Hello all, I am the original poster of the above post. Thanks to beachcomber13 who graciously recreated the post here.
I never went back to the old thread (http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Hearing-Loss/SSHL-recovery-timeframe/show/1478159?camp=watch_list
) because I thought it was intended not to be replied to.
I wanted to share my current status, but first I wanted to thank Dutchman49 for sharing his detailed journey.
My journey may be ongoing, but for all medical intents and purposes, doctors consider my hearing fully recovered. I have been incredibly lucky and regained full functional hearing and true binaural hearing (which requires the two ears to be within 15db of one another, if I understand correctly).
On May 1st (2 weeks ago) I went to see my Otologist for what would probably be the last followup visit. I was measured before that visit with a simple audiogram, which found my hearing had returned to baseline (same as right ear) in the 250Hz to 1000Hz range, and I was at 15dB on the 2000Hz-8000Hz range. Simple speech distinction was 100%. The doctor considered me fully recovered and I am incredibly grateful that I have reached this recovery. However, from a quality perspective, my left ear is inferior to my right. Pitches sound different and music sounds quite different, but from a volume perspective, the two are very close and I have no trouble with day to day hearing. The Otologist attributed the quality difference to the the differences in hearing threshold. I'm not going to complain, I feel grateful and very lucky.
I just want to tell everyone that I have stopped taking the vitamins, while they are sold in any available pharmacy, vitamin pills are generally pretty high doses that I don't consider safe for long term consumption. Instead, I continue to make healthy vegetable drinks and eat healthy foods. If all this theory is true about how this type of thing can happen, then I strongly believe I need to maintain healthier diet to ensure the health of my hearing. I have continued my Constraint Induced Sound Therapy in the hopes it may improve the quality of hearing and will continue to do so for another 5-6 months.
I have a MRI scheduled in a few months to rule out the neuroma. Once that hurdle is cleared my doctor advises I put this behind me and live a full and normal life. I intend to do that, but this is not something you put behind you easily, and my heart goes out to everyone who is experiencing this or who will experience this.
For those of you just finding these posts, please know that like many others, I went through periods of fear, depression, and self loathing and regret. I wished I acted sooner and took this more seriously. I wished I pushed my doctor to let me see the Otologist sooner rather than seeing that other ENT who ultimately wasn't doing a thing to help me.
Aside from family and friends, your health is the most important and precious thing you have. I urge all of you to take your own steps and don't let doctors brush you off.
The first doctor I saw on Day 4 told me it was nothing and to coe back in 2 weeks. I didn't believe her and sought a second opinion. The first ENT I saw told me there was no treatment outside of prednisone and told me to check back in 6 weeks. My own family doctor refused to refer me to another ENT to get a second opinion. I almost backed down, and would not have gotten my injections or HBO as a result. Instead, wracked by fear and self loathing for not doing something sooner, I resolved to push the issue with my doctor. I did everything until my doctor agreed to send me to that second, critical opinion.
The improvements I experienced took a turning point the same day I saw this Otologist, so let me emphasize what others have said in other posts:
- find an Otologist, not just a ENT.
- ask, or insist for intratympanic injections, not just oral steroids.
- ask about the option of HBO. It is recognized by the Udersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society as being a treatment for SSNHL, and the governments of Canada, US and probably other countries recognize this.
- try the healthy eating and vitamins, but make sure the doses are safe. The Otologist told me not to waste money on these, but what is $100 of vitamins next to a lifetime of regret for not trying everything in your power?
Best of luck to everyone. I hope to check back later to report on my Neuroma MRI results, but if I don't check back I hope everyone has the best results and best care they can get. This is a scary journey and I will never forget it, or those others who suffer from this disease.