Distorted Hearing

Discussion in 'Dr. Stephen Nagler (Archived Answers)' started by newfie, Dec 5, 2014.

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    1. newfie

      newfie Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma (gun)
      Hello Dr. Nagler,

      I have a general question regarding my "distorted hearing".

      First, a brief background of what caused my hearing issues. During October, 2007, I suffered an acoustic trauma following the discharging of a semi automatic 12 gauge shotgun with no hearing protection. In my excitement during this hunting trip I neglected to wear my earplugs (which I have been regretting to this day). My brother and father did the same on many occasions (probably exposing themselves to far more sound insults) and have no tinnitus or distorted hearing.

      Following the acoustic trauma, I developed a unilateral high frequency tone of tinnitus complimented with a "hissing" and electrical "chirps/squeeks". In addition to the tinnitus, my hearing in my right ear became distorted. After the acoustic trauma my uncle (a GP) examined my ear and said that it looked like Ottis Media. The tympanic membrane was "retracted" and he could see the bones pressing against my ear drum.

      I eventually became severely depressed and was prescribed an anti-depressant. Over the course of seven years I was able to habituate to the tinnitus and distorted hearing. The distortion occurs on soft and loud tones (mostly louder) but is severe enough that if my partner calls out to the dog I hear her but also hear "static" similar to a broken radio. A flushing toilet, PA systems at grocery stores, and loud music/chatter at social events are almost unrecognizable, they just sound like static/buzzy. This is particularly annoying because when I speak I can hear the "buzz" from my own voice. Because of this I often don't talk much, and mumble when I do. A lot of sounds in everyday life sound like a broken speak does to me.

      During the last two weeks I have noticed this "distortion" is most certainly worst. I am certainly more stressed and anxious as of recent as well. I cannot listen to the radio, or even have a proper conversation without it. I visited an ENT two days ago and hearing tests were performed and I apparently have excellent hearing. The audiologist did not test for clarity however, and when I said that I could hear a tone but not hear it clearly he shrugged. The ENT said there was nothing he could do and that he would refer me to another ENT who specialized in ear disorders. I am currently waiting to see the other ENT.

      I'm not sure if it is relevant or not but I have experienced something (stapedius myoclonus? tympanic membrane flutter?) in my right ear at parties where it is very loud and I hear "beating" in my right ear. This has happened perhaps three or four times in the last year or two.

      My question(s) are as follows:

      1. Do you feel that my distorted hearing is caused by nerve damage or is it something else? I suppose it is possible that I fried my auditory nerve on that day of shooting but the prolonged distorted hearing seems uncommon in other cases?...I have read something about tensor tympani syndrome and am wondering if it is that.

      2. Is there anything that medicine may be able to do to help me mediate or manage the problem.

      3. Not really a question, but I'd like to say that general insights you may have to offer regarding this issue would be very valuable and highly appreciated. If I could reduce this distortion in any way possible my quality of life would be highly improved.

      I thank you for taking the time to visit this forum and speak to others who are having trouble with their hearing issues. It is people like yourself who make medical professions highly revered and respected positions within society. I sincerely thank you for what you do to help others.
    2. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      @newfie, I truly appreciate your kind words, but unfortunately I am unable to answer your questions about distorted hearing. I know a whole lot about tinnitus and decreased sound tolerance (hyperacusis, etc.), but I do not have enough of an understanding of the mechanisms involved in distorted hearing to responsibly address your concerns. I am sorry that I cannot be of help to you.

      Dr. Stephen Nagler

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