Normal Audiogram - TERRIBLE speech comprehension and other symptoms
I am a 21 year old male with Ulcerative Colitis, and as such I've taken Prednisone many times over the years. While I was on this drug, I would acquire frequent colds and flus and - you guessed it - ear infections. A few times the doctors have examined my ears and said, "there's a bit of fluid in there". My main problem is with my left ear.
Now I haven't had any ear infections for 4 months or more, but I'm still having issues and if anything my hearing continues to deteriorate.
Frequent fullness in left ear
Mild tinnitus (worse in the left ear)
Inability to hear/follow conversations over quiet background noise (cafes, cars, offices).
NORMAL audiogram, with very, very mild conductive loss in the left ear.
Every time I yawn or swallow, my ears crackle.
I play with a band (our rehearsals are always kept to a low volume with a digital drum kit), but it's not possible for me to use earplugs as a singer unless I invest in in-ear monitors which are insanely expensive. My problems had nothing to do with noise exposure initially, but I fear I'm making the situation worse even in settings such as this which other people handle just fine.
I've been using Rhinocort to clear my eustachian tubes for at least a month now, but this has made no difference at all. I also tried one of the short-term decongestants and this made no difference either.
I'm finally seeing an ENT on May 18, but I want to know what my chances are of ever getting my hearing back? What should I ask at my appointment? And why are my test results so normal when I can't hear anything? It's so depressing. Is there a reasonable best case scenario here?