Monday, January 7, 2013
Six weeks of sudden deafness
Today I went to see my ear specialist again after the New Year holidays. The hearing test showed that my left ear that was almost completely deaf 5 weeks ago now has almost as good hearing as the right ear (which is presumably what the left ear was like before going deaf). There is still a small drop for all frequencies, but not very much. This was good news, of course. The ringing in my left ear is also pretty much completely gone, though the ear still feels a bit weird (it feels as if something is stuck in your ear, though to a much less degree than before).
I still cannot hear low frequencies (very low frequencies) at all, though. This has me a bit worried, since all other frequencies came back gradually and are now fairly fine, but the very low frequencies have not come back at all. I asked about this and my doctor said that when all other frequencies come back more or less at the same pace, but the very low frequencies show now progress at all, it is probably a different problem.
The sudden deafness I got is caused by a virus killing your nerves, and thus you cannot hear anything even though the ear itself is working fine. When the low frequencies are not coming together with the rest, the guess is that it is not the nerves that are the the problem, it is the cochlea. Probably the cochlea is retaining too much water, and when that happens you stop hearing low frequencies. This will possibly/probably go away once I stop taking steroids (a common side effect of steroids is retaining water), so hopefully this will solve everything. If the problem does not go away after the steroids, he told me to come back. There are different medicines for dealing with hearing loss because of the cochlea being too full of water.
So I was told to keep taking 20 mg of prednisolone per day for two more weeks, then 10 mg per day for one week, and finally 5 mg per day for another week. After that, I should be back to normal (hopefully).
So today it was good news. That the hearing was greatly improved for most frequencies I already knew, but it was nice to see that a careful testing also showed that it was almost as good as before. It was also nice to get a reassuring explanation of why the low frequencies have not come back at all.
As for side effects of the drugs I have taken so far, everything is more or less the same as before. I have gained about 1 kg per week (and I am beginning to seriously doubt that all of it is muscle mass, haha) so I am up about 5 kg, and my back looks less than great because of acne. But both of these problems should also go away once I stop taking steroids.
The doctor (and the pharmacist) again told me to be very careful so as not to catch a cold (since you are extra sensitive when on steroids) so I guess I will spend 4 or 5 more weeks being bored at home during all my free time...