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    Old 06-28-2004, 07:30 PM   #1
    Jeebus
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    Question hearing distortion please help

    i was listening to my cd player a few weeks ago and i noticed that the certain parts of the songs sounded out of tune. i thought something might be wrong with the cd player. about a week ago, every song sounded bad. the next day at work people's voices became distorted. this distortion is happening in my left ear. when i hear one or two people speak it sounds as if they are speaking through a voice synthesizer, like something a person would use to disquise their voice. when its more than a few people and there are other various sounds, the distortion becomes a warbling noise, which sounds like complete chaos in my ear and i am unable to make out anything.

    this problem has been preceeded by about 8 years of pressure in both of my ears. (i am 27 years old now) when i was 19 i began to get a "tickling" sensation in both of my ears, as if someone stuck a tiny feather in my ears and was slowly rubbing my eardrum? the pressure came after that. it feels as if i'm constantly flying in an airplane. shortly after these sensations i began to have muscle spasms in my face and neck, accompanied by what seemed to be twitching inside my ears (sounds as if someone was flicking their fingers right next to my ear, or a kind of thumping sensation).

    i saw a few different doctors back then and was always referred to a neurologist, who of course found nothing abnormal. i was told it was stress, and after a few years i just bought into that theory and learned to live with the discomfort. now, however, my hearing is beginning to be effected. this problem is beginning to consume my life. i cannot listen to music due to the fact that it is sounds completely out of tune. even worse, this can be detrimental to my career which i have worked very hard to obtain. i MUST be able to hear normally to function in my career. i am only 27 years old and would have never thought i'd be having this problem. its like having a bomb dropped on my life and i would appreciate anyone's advice. please let me know if this is not enough information. i will come up with anything at all i've experienced if it can help my present condition. thank you.

     
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    Old 06-29-2004, 04:19 AM   #2
    lib
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    Re: hearing distortion please help

    any other symptoms? check into eustachian tube dysfunction and patulous and tmj. good luck! lib

     
    Old 06-29-2004, 10:16 AM   #3
    Jeebus
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    Re: hearing distortion please help

    i suspected tmj because i do constantly grind my teeth and there have been times where i have opened my mouth and my tmj popped so loud that it sounded like it broke, however there isn't what i'd cosider pain in that area. i do feel the need to constantly pop my neck all the time and i still get that ticklish feeling in both ears. i also have muscle spasms around both ears, in my face and neck. the "thumping" sensation inside my ears happens when the pressure gets bad. i believe that the thumping is muscles in my ear that are twitching, just like in my face and neck. is it possible that the distortion in my left ear will ever go away or can be treated? or is it like tinnitus and will never go away?

     
    Old 06-29-2004, 05:34 PM   #4
    lib
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    Re: hearing distortion please help

    i cant answe that, see a tmj dentist and a good neurotoligist. lib

     
    Old 06-30-2004, 03:24 AM   #5
    susie141
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    Re: hearing distortion please help

    Time for you to go for another ear consult. Distorted hearing can be a symptom of many different problems. I've had it and know exactly what you're talking about with the music. It sounds absolutely awful when your hearing is distorted.

     
    Old 06-30-2004, 04:15 AM   #6
    Jeebus
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    Re: hearing distortion please help

    suzie...how did the music sound to you? how did it sound when people talked? i don't wanna get my hopes up, but you said "had"? did this go away or were you able to have it fixed? thanks for posting

     
    Old 06-30-2004, 02:47 PM   #7
    susie141
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    Re: hearing distortion please help

    First, I must say I don't know much about distorted hearing. However, i know that something as simple as the common cold or a passing virus can cause it. You could have some virus that's not causing other symptoms, but will pass and you'll forget you ever had a problem. It's most likely that your distorted hearing will be short term and resolve without intervention.

    When I first got distorted hearing, music on CDs sounded really out of tune. At first I thought there was something wrong with the CD I was listening to. Then when I changed the CD I thought there was something wrong with the CD player. When music on my friend's stereo sounded just as clashing and horrid, I finally realised it was my ears that had the problem. That was my only symptom for about a week and then I became really sick. (see my other posts if you want more detail there). But as far as my distorted hearing went, it got worse and worse. People's voices sounded like cartoon characters, I couldn't recognise people's voices on the phone, everyday sounds didn't sound as they should. I could hear the TV but not understand a lot of what was being said because of the distortion, but the effect on music was the worst. It was unbearable to listen to. With that distortion I was also rapidly losing my hearing due to a very unusual autoimmune illness.

    If I were you, I'd see a doctor about it, just to be on the safe side. Maybe get a hearing test too. Because if it's only effecting 1 ear, it's harder for you to notice if you've lost any hearing. If you get any worsening of symptoms see a doctor immediately.

    Oh, and yes, my distortion has gone, so there is hope!!

     
    Old 06-30-2004, 08:21 PM   #8
    Jeebus
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    Re: hearing distortion please help

    AWSESOME....thanks to everyone for responding and trying to help. for all this, do you know what ended up helping? i put vicks vapor in my ear, went to sleep, and woke up with about a 90% improvement. i'm almost scared to be too happy, like it might come back or something. that's how bad i've felt for the past couple of weeks. i'm still going to the doctor to get tests and see why this happened. (the one ent doc i saw was a worthless idiot). i'll also tell him what helped me and what he can prescribe for me to take that would have the same effect. (vicks burns the ear heh). so i hope this helps someone else out. thanks for everything. i'll be back again if i get worse.

     
    Old 08-07-2004, 12:23 AM   #9
    Jeebus
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    Re: hearing distortion please help

    i hate to say it but i'm back. all of my same problems are back. nothing i do helps and no doctors know what to do. they either don't believe what i say or just flat out don't know what to do. its all guess work. the distortion is accompanied by horrible pressure in both ears and a loud, low pitched tone in my left hear. it goes away for a couple of days, then comes back for a couple of days. back and forth all the time. no doctors can help and i'm out of answers and ideas. from the looks of this board and others i've seen, it doesn't look as if anyone ever has any luck finding answers. its hopeless and i think its getting about that time where i'm gonna go ahead and give up. thanks for everyone's input.

     
    Old 08-07-2004, 11:35 AM   #10
    Trail Rider
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    Re: hearing distortion please help

    Hi Jeebus,
    I know exactly what you are going through, although luckily for me my symptoms lasted only about a week. That was one week too long though! It is maddening! Voices sounded tinny, echoed in my ear, and that synthesizer sound you described was pretty accurate. Not to mention the pressure I had in both ears. I ended up being tried on Allegra (an allergy medicine) and Flonase which seemed to begin helping that same day. Mind you I had been trying other allergy medicines all along in the hope it would help to no avail, so I am not sure which one actually helped. The ENT I saw thinks if anything it was the Flonase, but then said it may have been coincidental too. I am not taking any chances though and continue to use it every day. I still have pressure and tinnitus in my left ear which has been going on for about 2 years now, but the right ear is the one which was new for me with the distorted sounds. I go for an MRI on the 20th but think it is something I have to live with. I am going to try the suggestion of the sinucleanse posted recently here to see if there is any improvement too. Hope you find some answers and help soon.

     
    Old 08-22-2004, 12:09 PM   #11
    emctrl
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    Re: hearing distortion please help

    Hey look at Stapedial Myoclonus. Sounds like you have many of the symptoms. Good luck.

    [ removed ]

    Kurt

    Last edited by moderator2; 08-22-2004 at 12:41 PM. Reason: website not allowed

     
    Old 08-22-2004, 01:14 PM   #12
    kovena
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    Exclamation Re: hearing distortion please help

    I too have had the same distortion of sounds. I could not even compose my music anymore because I could not hear the notes clearly. It happened after I had a bad bout with candida all through my body, including in my ears and ear drums. Candida does get in the bloodstream and can to to any or every organ in the body. I was hospitalized with meningitis for 4 weeks because of this candida in my brain. They did every test in the world and finally called it non specific Meningitis because they could not find a reason for it. Then I went to a Naturopath MD and he diagnosed it as Candida that turned fungal and spread all over my body , in every organ and nose eyes and ears. I do not know how they test for this but I suggest you go to a Naturopath and tell him what I said and what your symptoms are. You do not have to be a female to get candida, by the way. We all have it in our bodies normally but sometimes a simple infection and antibiotics can cause an overgrowth.
    So get it checked! Also stop all sweets...and any kind of product with yeast in it. It does go away but takes time and is horrible while it is happening. Good Luck and I hope you get better soon!
    "Above All Do No Harm"..Love and Healing Light to All..kovena

     
    Old 09-14-2004, 09:53 PM   #13
    calida
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    Re: hearing distortion please help

    I've had some of the same symptoms. I do not think that science has learned all they should about distorted hearing. CAL

     
    Old 09-15-2004, 10:30 AM   #14
    Chicago Sandy
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    Re: hearing distortion please help (long reply)

    I'm suffering from exactly the same problem (except sounds other than certain musical instruments sound perfectly normal--other than my own voice and other's voices when I hold the phone to my left ear). I am a professional performing singer-songwriter, playing guitar and dulcimer, and this is driving me nuts (I've been able to fake it onstage thus far--I'm not misperceiving vocal pitch--so audiences don't suspect). It started a little over two weeks ago when I felt I was coming down with a cold ("tired" feeling in back of throat, sinus pressure, slight fever). Thought I nipped the cold in the bud with Sudafed, echinacea, vit. C and the Claritin I have to take for my allergies. But exactly two weeks ago I was watching "Jeopardy," and noticed the theme song was flat and distorted. By nightfall, I couldn't abide the sounds of stringed instruments or pianos--anything with attack transients and long decay times (sorry, you non-musicians). Thurs. called my family doc, who was not in. My husband (cardiologist) wrote me a scrip for Biaxin, since I have a history of sinus infections. I held off on filling it. .
    The next day, I excitedly took delivery of a new Martin guitar and couldn't wait to play it--others on various guitar forums had raved about the tone. I tuned it up and it was HORRIBLE! Chords clashed, I heard the scratchy metallic sound of the strings but not the resonant tones of the wood. Took out my other guitars and they all sounded the same! My ears kept telling me they were out of tune but my electronic tuner told me they were spot-on. Made an appt. at a blue-chip teaching hospital with the only ENT who could see me that day. The ENT said my left eardrum was retracted but he didn't see evidence of bacterial infection--deduced I had a clogged eustachian tube and prescribed Sudafed, Claritin, Afrin and some nameless nasal steroid spray he gave me; plus frequent yawning and swallowing. I asked him why the pitch distortion, and he shrugged and said "must be something going on in the cochlea." (Oh, goody--after only a couple of hrs. online, I already knew more about the anatomy of pitch than my own ENT--who I later found out had just finished his residency!). Said he'd never heard of this before. Searching the net showed precious little about the pathophysiology of pitch misperception--only the biomechanics of normal pitch perception.
    It got worse. Had to play four gigs that weekend--got through them only because the PA speakers rolled off the higher frequencies and fattened the sound of my guitar to where it didn't sound so bad and I could easily match my voice to it. But I was at a folk festival and could not jam unplugged--the sound of acoustic guitars, mandolins, and especially autoharps and hammer dulcimers (I play lap) set my teeth on edge. Followed my husband's advice and started a 7-day course of Biaxin, which helps a bit. But it seemed to get worse when my Sudafed kicked in, so I discontinued that and the nasal sprays. I was beginning to suspect patulous eustachian tube because of the weird "synth" octave doubling effect I was hearing with my own voice and the phone--especially since I'd just had a (hard-earned) major weight loss, almost always a precursor. The sensation of fullness, mild tinnitus, etc. fit the puzzle--except pitch distortion isn't cited as a symptom.
    I posted my problem to the guitar forums and the women musican list I'm on, and found several folks who'd had this--but all after ear infections that had first left them temporarily deaf. One gave me the name of her ENT in Seattle who works with musicians, and he referred me to a neurotologist here in Chicago. Saw him a couple of days ago. My audiogram is off the charts--he says I have the keenest hearing he's ever seen in an adult, amazing for someone who used to play in rock bands. I can detect frequencies so high and at such low volumes that it's practically dog-whistle territory. He saw very little eardrum retraction, and suspects either a clogged or patulous tube. But he's more concerned it's in the inner ear or worse, the brain, so I had an MRI yesterday to rule in or out tumor or Meniere's. They let me take the films home.
    The MRI does show one tube wide open and the other one constricted (can't tell which, since I don't know whether the scan was head-on or from the back), and on the narrower side, my semicircular canals located several cm. higher than on the other. The wide open tube looks solid white, with fringes at the end emptying into the middle ear. Obviously, either one tube is patulous or the other clogged--it'll be up to the neurotologist to interpret that and tell me. I can't see tumors, but that doesn't mean they're not there. But it's looking more and more that this is taking place in the ear and not the brain. Let's hope.
    Oddly, distorted rock guitar (sweet, warm tube or grungy crunch) sounds fine, especially played in blues scales, as does harmonica and trumpet. Low-pitched stuff like bass or cello is fine too. Vocals sound great, no dissonance in harmonies. I'm beginning to suspect that my unusually enhanced ultrahigh-frequency perception is causing me to hear the sound of fingers or picks on strings (and hammers on piano strings and bows on violin strings) as actual pitches--which clash with the true harmonics of the strings, which is why I'm hearing such dissonance. Now all that remains to be found out is why that is happening, and how long it will last. Everyone I know got over it a week to a few months later.
    I will post more when I learn more from the neurotologist and/or when I improve.

     
    Old 09-28-2004, 02:30 PM   #15
    Chicago Sandy
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    Re: hearing distortion please help

    It doesn't look good. Today makes four weeks, and it's still awful. Seemed to resolve for a few hours a week ago after drinking lots of water for yet another sore throat; but it came back just as bad. I have consulted three different audiologists and they're all stumped. A distressing development is that I saw a music audiologist yesterday (he treats rock stars and symphony performers), and he measured a noticeable dropoff in low frequencies (about 25-30dB at 250 Hz, 15 at 500) in my left ear; and actually measured the ultrahigh (9kHz-16kHz) frequency threshholds in both ears--which were uniformly dismal, compared to other music pros over age 40 (the only folks for which he measures these frequencies--and nobody else even performs this test. My previous audiologist's assessment of how keen my ultrahigh frequency threshhold was turned out to be merely a theory).

    He found my drums were not retracted, and that in-ear and bone-conduction measurements were consistent--so it's probably inner ear and thus (by now) probably permanent. At least my MRI was negative for brain or nerve tumor; my neuro's nurse's attitude was, "What are you complaining about? You don't have cancer and you have no trouble understanding speech." My first ENT, when the regimen he prescribed didn't work (and may have made things worse) never returned my calls---and the audiologists I've consulted since then have told me I should have been tested right away and put on oral steroids and bedrest within 7-10 days of onset (I saw the neuro at day 10 and he didn't give me oral meds either--and nobody put me on bedrest). I could start them now, but chances are it's too late. The only saving grace was that temporary brief improvement might mean it fluctuates (now better early in the morning) and thus might not necessarily be permanent. One of the audiologists said that eventually my brain should adapt and things will sound normal, as long as it doesn't get worse. He says it's too mild for a hearing aid (which could make it worse) and all normally audible frequencies in the right ear are still fine. If I weren't a musician, I might not even have noticed anything wrong at all--but apparently I have (or had) near-perfect pitch (which, believe me, is a vastly overrated trait). I have drastically increased my water intake (I don't drink enough anyway) and started on vitamin E. It was great this morning but now it's awful again. I have to plug all my acoustic guitars in and tweak the bass just so I can stand practicing. I had a recording session Sunday, and I don't know how I got through it okay. I have over ten grand worth of guitars and they all sound alike to me now.

    Everyone I know who had this got over it within a month--but they all had full-blown middle ear infections first, and there's only a 47-60% recovery rate. You know the old joke they tell you in law school--look to your left, look to your right, one of you won't be back next fall? Looks like when it comes to sudden sensorineural impairment, I'm that "one" who doesn't get to come back.

     
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