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Hearing Problem (Echo)
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dlmmgb posted:
I?m a 63 year old male and I have been having problems with my left ear for about six months. It started with the feeling that I had water in it amount other minor symptoms. The symptoms were intermittent but kept coming back. About three months ago I started having a different symptom. There was a low echo in that ear of the sounds around me especially those of certain frequencies, mainly mid-range. I can actually feel a vibration and very low sound in my ear that corresponds to the sound I?m hearing around me. It seems the sound and vibration is like a split second after I hear it in a normal way with my ears. This is very annoying in church and other public areas where there is a lot of background noise.

I went to my PCP and he referred me to an ENT specialist. He did the normal hearing and pressure tests including asking me to come back the next day for an ABR (Auditory brain stem response) to rule out a tumor or a cyst. They said I had lost some normal hearing but the largest loss was in my other (right) ear and that there was no fluid in my ear. They seemed to think this loss was due to my age. Before I left his office the first day, I asked him what if the ABR didn?t show anything, then what? He basically indicated that I would have to live with the echo or get a hearing aid. The technician told me after the ABR the next day that everything was normal and I could go, with no instructions to come back to see the doctor.

Do you agree with his diagnoses and that I should be resolved to live with this condition or get a hearing aid? I don?t feel my hearing loss is bad enough to get a hearing aid at this point. It?s just an irritating annoyance.
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Rod_Moser_PA_PhD responded:
Until you have a definitive diagnosis, there is really no way to know if you need a hearing aid or have to live with this echo effect. If your ENT has not communicated this information, then perhaps a second opinion would be helpful.

There can may be many causes for this echo effect, from a patulous eustachian tube to an obscure inner ear disorder of some type. Unfortunately, I have no way of delving into your case to determine those answers.

Patulous Eustachian Tubes (PET)

There are two tiny ventilation and drainage tubes that run from our middle ear space (the area behind the eardrum) to the back of our throats (near the adenoids) called the eustachian tubes. The main purpose of these ventilation tubes is to make sure the middle ear space is filled with AIR at the same atmospheric pressure as the outside atmosphere. These hair-like tubes are normally CLOSED, and only open briefly when we swallow. However, sometimes the tubes remain OPEN. When this happens, air will freely flow into the middle ear space ? along with the sounds of your breathing or talking, creating an echo effect. This is called PET ? Patulous Eustachian Tubes.

Inner ear disorders are VERY difficult to diagnose...and treat, so if your ENT feels that is "inner ear", then seeing a specialist associated with a large, university-based medical center would seem appropriate.
 
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SirSandslot responded:
Hello, I'm 18 and I am experiencing the same problem as the topic start. Ive had ear surgery for water in my ear. that was about ... 5-6 years ago. a few days ago i started hearing the echo at first I thought it was just the TV. but now i hear it all the time. can this be the cause of more water damage? can this be fix? I feel I'm too young for a hearing aid. Ive already missed out on my favorite thing to do.(Swimming)and i don't want to haft to worry about it more, Ive got more worry's than i can handle for my age and i don't need more now.

Thanks, Jon
 
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selenot responded:
Hello,
It's been a while since you posted this email. Did you ever find out a solution to your echo problem? I have the same issue and have been googleing like a fiend to no avail. Doctors basically don't know anything useful for this. They keep saying I have to put up with it.

Thank you.
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to selenot's response:
Before throwing in the towel, see a good ENT specialist. There can be many causes for these echoes, from a patulous eustachian tube to more difficult-to-diagnose inner ear problems.

Please keep in mind that every person and every medical condition is uniquely different, even if there seems to be similar symptoms.
 
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selenot replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
already had 2 sensorineural hearing losses in the right ear, about 2 months apart, the 2nd one was on feb 2009.
the otolaryngologist said they were endolymphatic hydrops, with unknown cause. all he knew was statictics and no solution. i have given up on dr.s knowing anything on this issue. the diplacusis is maybe because of the little bit of low frequency loss i have there.
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to selenot's response:
Issues in the inner ear (and brain) are notoriously difficult to pinpoint, and even more difficult to treat. Not finding a cause...or a cure is painfully common.


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