Bronchitis, Then Some Hearing Loss
As I mentioned in my prior entry
, I have been dealing with a sinus infection for the past few weeks. I finally caved and saw a physician, who gave the diagnosis of bronchitis. Not a big deal, just a complete nuisance. In the context of this blog, I have also had some hearing loss. It is not uncommon for someone with a head cold or infection to experience discomfort when flying. I thought I had come prepared for my flight to AudiologyNOW!
in Boston, armed with Sudafed, chewing gum, and warmed-up cheeks for valsalva. I was quickly defeated.
Around max altitude, I briefly felt a sharp pain and noticeable fullness in my right ear. None of my pressure-equalizing techniques seemed to work. I assumed that my hearing would return to normal a few hours after landing in Boston.
Fast-forward a week, and not a whole lot has improved. I asked a classmate to check my thresholds today (audiogram below). Tymps showed negative pressure consistent with Eustachian tube dysfunction. EFT confirmed. I have been jokingly accused of milking the condition by my peers, and they are probably right.
Obviously, there is no official hearing loss until 4 kHz, which is probably exaggerated due to my new experience with tinnitus at the moment. Note the bone conduction thresholds at 500 Hz and 1 kHz should be marked at 0 db HL rather than -10 dB.
The reason for posting is to encourage students and even professionals not to discount or overlook patients with even a mild hearing loss. My thresholds are within normal limits, but I can still detect a large difference when conversing with people. Furthermore, even a very slight asymmetry has affected my ability to localize sound.
The majority of the patients I see have thresholds that drop into the severe range at some point, typically at 4 kHz. It had probably reached the point where I counseled patients with slight-mild losses in a way that implied it was good news. After my experience, I won't be doing that anymore.