Had the appointment with the ENT doc last week.
Went for (1) the labrynthitis that my GP said was causing my dizziness these past 7 weeks, and-
(2) why has my hearing on my right side been reduced for years- GP thought it might just be sinuses, even though I can breathe fine. I can't pinch my nose, blow and make my ears "pop". They just won't clear. And on the right side it really affects my hearing.
Imagine my shock when, after 90 minutes in the clinic (plus 75 mins in waiting rooms) I discover that I actually have a disease called Otosclerosis, which causes progressive hearing loss.
Otosclerosis- you know those three tiny bones in the ear, and one of them is called the stapes or "stirrup"? They vibrate and this sends soundwaves through to your inner ear-???
Well in this condition they harden till they just stick fast and don't move, hence the deafness.
AND!!! As though this wasn't enough!
- this describes the first stage,
The SECOND stage is when the disease goes into the INNER ear, in which case it actually interferes with the nerves, and how the sound messages are sent along to the brain.
The test for this is with a tuning fork- he made the fork vibrate then held it in front of me and asked WHERE I heard it- to my surprise it sounded like it came from over on the right of me. He carried on putting it in different positions and asking me where I heard it. It was so weird, but I heard it from other directions most of the time, not from where it actually was. (No wonder I can never tell where helicopters are!!!)
The worst one was when he actually touched my head behind my left ear with the fork, and I heard it over on the front right.
So! I was positive on this test, meaning the disease has already got to my inner ear.
Then I had a hearing test-
VERY pleased that my left ear comes up as within normal range. But VERY shocked my results of my right ear- I knew that it was mostly low sounds I can't hear too well as I have noticed this with music; no bass in the right ear, always tinny. But in the test some low noises I couldn't hear on the right till they were at 40 decibels.
The tester also did another test for the spatial hearing. She produced a chart that showed a particular pattern that the ENT doc said confirmed otosclerosis in the second stage. I've since googled it till the cows come home and have at times found examples of this chart with just the same pattern on it. On a positive note I am really pleased to have found a doc that knows his stuff!
SO now I have an appointment in May for a hearing aid fitting! And then another appointment with the ENT doc re the dizziness-
Oh yes! The dizziness! It wasn't labrynthitis at all! SO just as well I got the referral to the ENT as the GP was wrong on that. Wish I hadn't taken all the stuff he gave me for it then, hurrumpff hurrumpff....
The dizziness was something called BENIGN PAROXYSMAL POSITIONAL VERTIGO. This is what it is-
you know that bit in the ear that coils round like a snail's shell? (Cochlea?) Well! A tiny bit of calcified matter had broken off and was floating about in the liquid in this bit. So! The ENT did a procedure called The Epley manoeuvre which means he lay me down till I went dizzy, holding my head in his hands. Then he turned my head right, back, up, down, left etc etc, steering the little bit of matter out of the coil. And it worked! The dizziness has gone! Amazing! Wonderful to see someone who knew what to do!
Mum has very little hearing in one ear and her dad was the same, and yes, otosclerosis is genetic. I've emailed my siblings to let them know....
You can have the gene and not develop the disease, and different things can spark it off. One thing that can is having a virus. This fits, as I can trace my hearing loss back to the late 1980s when i had a bad head cold that made my ears blocked and itchy. My GP back then didn't give me anti-biotics, so maybe that was because he thought it was part of the cold virus and not an ear infection. But since then my right ear has never felt 'open'.
The ENT said my ears were clean, nothing to block them and ear drums are normal. SO it isn't a pressure thing. He doesn't think my Eustachian tubes are working well though, so he's going to test them when I go back.
This last week I have been in shock and upset at the news, and trying to imagine losing my hearing. Mum has been sympathetic and supportive. We have had a laugh about it- with her it is on the left and with me it's on the right. SO I said, we better make sure you always sit on my left in future or we'll both be sitting there going "Ay? What? What you say?"
I just didn't need this news on top of other stuff, which have been stressful too. I have been on the floor with big belly-sobs, so low and upset. I feel like I am disintegrating inside lately. I wish I could go somewhere on my own for a bit and just rest and watch the world go by. I really need to get away on my own and clear my head. Which is odd, really, as I feel so lonely.
Monday, 27 April 2009
Had the appointment with the ENT doc last week.