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Sudden hearing loss ! ! !
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Sudden hearing loss ! ! !

Almost two weeks ago, I woke up with a hearing loss in my LEFT ear. Went to the doc, got referred to a neurotologist, had an audiogram. No dizziness, no tinnitus. Audiogram was classic Meniere's audiogram with 30 dB loss across the lower 3 frequencies.  Went on a low sodium diet of 1500 mg/day.  Hearing came back and went away again sporadically. When listening to dial tone on phone, sounds tinny and with static. Listening to radio also sounds tinny, but no static.  Am taking hydrochlorthiazide.  

By the time I went to bed yesterday, I had a sudden hearing loss in my RIGHT ear--certainly felt like another 30 dB loss ! ! Left ear is still impaired.  Called and emailed my neurotologist, he's not in, the other neurotologist who is covering scheduled another audiogram for Thursday, and I was told it's Meniere's, now bilateral.  I know the audiologist will do a quick "touch-base" with the neurotologist on Thursday.

Both GP/osteopath & on-call neurotologist would not prescribe an antiviral because they don't think Meniere's is viral (the research is conflicting but leans toward a virus being involved).

Does a BILATERAL hearing loss due to Meniere's happen **this suddenly**?   Within LESS THAN 2 weeks???

Am I going to be permanently deaf as this progresses fast???? Is there ANYTHING I can do?

Feeling scared and all alone. Please help.  
1978476_tn?1327931589
Hello, thank you for posting your question and concerns. I must say that you are definitely in the right hands with a neurologist and Audiologist.
There are many things that cause "sudden" hearing loss including Meniere's Disease, Auto-immune disease, viruses that attack the inner ear, medications, etc..
What most Audiologist recommend is a trip to a neuro-otologist to investigate the etiology of the loss where they will then prescribe treatment options along with a diagnosis.
My suggestion is to be persistent with your physicians to get treatment ASAP.  When it comes to sudden hearing loss, the longer it goes, the less likely it will recover.

I'm sorry I do not have better news for you on this situation. Good luck and please do let us know what your diagnosis ends up being.

Thank you for using the forum,

Rachele M. Orsini, Au.D.
12 Comments
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152264_tn?1280358257
Have they considered AIED (autoimmune inner ear disease)? Although I don't know what frequencies that affects (I'm not an expert). I think usually for sudden hearing loss or AIED they give steroids, but if they are sure it's Meniere's maybe not, I don't know.

Sorry, that must be scary for you. I had a sudden severe hearing loss in my left ear but it was high tones and due to sneezing. No recovery of hearing, but my right ear remains fine.

Good luck--I hope your hearing comes back. I hope your neurotologist will act fast and/or that you'll get a second opinion if they don't.

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Avatar_f_tn
Hi, Nancy, blood work ruled out AIED.  Thanks for the suggestion and reply!
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you Rachele, for posting a reply and offering suggestions!
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Avatar_m_tn
I am so sorry to read of your situation. I had a very similar thing happen to me last year. I developed sudden low frequency hearing loss and tinnitus in my right ear. Sounds were completely distorted (even my own voice) and I also had some dizziness. Strangely, I work in the hearing industry so I am fortunate to have access to good people.

My strong advice to you is to get a few opinions. There are a range of views and treatment approaches within the industry.

The first ENT specialist I saw advocated a conservative wait and see approach.

The second ENT specialist I saw admitted me immediately to hospital for a steriod injection into my eardrum (I had earlier been started on oral steroids, which had some effect, but this ceased when I stopped taking them). Fortunately this was effective and my hearing is now completely restored. This type of treatment needs to happen within a few weeks of onset of initial symptoms.

I am not however advocating that this is correct for you. Everyone's situation is different. That's why it's important to get a range of opinions and decide what is best for you.

IMPORTANTLY, I wanted to let you know that the American Academy of Otolaryngology has just published new clinical guidelines on the management of Sudden Hearing Loss. It certainly supports a more pro-active treatment approach.  Link attached fyi: http://aaobulletin-365.ascendeventmedia.com/highlight.aspx?id=4195&p=349
I think you will find this document invaluable, as it outlines all treatment options.

While my symptoms seemed consistent with a diagnosis of Meniere's Disease, both specialists said that it would be quite premature to make this diagnosis on the basis of one acute episode, and discounted this liklihood. In my case my specialist said he thought the event was more likely linked to an auto-immune trigger initiated by stress.

I wish you well, and a speedy recovery. I found my own personal experience very frightening, and I also felt very vulnerable. I know how you are feeling. In fact your story brought it all back to me.

Please advocate strongly for yourself, seek out a range of opinions and arm yourself with the most expert and authoratative information you can on the subject.

PS I even suggest taking these treatment guidelines with you to your next appointment.

Best wishes, Jenny
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152264_tn?1280358257
Jenny, THANK YOU for posting those guidelines. Very interesting. I was a "victim" of missed diagnosis many years ago. Wish my PCP had had this document.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you so much for all your replies!  Jenny, your info was very helpful!

So far, my hearing loss--at different times in different ears--has resolved itself.  

My thought at this point (it's a little "out there") is that the day before my initial sudden hearing loss, my DH and I got a shingles vaccination.  I know of two people in my group of friends who had shingles and they were so uncomfortable and in pain for a LONG time, and the shingles "sores" (for lack of a better word) were so red and angry and painful looking.  

Anyway, my idea, which I ran by my neurotologist, was that perhaps because I had the shingles vaccine the day before (in my left arm), the live virus migrated to my ear area and set up shop and then my immune system kicked in...then, days and days later, the live virus migrated over to my right ear and tried to set up shop, but again, my immune system kicked in.  My neurotologist said "Could be."  An autoimmune trigger, to my way of thinking.  

Bottom line is we don't know, and we also don't know that it's Meniere's. I guess it's wait and see if/when symptoms come back.  I have a followup with the neurotologist in early June.

Today, I had an MRI with contrast so we'll see if it shows anything.  I am feeling better now, than hopelessly desperate as I was when I first posted, and for that I'm grateful.

Many many thanks to all who post here with help and encouragement!
Sparkly
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152264_tn?1280358257
Great news that your hearing returned! Did you have that confirmed with an audiogram?
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Avatar_m_tn
Jenny,

Normally I do not participate in forums but your situation is so similar to my own that I had to respond.  Six weeks ago I had a sudden hearing loss in my right ear during a terrible viral infection that I caught from my son.  I lost 65 db in the low frequencies, and 40 db in the higher tones.  Within 3 days I did the oral steroids which did not help, then 3 transtympanic injections over 3 weeks.  As of last week my lower frequencies are now at 40 db loss and my higher frequencies are 10 db loss (considered normal, though hearing still doesn't sound quite normal).  Word recognition up from 76% to 92% at 55 db with noise.  I can't say I have really had balance issues.  The improvement seems to have been slow and steady since the injections, and I feel that the quality of my hearing is still *slowly* improving, but I'll wait a few months for another audio test.

The thing is, I was freaking out about Meniere's in the beginning, since my loss is mostly in the low frequencies.  But my ENT told me that low frequency hearing loss does not necessarily mean Meniere's.  Still no balance issues.  She also told me not to make a decision about a hearing aid until 6 months have passed, since hearing can continue to improve even to that point.

How long did your recovery take?

I just wanted to post a somewhat positive story because this experience is very distressing for anyone who goes through it.  I wish all who suffer from hearing loss the very best.
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Avatar_f_tn
My hearing issues have resolved themselves, and my last two audiograms are perfect.  This begs the question of *what* the heck happened?  My neurotologist thinks it may be cochlear hydrops/Meniere's Disease, and I feel strongly that this sudden hearing loss was related to the SHINGLES LIVE VIRUS VACCINATION I had the day before I woke up with the initial hearing loss on my left side.  

My thoughts are that the live virus in the vaccine affected my hearing, then that resolved itself on the left side, but the virus traveled to my other ear and tried to set up shop there.  It makes sense to me, and from what I've read, there may indeed be a link between the vaccination and sudden sensori-neural hearing loss.  

I guess the passage of time will tell if I indeed have cochlear hydrops/Meniere's or not.  Meanwhile, I am following the John of Ohio protocol relative to Meniere's, for keeping the virus in check since I don't have enough symptoms at this point to request/demand a Rx antiviral medication.

Two of my friends had shingles & it was terrible, which is why I felt compelled to get the vaccination, hoping to avoid the terrible skin sensitivity and constant pain they experienced.

I hope this post is helpful to others.
Sparkly



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152264_tn?1280358257
A related discussion, Follow-up to SparklyOats' SHL & shingles vaccine was started.
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A related discussion, hearing loss was started.
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