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Johnbee58

Hearing Loss (UPDATE) 1/26/22

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I don't know whether I'm actually starting to suffer hearing loss or my brain is just not processing certain frequencies correctly.  I'll explain my situation and see if anybody here can relate.

I'm 66 years old. Last Sunday I was driving over to my local gym for a workout.  About half way there I started to hear a rubbing sound predominantly on the left side (which is the driver's side for USA drivers).  My first thought was maybe my brakes were starting to go, so as I have an appointment with my mechanic for a state inspection next week, I thought I would just ask him about it.  But then, when I got to the gym, as I was setting up a piece of equipment to work out on, I started hearing the same modulating, rubbing noise my car was making from an air handling unit about 15 feet above my head.  I had my Bluetooth headphones on at the time but wasn't listening to anything yet.  After working out I went home and took notice that my refrigerator was making the same type of noise, as was running water in the bathroom & kitchen.  The other night, my wife was watching a football game on the living room TV.  The normal crowd noise produced (to my ears) the same modulating rubbing type sound.  To my ears, everything around me is making the same high frequency modulating type of rubbing sound.  Best way to describe it is like two pieces of metal rubbing together.  When I listen to music, sustained tones like sustained piano chords modulate in the same rhythmical pattern to the point where they sound distorted (like if you'd play a piano through a wah-wah pedal). But the funny thing is, it doesn't sound like I'm going deaf of there's any blockage in that ear.  It is normal sound at normal volumes, but with the added modulating rubbing sound over top

I only started taking notice to this last weekend.  I called my doctor and she referred my to an audiologist, which I made an appointment with on January 17.  I originally suspected tinnitus but that gets worse when everything is quiet.  My situation I only hear when something is producing sound and I know that that many things cannot be "broken" at the same time.  I'm hearing it now coming from my little desk fan.  It's predominantly on my left side.

I'm wondering if anybody else here has experienced this or anything similar.  It's particularly disturbing to me because it's hampering my enjoyment of music because it all sounds distorted & weird now.  Also, every mechanical thing to me sounds broken, but it's not.  Is it in my ear or in my head?

🙂John B

UPDATE 1/26/22.

Saw the ENT on 1/17/22.  Hearing test was normal.  ENT Dr.  asked me if the unusual noise I'm hearing could correspond with my heart beat and I said yes, it is rhythmical like that, so he wants me to have a special "Vascular" CT scan which is scheduled for next week.  He also asked me if I used any kind of nasal spray.  I told him I have to on occasion use a Phenylephrine Hydrochloride nasal spray when my sinuses clog up.  He told me to stop using that and gave a prescription for another kind to use twice daily with saline spray. I don't know what the nasal spray has to do with my hearing but I guess it's all connected in that region.  I hope it can be fixed.  The clock chime in my living room sounds especially bizarre.

🙂 John B

Edited by Johnbee58

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That's some scary stuff, John. Like the setup for a Twilight Zone episode scary. 

I'd also be inclined to take the above advice and see an ENT in addition to an audiologist.  I'm no expert, but the latter specializes in identifying what you can't hear, and your problem is hearing something that isn't there, or at least isn't supposed to be there.

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Ok, let's get this straight, I ain't no doctor, but have studied up a little on audio because of the work field I'm in,  There is a theory that your ear generates tones and uses phase to tell you where things are.  That is how/where tinnitus supposedly comes from. Anyway, to me, what you are describing is a form of that.

Fatigue, age, wear and tear all play a part in that.  Also I suspect wax build up or "dirt" for the lack of a better word, could be part of it.  Things I would try:

1) take a long hot shower and cup your hand over your ear to suction out potential foreign substances,

2) Relax, and try natural things that might pop your ears ...like if you are a swimmer head to a swimming pool and spend time in the deepest end under water.  Take a trip on an airplane(ha!)

 

Good Luck, I'm close to your age and I hate things like these, cause you always worry they are permanent, but tend to not be:)

 

Edited by Jimbo 88
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met some people that had it, would phone a specialized hearing dept at hospital.

maybe the receptionist/assistant could -by asking you questions- rule out/confirm and hopefully help.

good luck

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1 hour ago, Johnbee58 said:

I'm wondering if anybody else here has experienced this or anything similar.  It's particularly disturbing to me because it's hampering my enjoyment of music because it all sounds distorted & weird now.  Also, every mechanical thing to me sounds broken, but it's not.  Is it in my ear or in my head?

Technically speaking, yes, the problem is in your head. 😁(Trying to make you laugh so you don't worry.)

I have my ENT guy on speed dial. I go in a couple weeks. I go every 6 months, sometimes more. If you never see an ENT the first thing they are going to do is send you for a hearing test so you're one step ahead. The difficulty will be getting your results to him if they aren't affiliated. ENT's usually have their own audiologist and you get the test, they DM the results to your ENT, you walk over to his office, and he gives you the results. A hearing test will tell them what you have lost and where the loss occurred. Nerve damage, bone damage, ear drum damage, if you have fused bones causing you to hear sounds in the wrong ear. That kind of thing.

What you are describing sound like something to do with the tiny bones in your ear to me. It could be your eardrums have retracted and are actually laying on the tiny bones in your ear. Mine fused to the bone and they had to separate them. They put tubes in to equalize your ear pressure so the ear drums don't get sucked in and lay on the bones. That's what it sounds like to me, but it can be caused by a lot of different things.

What you are describing has happened to me too but it went away eventually. It can be caused by several different things. Ear infection, the ear drum on the bone, nerve damage. Using headphones for recording, mixing, or just listening is extremely bad for your ears.

When it happens to me I describe it as an old refrigerator compressor running. It sounds exactly like my mom's old chrome handled GE we used to have when I was kid.

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Guys-I thank you all for your feedback.  I  should clarify that the appointment I have for next month is indeed with an ENT clinic.  My GP used the term "audiologist" but where she referred me to has several specialists there in different areas of concern for the ears, nose and throat including a few audiologists.  I'm sure somebody there will be able address my needs. 

Shane, I  found your post especially interesting. Did you have surgery?  I'm afraid at the thought of surgery on my inner ear.  My sense of hearing is so important to me.  I'd rather be blind than deaf because I love music so much and nothing has brought me more joy in my life.  I'd rather face open heart surgery than risk losing my hearing.

Back at Thanksgiving I came down with a condition called Bell' s Palsy where one morning I woke up to find I suddenly lost control of the left half of my face.  I was dribbling when I  brushed my teeth and couldn't fully close my left eye. My doc sent me to emergency to rule out a stroke, but it just affected my face. It has since gotten much better and while that was going on I didn't take any notice to the hearing issue, but I  can't help but wonder the "left side" factor in both.  Also, last week I  changed diabetic medication.  My doc knows that and she never mentioned it, so that probably doesn't factor in.

😀 JB

Edited by Johnbee58

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15 minutes ago, RobertWS said:

Have you been 'vaccinated' recently?

Covid vaccine back last summer-Moderna. I'm scheduled for my booster in January.

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27 minutes ago, Johnbee58 said:

Shane, I  found your post especially interesting. Did you have surgery?

Uh. Well. It's not as bad as it sounds. 😁Seriously. No, I didn't have surgery. He took a long skinny needle looking like vacuum thing that's a few inches long, inserts a metal guide in your ear canal to guide it in, then sucks your ear drum off the bone. If it's extremely bad he'll have to do outpatient surgery, but mine was really bad and he just peeled it off the bone with the vac thingy. It hurt a tiny bit for a split second then it was over. It's the same tool they use to do routine cleaning. It truly does look far worse than it is. What you are experiencing could be several different things. As simple as wax. Good luck!

 

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My doc did a thorough cleaning of both my ears about a month ago, so I  doubt it's wax buildup already but thanks for the suggestion.

😀JB

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Your description might be considered a form of pulsatile tinnitus, although the association with hearing ambiguous sounds, rather than exacerbation in silence is atypical. It might indicate something of concern beyond the symptom itself. Your best first investigation would be to find an ENT with an interest in hearing problems (ENTs can range from can range from cancer surgeons to voice experts in their interests and experience) and tell him your story. He can refer you to audiology, imaging  etc. if indicated.

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I hope you get it sorted out. I have severe loss on my left side due to deterioration of what is commonly called the anvil & hammer bones from infections at an early age. On top of that I have a big drop in 6KHz and greater (which I can compensate for in an EQ boost during mixing, but not in exports). And then of course my tinnitus can act up randomly sometimes for an hour and sometimes for days on end.

Being almost 69 I doubt much can be done for me. My ENT Dr. told me at 50 years old there was not much to be done for me except hearing aids which are useless in the mixing environment as I mostly mix through headphones.

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For most of today's music, news, TV shows and movies, hearing loss might be a protective measure!

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I had a weird deal 20 years ago. The dial tone was different, like a high pass filter, left to right.
I think it was the right ear was like an octave higher in pitch.
The ENT I saw gave me with a "puzzled" look and a steroid prescription(anti inflammatory).
It "cleared" up, because of, or in spite of the treatment; who knows.

The right ear did take a beating about 45 years ago at an indoor pistol range,
but that's a different story and I don't want to hijack your thread...

You're on the right track.

Many of us are of a "certain age" and hearing loss is just a fact of life; like it or not.

t

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Again, I thank you all for your feedback on my issue and your experiences.  Yesterday I got a mailing with forms to fill out for when I go to the ENT next month.  I will be seeing 2 doctors.  The first is an audiologist and the second I'm not sure about.  He will probably go a bit deeper into the situation.  I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for the possibility that this will be permanent.  I think I can handle "tuning out" the modulation by ignoring it so long as it doesn't get worse.

🙂 John B

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Hi OP. two things I can add.

I have hearing loss. The loss of normal frequencies that go at around middle age. I also have tinnitus and it can get bad when I am tierd. I also occasionally get a clicking sound at night before bed. I suspect it might be related to pressure build up in the ears. either way. i am sure the hearing doc will be able to tell you what you have. dont sweat it.

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Saw the ENT on 1/17/22.  Hearing test was normal.  ENT Dr.  asked me if the unusual noise I'm hearing could correspond with my heart beat and I said yes, it is rhythmical like that, so he wants me to have a special "Vascular" CT scan which is scheduled for next week.  He also asked me if I used any kind of nasal spray.  I told him I have to on occasion use a Phenylephrine Hydrochloride nasal spray when my sinuses clog up.  He told me to stop using that and gave a prescription for another kind to use twice daily with saline spray. I don't know what the nasal spray has to do with my hearing but I guess it's all connected in that region.  I hope it can be fixed.  The clock chime in my living room sounds especially bizarre.

🙂 John B

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Hope the current treatment and Vascular scan help lead to improved hearing.  As a sufferer of hearing loss and tinnitus, I appreciate the update here. As for the connection with the nasal spray, did the ENT rule in or rule out infection/congestion related causes? Just wondering.

PS: Yesterday I had a wisdom tooth that had erupted pulled (lots of Novocain).  Probably purely coincidental but all afternoon and evening I didn't hear any of the usually constant tinnitus.  Its back today.  😞 

Edited by User 905133
to add a PS

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The point of a vascular scan in evaluating pulsatile tinnitus is to rule out a more significant cause of the symptom, which may indicate a narrowing or aneurism of an artery in the head and neck. In such cases the sound is really sound (as opposed to a audio-neurologic dysfunction) that is actually being picked up via conduction through tissue. Congestion of the nose/sinuses, to the extent that it includes eustacean tube dysfunction may relate to the symptom in that it impedes the motion of the eardrum and ossicles , and thus makes otherwise subliminal sound more noticeable--like sitting in a very quiet room makes it easier to hear your breath and heartbeat. As to the dental surgery, it is difficult to relate the symptom to the local anesthetic, but the aftermath would produce enough pain to cause you to adjust the pressure on jaw/pharynx  that might affect the openings of the  eustacean tubes, but that is entirely speculative.

 

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