seems to think there's a hearing improvement.
Has anyone ever heard of an outer ear stent or any such thing??? Perhaps a surgical intervention???
[This message has been edited by zip2play (edited 04-27-2003).]
I think your friend may have full bilateral atresia(absent ear canals) of the ear. There is a surgery called a canalplasty that can reconstruct the ear canals. There are also bone conduction hearing aids which he could use if he doesn't want to go through surgery.I had the surgery a few years ago and while it initially improved my hearing, it did not last and it has caused more problems then it's solved. I still have to wear bilateral aids, my ears ITCHED like crazy while they were healing from the surgery (and I absolutly HATE the feeling of the earwax moving around in there)
and the surgery was FAR too time consuming for me (and I was just a teenager) what with endless follow-ups, having to go home early b/c of ear pain, and repeated surguries...let me put it this way.....I almost had to stay back my jr. year of high school!
I also have to wear earplugs in my ears.....take my word for it....the surgery isn't worth it...I know it sounds great to try for the end result(and I do think it's a worthy goal) but the surgery is too much of a pain!
Thanks for your reply and I'm sorry you went through such agony to rerconstruct the absent ear canals.
My friend, however DOES have canals, they are just "slammed shut" at the opening (or what should be an opemning) into the auricle. It seems also like a tiny muscle of some type might be closing off a rather narrow passage...maybe fat?
I can get it open easily enough but KEEPING it open is beyond me. Now I'm thinking a botox shot?
Funny though, he's been to an "ear-man" who never said a word about the canal-only hearing aids. It really IS closewd tight and HAS to be the cause of some of his db loss.
Sticking tubes in this man's ears is not recommended becuase you could very easily puncture his ear drums. If he has ear canals I would assume they are not closed but maybe just angled oddly making it seem like they are closed. Does the doc have any trouble using an otoscope on him when he gets his ears checked? Also since he has frequent wax buildup he should use Debrox ear drops routinely to help keep the wax soft. If there are any real issues that need to be addressed he should see an ENT to have his ears checked. The hearing loss may be helped by an audiologist so it would be a wise idea to see both an ENT and then an audiologist.
I am seeing an ear surgeon tomorrow (I'm having a stapedectomy done). I will ask if a closed ear canal at the outer edge is common and adaptable to surgery.
Unfortunately the ear-drops won't go in past the outer ear unless I pry open the "opening"....then it won't flow back out for days....not much of an option.
There's little risk in my opening the canal with soft tubing because I only need go a millimeter or two beyond the outer ear-nowhere near the eardrum. The closure is clearly visible to anyone merely looking into his ear from even a foot away.
He's seen an ear-man and had a half-asped audiological testing- unfortunately I think it was a non-surgeon huckster intent only on selling very expensive hearing aids...all too too common. You have NO idea how many people tried to sell me hearing aids before I diagnosed my own otosclerosis (with an Accutron watch that I could hear hum better though my front teeth than my ear). One actually diagnosed my deafness as being caused by years of smoking and eardrums "as red as raw meat"...that would require "treatments" 3 times a week for 6 months.
(Small wonder I have become a "self-tester."]
When I found a crack surgeon and had the NEW stapedectomy procedure done (many moons ago), the hearing restoration was wildly successful.
I'll keep you posted. My guess/hope for my friend is that my surgeon will say- Yes, the condition is common and Yes, a simple stent will cure (help) it.
Trust me I can believe many people will sell you a hearing aid just to make money without ever having you see an ear specialist or doing a really thorough hearing test. Even Beltone one of the famous hearing aid dispensers is rather like that. I have seen it with my father. I have worn hearing aides since I was a child but since he felt his hearing loss was age related Beltone has him in their clutches and I don't feel any of the aides he has worn are really right for him. He is on a fixed income though and has to many other medical concerns that have to be addressed constantly for me to even suggest changing to an audiologist for his hearing aides. His physical health I feel is more important. Good Luck.
My friend, however DOES have canals, they are just "slammed shut" at the opening (or what should be an opemning) into the auricle.
If the earcanals are closed at the opening, then how do you know he has ear canals? I am on an aural atresia listserv, and from what I understand if the start of the ear canal is completely closed, then he probaly would be dx as having atresia.
It sounds like your friend went to go see one of those audis who knows nothing about hearing loss but just makes ten million dollars a year pushing digital dinky aids.
It's a relatively east procedure for me to pull the "opening" open and voila- ear canals- he's had his eardrum otoscoped and dewaxed (with MUCH difficulty) numerous times so he's definitey got canals.
I think I've convinced my friend to see my doc (crack surgeon). In the meanwhile MD gave me a conical earplug for him (soft rubber) with a hole through the middle...which goes in very easily (but unfortunaltely falls out easily also.)
From the middlin' response I'm getting from him and from my doc saying even the teeeniest hole will allow most sound, I guess I might be barking up the wrong tree and maybe heqaring aids are the only thing for him (and for my headaches from having to repeat everything.)
Doc did say something interesting....he said it sounds like he's never had his ears properly cleaned WITH A MICROSCOPE...might be an avenue to pursue.
More on the saga to come
[This message has been edited by zip2play (edited 05-04-2003).]
[This message has been edited by zip2play (edited 05-04-2003).]