My mother is 90 years old and in a nursing home. In the last three months she has gone from nearly normal hearing to being profoundly deaf. For the last month or so she has complained of fullness and a "blocked" feeling in her ears. She says it's constant in her left ear and comes and goes in her right. At her best she can understand speech at a normal level, but most times she will not hear unless you shout in her right ear. The nursing home's PCP examined her for earwax and said the amount of wax was normal and there was no sign of infection. They have an ENT doctor who could come for consultation but they refuse to call him because the PCP thinks it is chronic hearing loss due to old age. Can that possibly be right? This has come on so quickly. Also she was recently operated on for colon cancer so I can't help but wonder about metastasis. She is really uncomfortable from this and I'm going crazy trying to find some way to help her.
Is there anyway you can take her out of the home to an ent who specializes in the ear. usualy a neurotolgist. They have audiolgists in the office and your mom might be able to get a workup in one visit.
We might have to do that, if there is no way to get help to come to her. She is very weak and frail though, she can barely stand by herself and doesn't have a wheelchair - I doubt if the home would let one of their wheelchairs off the premises. Thanks.
Hi there, I understand your concern and feeling like your hands are tied. I really don't have an answer for you, just a thought. Some types of antibiotics can actually cause hearing loss. For the life of me, I can't remember the exact ones as I am still awake at 1:45 am. I want to say vibramycin or something like that, I apologize to you. I don't really think that it is metastasis of the cancer as she probably would have dizziness, nausea, vomitting, etc. I hope you get your answer and it's good to know how much you care for her! take care, tmv
One other thought, but the dr should have been able to pick up on it during the exam and that is fluid in the ears or even an uneven pressure. When your ears need to "pop" like when you are up on a mountain or in an airplane, the eardrum actually gets sucked in instead of being convex. This can afftect hearing as well.
The nursing home PCP finally relented yesterday and agreed to order a consult with an ENT. The only downside is that it won't be a scheduled visit, so I won't be able to arrange to be there. Instead I'm trying to make sure that everything the doctor needs to know that my mother can't tell him is in her chart.
Yes, her symptoms really do sound like ear block to me (except that her deafness is pretty profound sometimes), but the doctor said her exam was normal. As you say, he really should have noticed any bulging inward or outward. We're waiting to hear what the ENT says.
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