It appears you have not yet Signed Up with our community. To Sign Up for free, please click here....



Hearing Disorders Message Board
Post New Thread   Closed Thread
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 09-05-2010, 08:52 PM   #1
Junior Member
(male)
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: New York City
Posts: 18
MLVCnyc HB User
Left-ear fullness/hearing loss-- help!

I'm getting pretty desperate and I'm hoping someone here will have some good advice.

First off, let me say that I'm an audio enthusiast. Always have been and always will be. Not only is it my passion in life, but it's also my job. I'm very precise about where my speakers are in my home...as well as what I use to listen to my ipod with. I'm very conscious of wearing things too loudly or possible long-term damage to my ears.

My problem started last Thanksgiving weekend. I noticed a sort of ringing in my left ear...and a fullness to it. I then noticed that my headphones started to feel unbalanced. The balance had shifted to more the right ear than the left. I figured that it would be an ear wax problem as I've had that in the past.

I went to the ENT that week and he, too, though it would be ear wax but it was not. He asked if I had been sick recently because it looked like my ear drum was red. I hadn't. He decided that this might be eustacian tube malfunction and put me on both steroids and a nasal spray. I ended up getting a SEVERE pain in my chest over the next couple of days and he told me to stop using the steroids.

I went in for a hearing test and the audiologist told me my hearing was perfectly within normal range, although there was a bit of a conductive hearing loss in the low frequencies in my left ear. The Dr. concluded this must be a eustacian tube malfunction and said to give it time.

Well, time has gone on...and very little has changed. I have seen 6 ENT's total and all have told me the exact same thing:
1) conductive low-frequency hearing loss in the left ear (10-15db lower in low frequencies)
2) they don't know why it's happening
3) it's not permanant.

This, however, has been of little consolation to me. It has SEVERELY depressed me. It's made listening to music and watching movies annoying and frustrating. Nothing sounds correct.

I just saw my latest dr and he brought me in for about 2 hours of testing. They did my balance and a bunch of other tests for Meniere's and they said there was absolutely no evidence of it. I've also had a CAT scan and was told there were no problems.

In addition to that, he also told me that it seems like my conductive hearing loss has gone away (which isn't true). Their tests had given him a different result than ones done on me previously.

At this point, I'm going out of my mind. It's affecting my work. It's making me severely depressed. I'm sick of being told that they don't know what it is so I'm turning to the internet.

There are several health things that may be of note:
1) I was recently diagnosed with HSV2 and I'm wondering if this might have some sort of relationship to it. I've read that herpes can attach itself to nerves.
2) At the same time that this happened, I had recently taken myself (stupidly) off of Effexor. I had horrendous dizzy spells for a couple of months but all of my side-effects eventually subsided.
3) My last dr. told me that I might have TMJ...although that wouldn't account for my hearing loss.

Please...I'm begging for some advice or some help. Anything, no matter how strange, will be accepted.

Last edited by MLVCnyc; 09-05-2010 at 08:59 PM.

 
Sponsors Lightbulb
   
Old 09-06-2010, 02:06 PM   #2
Facilitator
(female)
 
MountainReader's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Out West
Posts: 3,664
MountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB User
Re: Left-ear fullness/hearing loss-- help!

It might be worth looking into the TMJ option if everything else has been ruled out.

Ear stuffiness and hearing loss can both be symptoms of TMJ.

I've had a stuffy ear for 19 months now. Also have some new hearing loss as well. It took me lots of time and specialists visits to realize it was actually TMJ that was at the root of things. In my case, my ear problems are my primary symptom of TMJ. I don't have any jaw pain.

The TMJ joint is actually millimeters from the ear. If your TMJ disks have slipped forward, it can push your lower jaw back into your ear. It doesn't take much movement to cause significant symptoms.

There is a lot of good information on the TMJ board. At the top of the board is a sticky with a list of diagnostic symptoms. You will find the ear symptoms listed as well. There is also good information on the types of specialists to see for TMJ as well.

I'm currently a couple months into treatment with a mandibular repositioning splint to adjust my jaw forward a bit, pulling it back away from my ear. Hopefully the disks will slip back into place as well.

 
Old 09-06-2010, 02:30 PM   #3
Junior Member
(male)
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: New York City
Posts: 18
MLVCnyc HB User
Re: Left-ear fullness/hearing loss-- help!

I will say this: when i move my jaw from side to side, it cracks/clicks. I also hear a noise (ONLY in my left ear) that sounds like someone is very quietly scratching on velcro.

I guess that could mean this whole thing is because of TMJ. I'm going to make an appointment this week and see what happens. I *DID* have some dental work very early this year. I was surprised when the latest dr asked me because it's the first time anyone has asked me that. It actually took me off guard and I couldn't remember. He said that the work could have screwed up my jaw alignment and caused this problem.

Maybe all that eating I did on Thanksgiving made it worse. hehehehe.
Ugh...trying to be optimistic.

 
Old 09-06-2010, 03:59 PM   #4
Veteran
(male)
 
esker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Boston
Posts: 395
esker HB Useresker HB Useresker HB Useresker HB Useresker HB Useresker HB Useresker HB User
Re: Left-ear fullness/hearing loss-- help!

The feeling of fullness or stuffiness in the ear can be caused by one of the tmj muscles - the medial pterygoid muscle. It is a jaw muscle. If no other cause can be found, then consider getting a series of intra-oral massage treatments. This means that the practitioner puts on a glove and goes inside the mouth to massage the internal tmj muscles. The practitioner might be a physical therapist or a massage therapist certified in neuromuscular therapy. Three or more visits may be required. Typically it's not covered by insurance.

 
Old 09-06-2010, 04:07 PM   #5
Junior Member
(male)
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: New York City
Posts: 18
MLVCnyc HB User
Re: Left-ear fullness/hearing loss-- help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by esker View Post
The feeling of fullness or stuffiness in the ear can be caused by one of the tmj muscles - the medial pterygoid muscle. It is a jaw muscle. If no other cause can be found, then consider getting a series of intra-oral massage treatments. This means that the practitioner puts on a glove and goes inside the mouth to massage the internal tmj muscles. The practitioner might be a physical therapist or a massage therapist certified in neuromuscular therapy. Three or more visits may be required. Typically it's not covered by insurance.
The last ear dr. i went to gave me the name of a specialist for TMJ and I'm going to call him/her tomorrow and see what's up. I never even entertained it as a possibility so we'll see what happens. Like I said, I'm cautiously optimistic. The one thing that keeps me going is that all 6 dr's told me it wasn't permanant.

The thing that I don't understand is why there's such a (seemingly) drastic difference in audio tests. Is there a normalization procedure for these machines?

 
Old 09-07-2010, 10:23 AM   #6
Facilitator
(female)
 
MountainReader's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Out West
Posts: 3,664
MountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB User
Re: Left-ear fullness/hearing loss-- help!

Please be careful in choosing a TMJ dentist to visit. Not all dentists who treat TMJ are equally qualified. The preferred qualifications for a good TMJ specialist would be someone trained in Functional Orthodontics and Neuromuscular dentistry. There is a sticky at the top of the TMJ board with a list of recommended TMJ dentists by fellow board members who have had success with these dentists.

There is also a lot of information on the TMJ board that will help you put together your list of questions to ask the dentist when you have your visit.

I agree with the intraoral massage. Working the trigger point areas in my jaw area has made all the difference in the world for me.

Good luck.
MountainReader

 
Old 09-07-2010, 10:31 AM   #7
Junior Member
(male)
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: New York City
Posts: 18
MLVCnyc HB User
Re: Left-ear fullness/hearing loss-- help!

Mountain,

Thank you so much for your response! I really appreciate everyones advice!

I just made my appointment for the dr. Its next Friday at 11am. The Dr. is recommended from the last ear dr that I went to.

As far as I know, he is a part of my network so Ill only be out the $25. If he's not the right person, I can always go to someone else. I will check out the board! I'm praying this fixes the problem.

What will he do to find out if I have TMJ?

 
Old 09-07-2010, 11:44 AM   #8
Facilitator
(female)
 
MountainReader's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Out West
Posts: 3,664
MountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB User
Re: Left-ear fullness/hearing loss-- help!

I'm glad you are looking into TMJ as a possible factor in your problems. I wish I had had someone tell me about this long before I figured it out. I didn't have it presented as a possibility from any of the PCP/ear/audiology/dental specialists I saw.

The TMJ dentist should do a variety of tests to determine whether or not TMJ is a factor for you. If it is, most specialists will recommend a mandibular repositioning splint to begin with. For most people, it is an acrylic splint that fits over your lower teeth and has bumps on the top that guide your upper teeth into a "correct" bite. This is not a permenant fix, but it does help the muscles reaclimate to being in a correct position and hopefully results in your disks going back into place. This step is called Phase 1. Phase 2 is addressed with your specialist after you have completed phase 1. For many of us, that will mean crowns or braces to help the jaw maintain correct positioning. That said, for people who have more minor TMJ, sometimes good physical therapy and massage is enough to keep things in control. (That was the case for my dad. He has done his exercises daily for years and has been fine.)

 
Old 09-07-2010, 12:39 PM   #9
Junior Member
(male)
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: New York City
Posts: 18
MLVCnyc HB User
Re: Left-ear fullness/hearing loss-- help!

Just talked to my mom. Both she and my sister have TMJ. It's not inherited, is it?

Like I said, I saw 5-6 doctors and none of them EVER mentioned this as being an issue. It was only the last one that said something.

How soon would I see a reduction in the fullness and loss of hearing...if this is it?

 
Old 09-07-2010, 01:59 PM   #10
Facilitator
(female)
 
MountainReader's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Out West
Posts: 3,664
MountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB User
Re: Left-ear fullness/hearing loss-- help!

Theoretically, you could see improvement within weeks. In my case, the fullness has gradually decreased. I figured it took years to build to that point so I shouldn't expect miracles.

I started treatment in June. I haven't had my hearing re-tested yet so I can't answer on the hearing. Again, theoretically you could have improvement in your hearing, but there aren't any guarantees.

 
Old 09-07-2010, 05:20 PM   #11
Junior Member
(male)
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: New York City
Posts: 18
MLVCnyc HB User
Re: Left-ear fullness/hearing loss-- help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainReader View Post
Theoretically, you could see improvement within weeks. In my case, the fullness has gradually decreased. I figured it took years to build to that point so I shouldn't expect miracles.

I started treatment in June. I haven't had my hearing re-tested yet so I can't answer on the hearing. Again, theoretically you could have improvement in your hearing, but there aren't any guarantees.
What was your hearing problem? Was it low-frequency hearing loss or overall? Or high-frequency?

 
Old 09-07-2010, 07:16 PM   #12
Facilitator
(female)
 
MountainReader's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Out West
Posts: 3,664
MountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB User
Re: Left-ear fullness/hearing loss-- help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MLVCnyc View Post
What was your hearing problem? Was it low-frequency hearing loss or overall? Or high-frequency?
My left ear hearing loss is overall above the 20 db mark with more decline in the higher frequency range. I've always had "better than normal" hearing in my left ear so this hearing loss came as a surprise.

I've had severe hearing loss in my right ear my entire life that is unrelated to my left ear problems. (I was a preemie.)

I plan on going back to my Audiologist after I've been receiving TMJ treatment for a while longer.

 
Old 09-20-2010, 05:56 PM   #13
Junior Member
(male)
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: New York City
Posts: 18
MLVCnyc HB User
Re: Left-ear fullness/hearing loss-- help!

Well, here's an update: I officially have TMJ.

The dr put the stethescope up to my temples and listened as I opened and closed my mouth. He also pushed on my jaw in several places. He also asked about headaches, etc.

Then he told me that I definitely have TMJ. He wants me to have an MRI done. He told me I might have cartilege damage. He gave me something to help with any possible inflammation, though I don't think I've noticed any difference as of yet.

He said that after he gets the results of the MRI and I've been on the pills, he'll see how bad the damage is and then I'll probably have to get a mouth piece.

We'll see. I'm praying this will be the solution to my hearing problem. I'll probably break down and cry when I can finally hear properly.

 
Old 10-23-2010, 08:21 AM   #14
Junior Member
(male)
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: New York City
Posts: 18
MLVCnyc HB User
Re: Left-ear fullness/hearing loss-- help!

So another update...

I just saw my dr. for the results of my MRI. Apparently the MRI for both the left and right sides showed no skeletal problem so the Dr. said my problem must be muscular.

He wanted to make the mouthpiece molds for me and said he'd talk to my insurance about paying for some of it. He suggested that I continue with the soft foods and the warm cloths on my jaw. He also said that he would talk to me next time about starting a medical massage to help the TMJ as well.

Now, I do have a few questions:
Wouldn't the MRI have shown a muscular problem? I always thought it would show any sort of inflammation that would cause the tinnitus/pressure/hearing loss, etc.
It's not that I doubt that I have TMJ: i still have the clicks when I move my jaw and the ringing gets ESPECIALLY loud if i close my jaw tightly. I'm assuming there could be no other explanation.

I guess I just am scared that this won't take care of the problem or that the dr. is just trying to take advantage of me. I dunno. I'm probably just being paranoid.

 
The following user gives a hug of support to MLVCnyc:
MountainReader (10-23-2010)
Old 10-23-2010, 09:08 PM   #15
Facilitator
(female)
 
MountainReader's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Out West
Posts: 3,664
MountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB UserMountainReader HB User
Re: Left-ear fullness/hearing loss-- help!

I'm glad to hear you are getting answers.

The MRI wouldn't necessarily show the muscle spasms that accompany TMJ, but it should have shown if your discs are still in place. Most people with TMJ have their discs slipped out of place. Part of the purpose of TMJ treatment is to help re-align things so that the discs can go back into place.

What kind of doctor are you seeing? Most people with TMJ end up with treatment from a specially trained TMJ Dentist. There is a lot of good information on the TMJ board about qualifications most of us have found most beneficial for those of us who are receiving treatment. I've found a good functional orthodontist who has a specialty in orofacial pain treatment. Most people want their dentist to be trained in neuromuscular treatment as well so that it treats the function of the jaw, including the bones,teeth and muscles and ensuring they have proper functioning.

My current phase of treatment is wearing a lower repositioning splint. It is helping my jaw become accostomed to being in a correct forward position and brings it away from the ear. It is going to take me 6-8 months in this treatment mostly because of the tightness of my facial muscles that need to get used to my jaw being in a correct position after things being out of place for so many years.

My next phase of treatment will involve either braces and/or crowns to help hold my bite in the correct position. I've ground down my teeth over the years subconsciously trying to get a good bite and now my teeth need to be built back up to help my bite be in a correct position.

For must of us, treatment also involves other modalities as well. I see a physical therapist who is able to do orofacial releases on the muscles in my mouth. Having releases of those trigger points (mostly in my maxillary and pterygoid areas) has made a huge difference in my ear pain level. My PT is also trained to treat my neck and body alignment. Most people with TMJ end up with neck problems as well because the jaw alignment being out of place impacts on the neck as well.

I'd certainly follow-up on the massage route as a critical part of TMJ treatment.

Please feel free to bounce over to the TMJ board for more support. We've learned a lot from each other over there.

 
Closed Thread




Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Join Our Newsletter

Stay healthy through tips curated by our health experts.

Whoops,

There was a problem adding your email Try again

Thank You

Your email has been added








TOP THANKED CONTRIBUTORS



billcindy1 (17), Sanguine2011 (10), Fantine (9), niteskylover (3), Queen always (3), lib (3), rmabowhunter (3), OhMyEars (3), RealityMatt (3), Jacki93 (3)

Site Wide Totals

teteri66 (1165), MSJayhawk (1000), Apollo123 (898), Titchou (833), janewhite1 (823), Gabriel (758), ladybud (747), sammy64 (668), midwest1 (665), BlueSkies14 (610)



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:03 AM.



Site owned and operated by HealthBoards.comô
Terms of Use © 1998-2014 HealthBoards.comô All rights reserved.
Do not copy or redistribute in any form!