Early Detection Can Save Your Hearing
Hearing loss is usually a slow and gradual process, and typically patients do not realize their hearing loss and how it is affecting them. Many times, family and friends are the people that point out the hearing loss and the effect that is having on their loved one. Even though hearing loss can be difficult to recognize, it is critical to seek help and treatment as soon as you notice even the slightest change in your hearing. Like we saw last week, it could be a sign of a larger medical condition. Either way, seeking treatment for your hearing loss early on is critical and can improve your overall quality of life, and can even save your hearing.
A Rare Diagnosis with an Unusual Treatment
Recently, I had a patient who was a retired health care professional come in for a hearing test because she had a total loss in one ear basically overnight. She went to an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Doctor as well as her primary care physician and all of them stated that she needed to go in for a hearing test.
The patient knew something was not right. She persisted in finding another doctor, even though the initial ENT and primary care physician said there was nothing they could do for her. After going to another ENT, they recommended she receive hyperbaric chamber treatments or inhalation of 100% oxygen in a total body chamber. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy increases oxygen tension in the blood and tissues to better supply the structures, fluids, and nerves of the inner ear. It was after the hyperbaric oxygen treatment that her hearing returned to almost normal.
If this patient had not gone to the doctor immediately after experiencing a loss, her hearing may have never come back. She persisted in finding another doctor and getting an answer, which resulted in her hearing coming back to almost exactly what it was before. If you can catch a problem early and seek help, you’ll save on medical costs and improve your overall quality of life.
If you experience a sudden hearing loss, it is important to consult your audiologist because it could be a sign of a larger medical problem, or it could be treated effectively and hearing could be restored. Each case is very different, but seeking the appropriate help can be critical to your health and quality of life.