I hope it's ok that I post here. I think you all are much better qualified to relate to what I'm experiencing than anyone I know irl.
I am in my mid thirties. I had some ringing in my ears 5 years ago and got a hearing test with an audiologist and the test was normal. A month ago, I had some weirdness in one of my ears (was inconsequential - probably sinus/allergy related) that caused us to do another hearing test last week and I have the hearing of a 65 year old in both ears. Completely unexpected side discovery. Best case, hearing will continue to go at a more normal pace and I'll have hearing aids in 20 years. But if it continues to go at the rate indicated by the space between those two tests, I have much less time.
The ENT dr diagnosed it as early onset age related hearing loss. Clearly progressing more quickly than regular age related hearing loss. He did a really detailed look at all of the parts of my ears with scopes and lights and everything appears to be physically normal. Nothing visibly wrong with tubes, ear drums etc.
I'm more than a little freaked out. I have so many questions about how my life will change. I'm a single mom, my career is just getting to the good stuff, I'm just finally starting to accomplish some life goals. All of that feels up in the air now. The unknown - how quickly or slowly it will progress is terrifying. I have definitely been in self care mode to get through some lowered feelings and anxious thoughts.
I'm combatting lowered feelings by focusing on doing what I CAN do to protect the hearing I have.... learning to use ear plugs, learning which sound levels I need to protect my ears from etc. I also intend to get a second opinion. I'm also looking for resources like this forum to get some sense of normalcy about this process of losing hearing so that it's not a big bad thing I'm afraid of.
I'm a little dumbfounded that there are no treatments or further testing required.. it just is a diagnosis and there it is. So, I have a couple of questions that I'm hoping you guys can point me in the right direction for.
1) Are there other tests that should/could happen to identify possible other causes? I'm intending to ask for a second opinion but I have no idea what an in depth second opinion should look like. Are CAT scans something that should happen? Or... ??
2) If it is age related hearing loss, does it always progress to deafness? To my knowledge there is no treatment for this type of hearing loss - does anyone know of anything I should explore?
Thanks for listening and thanks in advance for any advice.
I had the same symptoms as you in my mid 30s. They key thing is to make sure you do not have something that is manageable or cureable so you can stop or reverse your hearing loss progression. I have had MRIs, CAT scans, and many other test done only to prove that my hearing loss and tinitus is NOT reversable and NOT curable as I had no desease or other outside contributing factor that they could find. At least not with todays medicine-hoping for a break through soon though
A CAT scan or MRI picture of your middle ear can determine why you have hearing loss such us the hairs in your middle ear breaking\dieing or some type of desease causing deterioration-it maybe even just sinus issues. By the way-tinnitus ususually is a symptom of hearing loss and you can get some pretty wierd things happening to your ears from phantom noises, clicks, pinging, incoherent voice sounds, vertigo and even pain-fullness in the middle ear area.
No it doesnt necessarily mean you will become deaf as long as you can do what you can to protect what you have. I am in my mid 40s now and my hearing has deteriorated more to the point where HAs are not helping much-thats me and not your situation. Every situation is different.
Keep taking care of yourself and if you have to wear hearing aids in 20 years-so what. Not the end of the world just some new challenges to overcome. Technology will be there to help you in any case.