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    My ear problems
    oosacker posted:
    Hello, my name is Natsuki and from New Zealand.

    One day in mid or late August 2012 I was a bit careless with my guitar and amp and was playing loud and close to my ears (especially left).

    After about 30 minutes I noticed fullness in my left ear (but no tinnitus, pain or problems listening to people, TV etc). I also noticed that I couldn't hear myself swallow in my left ear, or 'pop' my ear. These symptoms mostly subsided after about 2 weeks.

    One thing that didn't go back to normal was that my left and right ears feels not the same when I pop them, or if I burp etc. My right ear often seems to 'move more (?)' and sounds louder when I do these things.

    In early September I started to notice some tinnitus (high pitched ringing or hissing noise) in my other (right) ear. I went to a small concert and some shows on stage (mostly acoustic music and moderate volumes) around this time, I don't know if it caused this.

    The tinnitus became a nuisance so soon after I went to my GP and she said that it might be caused by swelling in my nose, she gave me some nasal spray and used it for a month.

    A month later I went back to my GP and she then referred me to an ENT. The ENT did several tests including a hearing test to up to 8kHz and did not find any problems.

    At the end of my session she told me that the noise in my ear will go away by Xmas (this was in mid November). If it didn't, she suggested an MRI.

    It's now January and I still have this noise in my right ear. One thing I noticed is that I hear a grinding/cracking noise sometimes when I open my mouth on my right side. Could this be causing tinnitus? Do I see a dentist to get this checked out?

    Right now I also think that I might have a little bit of tinnitus in my left ear as well, like a high pitch hissing type noise, but the noise in my right ear dominates mostly. I didn't notice this in the early stages. Do you think I did permanent damage to my ears?
    Rod Moser, PA, PhD responded:
    Acoustic damage to the ears can result in permanent hearing changes and tinnitus, but I really have no way to predict if this will be the case for you. The ENT seemed to think it would improve, so since it did not, you will need to see the ENT again (or they will just assume you are better).

    There can be many, many things that cause tinnitus. Dental issues, like TMJ disorders, are certainly one of them, so seeing a dentist is least to rule this out as a possibility.

    Tinnitus can be heard as ringing, and high-pitched hissing (and a few other aberrations) so you most definitely have tinnitus. The cause, of course, has yet to be determined, but acoustic damage would be high on my list.
    oosacker replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
    Thanks for the reply.

    Do you believe I experienced acoustic trauma? The ENT nor GP didn't say anything about this so I'm having to assume.

    Also do yo think that since I didn't seek medical help immediately, I made things worse?
    Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to oosacker's response:
    WIth acoustic trauma, early medical intervention may not change outcome. Many ENTs will put a patient on steroids, but those who did not get steroids are likely to have the same outcome. The vast majority of people with minor acoustic trauma will recover, but it is not possible to determine how long this might take. Sadly, some people end up with permanent damage. Only time will provide the answer....
    oosacker replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
    I will probably see the ENT again some time (when I return to New Zealand from Japan In early Feb), which I'm guessing means I do an MRI.

    I'm not really sure what the MRI will reveal, it is done to look for brain tumours?

    Another thing I have found is that my high frequency (10kHz ) hearing in my left ear is not good compared to my right. Because the hearing test at the ENT only goes up to 8kHz this could not be shown.
    Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to oosacker's response:
    An MRI would rule out an acoustic neuroma, but statistically, most MRIs ordered for this purpose come out normal (fortunately).

    Do see the ENT.
    oosacker replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
    I have visited a dentist but he wasnt able to do anything about the jaw issue, he told me to see a oral surgeon.

    I also saw the ENT again and the hearing test showed slight drop in the high frequency. I am not sure why my hearing got worse over this time because I haven't been around loud noises.
    oosacker replied to oosacker's response:
    Sorry I forgot to say slight drop in my left ear.

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