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Hearing test results - Asymmetrical SNHL
Old 08-25-2016, 12:58 PM   #1
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Hearing test results - Asymmetrical SNHL

I decided to take advantage of the COSTCO audiometric test that they have available to members for free. I took the test this week and related to the tester that I have constant ringing in my ears (long time now) and seem to have some noticeable, but slight, hearing loss in my right ear. Otherwise, everything else appears to be normal.

The test results were surprising and I appear to have asymmetrical hearing loss, primarily in my right ear. Also, that ear has a hard time recognizing certain letters of the alphabet.

The tester provided me with a recommendation to see a specialist to evaluate what would be the cause of all of this. There was no mention of a hearing aid remedy or any other tests that COSTCO could administer.

Needless to say, I was a bit taken back by the recommendation as I had no idea that I should need any other diagnosis and would probably be a candidate for a hearing aid(s).

Doing a bit of research, I see that it is possible that I could have Meniere's Disease, although I don't have all the major symptoms that would be associated with it (no vertigo problems ever), but I do have some of them.

I guess what's next is to see a specialist and see what is going on. My reason for posting this is to see if anyone here has had the same or similar issues with asymmetrical hearing loss and what might be some expected treatments or resolution.
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Old 08-25-2016, 01:09 PM   #2
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No info to provide, but keep us posted on this.
I have a hearing test scheduled, but simply because I find myself asking people to repeat themselves more often than I would like, especially in places like restaurants.

I suspect flying in noisy military aircraft for a couple of decades, not always with hearing protection, may have something to do with it.
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Old 08-25-2016, 02:32 PM   #3
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Like Braumeister: "I find myself asking people to repeat themselves more often than I would like, especially in places like restaurants." Any background babble deadens my hearing ability.

It seems like the usual path is to go somewhere that sells hearing aids to test your hearing. Isn't there a path to say, an audiologist or such that ISN'T in the business of selling them to make an independent assessment of your hearing? That would be my preferred path, anyone here done that?

Meanwhile good luck figuring out what's going on Aja....
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Old 08-25-2016, 02:45 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by H2ODude View Post
Like Braumeister: "I find myself asking people to repeat themselves more often than I would like, especially in places like restaurants." Any background babble deadens my hearing ability.

It seems like the usual path is to go somewhere that sells hearing aids to test your hearing. Isn't there a path to say, an audiologist or such that ISN'T in the business of selling them to make an independent assessment of your hearing? That would be my preferred path, anyone here done that?

Meanwhile good luck figuring out what's going on Aja....
I suppose one can go to an ENT doctor, but they usually don't conduct the testing. They will have that done and may have a tech onsite that does it.

Selling hearing aids is the usual path, as with COSTCO, and as a 70+ year old guy that was in the military in the 1960's and worked in heavy industry after that, I was fully expecting to be told I need hearing aids. But that was not what the audiologist recommended. She recommended I go to a specialist and have him look at the data (I was given a copy and a referral document) and see what to do next, if anything.

I have friends and relatives that have hearing aids and also a friend that had a cochlear implant. Talking to these folks recently indicates that the devices seem to provide improvements. The big issue with my data is the indication that it resembles the classic case of Meniere's Disease.
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Old 08-25-2016, 03:49 PM   #5
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If you are a Kaiser member and wish to use their hearing aid benefit you must first have a test from their audiologist, then referral to MD if indicated.

With your test results find a good ENT MD and schedule an appointment. Send that person a copy of your test results before the appointment. Today's hearing aids enable the user to control background noise, those models aren't cheap but they can work wonders on your quality of life.

My son, and now his son, had hearing deficits as a children.
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Old 08-25-2016, 03:56 PM   #6
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If you are a Kaiser member and wish to use their hearing aid benefit you must first have a test from their audiologist, then referral to MD if indicated.

With your test results find a good ENT MD and schedule an appointment. Send that person a copy of your test results before the appointment. Today's hearing aids enable the user to control background noise, those models aren't cheap but they can work wonders on your quality of life.

My son, and now his son, had hearing deficits as a children.
No Kaiser here but have Medicare and a good supplemental policy. I'm waiting for a ENT referral from my Doc.
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Old 08-25-2016, 04:36 PM   #7
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Google "hearing test" and you'll find a number of online tests you can use as a pre-screening tool.
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Old 08-25-2016, 04:51 PM   #8
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I previously w***ed in a noisy environment. Yearly tests showed loss on my left side and progressively worse in higher frequencies. I asked and was told it's very common for men as they get older. Genetic? I say yes.

I told my wife that that it's nature at work. Women naturally have higher frequency voices, men are not meant to listen as they get older. Also, it's the side she sits on, it may just be wore out.

It works for her. Now, she just asks if I mind if bzzz bzzzz bz... and does what she was planning anyway.
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Old 08-26-2016, 06:49 AM   #9
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Not sure what your test means. Lots of people have greater loss in one ear than the other. That sounds "asymmetrical" unless the term means a different type of loss rather than degree. My right ear is way worse than my left and I have had tinnitus for as long as I can remember. Costco gave me a set of hearing aids.
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Old 08-26-2016, 08:12 AM   #10
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I was diagnosed with Menieres a few years ago after a couple severe vertigo attacks by 2 different ENTs. I was fortunate to find a chiropractor who specializes in the Blair Procedure. Since then I've recovered most of my balance, seldom have any vertigo and the last trip to a new ENT he doesn't think I have Menieres.
PM me if you want any info on the Blair Procedure.
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Old 08-26-2016, 09:01 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by aja8888 View Post
..... .. The big issue with my data is the indication that it resembles the classic case of Meniere's Disease.
Well its better than some of the other things that have the same type of symptoms: tumor in the brain or multiple sclerosis.

I've been thinking of taking advantage of one of these free tests, as I constantly think my ears are infected as I think I don't hear as well as I should.
At least a test would tell me if I'm going deaf, or simply neurotic
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Old 08-26-2016, 09:56 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by donheff View Post
Not sure what your test means. Lots of people have greater loss in one ear than the other. That sounds "asymmetrical" unless the term means a different type of loss rather than degree. My right ear is way worse than my left and I have had tinnitus for as long as I can remember. Costco gave me a set of hearing aids.
It's more than just hearing loss that was uncovered. During the testing, I was to repeat a list of words I heard and when I did, they were not the words that were presented. Apparently, I can't distinguish the sound of certain letters of the alphabet clearly (best I can describe what I was told). The tech showed me a list of the words I was unable to repeat.
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Old 08-26-2016, 10:20 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by folivier View Post
I was diagnosed with Menieres a few years ago after a couple severe vertigo attacks by 2 different ENTs. I was fortunate to find a chiropractor who specializes in the Blair Procedure. Since then I've recovered most of my balance, seldom have any vertigo and the last trip to a new ENT he doesn't think I have Menieres.
PM me if you want any info on the Blair Procedure.
Thanks for the reference. I looked the Blair Procedure up and did some reading. Currently, I have no issues with vertigo. I haven't seen an ENT yet and will do so after Labor Day as the practice I wish to see is booked well past the first of the month. Once I have the evaluation by a ENT Doc, I'll see what the next step is and post back.
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Old 08-27-2016, 09:56 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by aja8888 View Post
The test results were surprising and I appear to have asymmetrical hearing loss, primarily in my right ear. Also, that ear has a hard time recognizing certain letters of the alphabet.

The tester provided me with a recommendation to see a specialist to evaluate what would be the cause of all of this. There was no mention of a hearing aid remedy or any other tests that COSTCO could administer.

Needless to say, I was a bit taken back by the recommendation as I had no idea that I should need any other diagnosis and would probably be a candidate for a hearing aid(s).

I guess what's next is to see a specialist and see what is going on. My reason for posting this is to see if anyone here has had the same or similar issues with asymmetrical hearing loss and what might be some expected treatments or resolution.
Quote:
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Selling hearing aids is the usual path, as with COSTCO, and as a 70+ year old guy that was in the military in the 1960's and worked in heavy industry after that, I was fully expecting to be told I need hearing aids.
Welcome to the club that nobody wants to join...

Since you're a military vet, I'd recommend contacting your VA clinic or a local veteran's organization (DAV, American Legion) about filing (or updating) your disability claim.

Part of that claims process can lead to free hearing aids-- including Bluetooth electronics. That means you can pair your hearing aid with your smartphone (calls link directly to your hearing aid) and your TV (you can boost the volume in your hearing aid without annoying the rest of the viewers).

Your ear-ringing noise could be classic tinnitus. There's no diagnostic exam to confirm it (it's self-reported). If you have service-related noise documented in your military medical record then you'll probably (not certainly but probably) be certified by the VA audiologist's C&P exam. They're quite familiar with the symptoms, and my audiologist even asked me if the ringing noise wakes me up, so apparently it can get worse. Mine is just a perpetual ringing noise between 10-17 KHz. My FIL's tinnitus presents as the sound of rushing water, like a sink faucet being left on at full blast.

The VA audiologist will do a two-hour battery of exams and testing, including word recognition and exotic stuff like bone-conduction sensitivity. In general, if your service-related hearing loss exceeds 40 dB or your word recognition is less than 96%, then you're considered hearing-impaired. This is in addition to the tinnitus.

You'll also be tested on a broader spectrum of frequencies and conditions. I'm having trouble hearing the higher-pitched freqs of the female voice (to the disgust of my spouse and adult daughter). I'm having much more trouble understanding anyone's voice in a crowded room or a noisy environment-- even standing next to a running microwave oven. Even so, by the audiologist's standards, it's not (yet) bad enough to be hearing-impaired.

I asked the audiologist about deafness in certain directions: people are routinely undetected by me from behind my left side until I see them in my peripheral vision. This is relatively new, extremely unpleasant, and hazardous to the innocent bystanders who inadvertently sneak up on me. The audiologist said that there's no test for azimuthal deafness, and that I was just going to have to get used to the new normal.
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Old 08-27-2016, 11:06 AM   #15
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Hi Nords:

Thanks for the information.

I was in the Air Force from 1964 to 1968 and babysat nuclear missiles on Germany and then in the U.S. In Germany, I was subject to a constant and loud (low frequency) howl from missile nose cooling units attached to our surface to surface Mace missiles. I had launch duty and sat with four of them for 12 hours at a time. There were 12 on each location, but I had 4 under my wing, so to say. I had this assignment for 18 months and then went back to the states and worked in the Minuteman system until I left the military in mid 1968.

All of the above was many years ago and after that, I worked as an engineer in heavy manufacturing plants and then in oil & gas production. So I have been exposed to loud conditions throughout my working career, but the worst constant hearing exposure was experienced in the Air Force in Germany. I'm not sure if this would qualify for a hearing loss claim as I have no copies of my military records and did not file any hearing loss claims while in the Military.

I suspect it wouldn't hurt to file a claim to see what becomes of it. If you have any guidance on that, let me know if it makes sense. Or should I try to get copies of my records first? I do have my DD 214 though.
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Old 08-27-2016, 11:28 AM   #16
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I have been diagnosed with Meniere's disease in left ear. I had total loss of hearing. ENT diagnosed steroids, anitbacterial and another that reduces pressure in eyes and ears. That dr referred me to specialist- neurotologist (at UCSD, CA.) I thought the ENT was a specialist! Got a steroid shot in ear and that made a change for the better. I am taking diuretic (makes me tired & have awful leg cramps.) I am fixing this issue. No more of the drugs that ENT prescribed. Getting an MRI to rule out tumor.
Definitely go to the dr. I have age related hearing loss, but if I had gone in sooner, maybe the outcome would be better. Good Luck!
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Old 08-27-2016, 11:29 AM   #17
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@aja8888: This is more common than I would have thought.
I was in the other day for my annual checkup at the local VA clinic, and mentioned my concern about whether I had a genuine hearing deficiency.
The doc said "Except for those receiving other regular care, this is the single most common reason for coming in here."

He told me to just go to the registration desk and ask for a hearing test. The clerk there said he had no doubt it would be approved, since he had almost never seen a disapproval.

So I'm scheduled with the audiology folks in about six weeks -- they're that busy.

In my case, it was probably related to riding in the back of Air Force cargo planes for so many years, frequently without hearing protection.
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Old 08-27-2016, 01:47 PM   #18
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I suspect it wouldn't hurt to file a claim to see what becomes of it. If you have any guidance on that, let me know if it makes sense. Or should I try to get copies of my records first? I do have my DD 214 though.
You need to file a claim now (while you have the records and the memories) so that your family doesn't fret about filing a claim later.

Your DD214 is the first step. You'll want all the copies of your medical record that you can find, as well as all the military records that document your duty station which affected your hearing.

Make electronic copies of anything that's going to the VA (or to a VA doctor) so that you can print out another when they lose it. Not "if" but "when".

I recommend filing a fully-developed disability claim with a VSO provided by the DAV, the American Legion, or even MOAA.

I've written four posts about the process-- this one has the summary along with links to the details of the earlier posts:
What The VA Really Does With Your Disability Claim - Military Guide
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Old 08-27-2016, 09:51 PM   #19
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You need to file a claim now (while you have the records and the memories) so that your family doesn't fret about filing a claim later.

Your DD214 is the first step. You'll want all the copies of your medical record that you can find, as well as all the military records that document your duty station which affected your hearing.

Make electronic copies of anything that's going to the VA (or to a VA doctor) so that you can print out another when they lose it. Not "if" but "when".

I recommend filing a fully-developed disability claim with a VSO provided by the DAV, the American Legion, or even MOAA.

I've written four posts about the process-- this one has the summary along with links to the details of the earlier posts:
What The VA Really Does With Your Disability Claim - Military Guide
Thanks, I guess the first step for me is to attempt to get copies of my military records.
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Old 09-05-2016, 08:01 PM   #20
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Give Costco some credit that they didn't just recommend a hearing aid. Figuring out if there might be accompanying medical issues is a good idea.
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