Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Hearing loss/fullness in ears with face pain

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 13 Replies
  • Posted By: oldengirl
  • February 3, 2008
  • 02:14 AM

Hello,

I'm new in the forum, but am hoping I can get some advice....

I'm not sure where to begin, so please bear with me. I've had a gradual hearing loss in the last several years, but had an episode of significant hearing loss 2 months ago, when I thought we'd lost our phone connection because I couldn't hear the dial tone. When I realized it was there, I just wasn't hearing it, I pretty much wigged out!

I'm had increasing pressure and "stuffed" feeling in my ears which makes me sound like I'm speaking from the bottom of a barrel - only apparent to me when I'm speaking, no one else notices any difference in my voice, other than a little deeper maybe. During this same time period I've been getting headaches & facial pain, just on one side that occur every single day. Sometimes they go away withing minutes, other times I have to take tylenol, etc. which only alleviates the pain temporarily.

The puzzling part is, I'm also having numbness in my hands and arms, from the elbow down when I sleep at night & have to shake them out for 2-3 minutes every morning to get them circulating again. This is probably not related to the ear problem, but thought I would mention it.

I also have attacks of dizziness and/or nausea once in awhile, but not often. I've always seemed to have had a balance problem - for most of my life, but it never bothered me much.

I take Synthroid for hypothyroid & Asacol for colitis & that's the only meds I'm on.

I guess the question I'm asking is: Should I just go get fitted with a hearing aid, or get a hearing evaluation? I'm not sure who to go to for the hearing eval. Audiologist or ENT, or just my GP? I'm pretty sure it's probably just age related hearing loss & I don't want to spend tons of money just to be told I'm old and deaf!

My uncle and niece both died from brain tumors, but I don't think that is relevant either.

Sorry for the long drawn out story!

I hope someone out there can give me a little guidance.

Thanks,
Oldengirl

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13 Replies:

  • Oh my gosh. This sounds so similar to my symptoms. I recently had a thryroidectomy due to thyroid cancer so I didn't know if my symp. were associated to my hypothyroidism, but I too have the loss of hearing ( although not near as bad as you are discribing) but I have really bad ringing in my ears, and complete tingling on my entire left side of my body. I have a dry odd cough, I am very forgetful, I have severe headaches, dizziness, nausea. Last night on the discovery channel I happened to see a program about this woman named Tracy Killarney who had all the same symp. as I have discribed as well as incontience ( which I am not suffering from as of yet) but anyways she was diagnosed after a very long time of suffering with Schwannoma. It is a tumor at the base of the brain. It is 98% NOT cancerous, but is a very serious condition. I plan to contact my Dr. first thing on Monday morning. I would encourage you to look into this condition. Who knows, perhaps it will open other doors and help you find a cause. Daynadaynaln68@yahoo.com PS the Dr. who diagnosed her condition was Dr. Marvin Bleiberg in Mt. Pleasant Michigan. I hope this helps!
    blessedinthenw 1 Replies
    • February 3, 2008
    • 06:30 AM
    • 0
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  • Have you considered going to a neurologist?It might be helpful given your hearing loss, dizziness, numbness and now facial pain (which could be migraines, but may not be given your other symptoms). These symptoms most likely are due to one common thing. Do you have any buzzing or ringing in your ears? You mentioned problems with balance and dizziness. Meniere's Disease can cause hearing loss, vertigo, and tinnitus. I think it can also cause a feeling of fullness in the ear.Also, given your family history, you might want to try and find out what kind of tumors your relatives suffered from, just to play it safe. There are all kinds of brain tumors, so the pathology reports might be helpful if you can ask your family to help you get this information. If your relatives both had the same kind of tumor, then it might mean there's a genetic predisposition to them in your family, and you need to be screened.A neurologist should be able to determine if you have Meniere's Disease, some kind of facial nerve condition, a growth or something else (infection, inflammatory condition, etc) causing your symptoms. They may also be able to check your thyroid function.Is your thyroid function okay on the replacement? Hypothyroidism can cause hearing loss and a susceptibility to compression neuropathies. It can cause headaches in some people too. Do you have any of the other symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as constipation, hair loss, physical and mental slowness, dry skin, puffiness, anemia, elevated cholesterol and triglycerides, etc? If so, you may want to see your endocrinologist or whoever is prescribing the thyroid medication to make sure you have enough.Also, why did you lose your thyroid function? If it is from autoimmune thyroiditis, it might be helpful to know that there is a rare neurological complication of autoimmune thyroiditis called Hashimoto's Encephalopathy. It can cause some of your symptoms, such as headaches, balance problems, and dizziness (plus others). I don't think it would explain the hearing loss or fullness in your ears, so it is less likely.Your GP may be able to help you decide which doctor to see. Or perhaps they can diagnose the problem in one or two visits, without referring you to a specialist. At the very least, they should be able to refer you to a hearing test facility, although sometimes you can even get a free hearing test from hearing aide salesmen or even health fairs without a referral. If you go this route, bring a copy of the report to your doctor.I think it is a good idea to get checked out by a doctor. I don't think it is a good idea to just get the hearing test and aide. It sounds like there is more to your case than just the hearing loss. If I were in your shoes, I'd try to see a neurologist, even though they may want to do an MRI, which can be expensive.Best Wishes to you. I am sorry you have such uncomfortable symptoms.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • February 3, 2008
    • 06:42 AM
    • 0
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  • The first thought I had reading this, is that you may have Menièrs. You can read about it here: http://www.mamashealth.com/ear/men.asp An Ear-Nose-Throat doctor can diagnose this. Good luck :-)
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • February 3, 2008
    • 00:26 PM
    • 0
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  • Thank all of you so much for your wonderful replies - I was amazed that you all took the time to answer my lengthy post.I guess my first step would be to see my Dr. & get a referral to an ENT if warranted. I just want to be sure I see the right specialist & not be shuffled from one to another. I am hoping it is Meniere's disease & not a Schwannoma, or possibly just a sinus infection. I read somewhere that a sinus infection could eat away part of your brain & now I'm REALLY worried. I have no nasal discharge, just the head & face pain, & some pain on the Lt. side of my neck, near the ear, so I'm not sure that could be a sinus problem, but hey, I am not a doctor, so I really don't know.One thing for sure is that after hearing all of your comments & advice, I'm going to see the Dr. & not just get a hearing aid!Oldengirl
    oldengirl 3 Replies
    • February 4, 2008
    • 02:32 AM
    • 0
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  • Hello again. It's essential also HOW the pain occurs - and develops. Does it, for instance, start out not too bad in the morning, then grow worse during the day? Are you dizzy and nauseas with it? Is the pain unbearable? Does it react to ordinary painkillers? A facial pain could also be an affected trigeminus nerve, referred to as trigeminus neuropathy. This pain is usually a real killer, even morphine does not take the pain away. Sinusite cannot eat your brain up. You will be seeing a doctor LONG before it gets to that (I don't think it's possible either), you would not be able to handle the pain in the upper sinuses for something like that to happen, so you can sleep safely. That is a very mean story, but NOT true. See an ENT, I believe that is your best shot. Good luck :-) anto
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • February 5, 2008
    • 08:48 PM
    • 0
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  • Hi Anto,The headache & face pain have been occurring within 5 minutes of getting out of bed in the a.m., but sometimes it does hold off till later in the day, & then will hurt for awhile, go away, then come back. It is easily controlled with plain old tylenol (I can't take NSAIDS or aspirin because of colitis), but the pain comes back very quickly. The pain isn't excruciating for the most part, just very tiring, especially when the side of my neck is involved. It's just very hard to concentrate when your head, face & neck are constantly hurting.I wouldn't even bother seeing a doc about it if it hadn't been going on for so long & the numbness in my arms that seems to not be going away.I don't think it's a TMJ thing. I had an episode of that several years ago & you are right, it is VERY PAINFUL & no pain killers can even touch it! I did look up Meniere's disease & a lot of it fits. My ears are just plugged all the time & I've even been putting those swimming plugs in when I shower because I feel like water makes it worse. The nausea & dizziness are sporadic & don't occur every day, but usually occur when I arise in the a.m., but episodes have occurred while riding in the car, or even showering. And of course, I have the tinnitus off & on. My thyroid has been a little off for the last several months & the dose is constantly being adjusted, but I'm not sure if that factors in. I was at the same dose, 150 mcg for the last 15 years, but now it seems that was too much & I'm being tapered down. But the test yesterday showed that it has fallen too low & needs to be bumped up a little. And no, I don't have thyroid disease, just hypothyroidism....like they say, "fair, fat & forty" although I'm not really fat & I'll never see forty again! I know that in some cases thyroid problems can cause deafness, as can the medication I'm taking...Asacol, which is an aspirin containing med in a special compound. I've been blaming my deafness on that, but let's face it, I am getting old (62) so that's the perks of old age I guess.If I hadn't heard about the sinuses eating thru the brain story, & having relatives with brain tumors, I would not be a bit worried about my problems, but would just accept them. Thanks for exploding that myth about the sinuses! I think I could feel my brain being destroyed by an aggressive sinus infection ever since I heard that story!Thanks for your great advice & knowledge!Oldengirl
    oldengirl 3 Replies
    • February 6, 2008
    • 04:53 AM
    • 0
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  • Yes, I do use a cell phone & have done so for the last year. Before then, it was a cordless. It's quite scary about them causing brain tumors & I'll admit I've had some concern, but I don't spend a lot of time on the phone, so I'm hoping I'm limiting the exposure. Of course there are those 2 hour phone calls from a friend once in awhile, but that's only once every couple months & I use the ear buds or Blue tooth in those instances. However, I have quit carrying the cell on my hip all the time....I don't need bone cancer!Thanks for the links!Oldengirl
    oldengirl 3 Replies
    • February 6, 2008
    • 04:59 PM
    • 0
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  • Wow, I had no idea that elevated cholesterol could be a sign of a thyroid problem. Maybe I should get mine checked. . . I'll have to post this on the cholesterol message forum that I usually visit.
    HelenLovesRoses 3 Replies
    • February 13, 2008
    • 03:07 PM
    • 0
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  • I too have the same problem. 2 years ago I felt like I was losing my hearing but tests showed I wasn't. My head and ears feel like they are full as if I am traveling up a mountain and can't get them to pop. I've had face pain on 1 side for 2 years - just a light gnawing pain. I went to an ENT doc and he put me on Neurontin w/out checking any further than my nasal passages. The fullness problem lasted about 6 mo., went away and is back again. I don't know what to do or who to see because it seems I get referrals and the specialist don't want to find the cause just prescribe meds to cover up the symptoms. I'm not one for taking symptom cover-up meds for the rest of my life. Anyone have any suggestions? Shelley
    shellstotler 1 Replies Flag this Response
  • These problems/issues could be many things.... its best to start with a MRI with contrasthttp://www.anausa.org/
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Hi, what I am recognising in most replies is that we are all losing are hearing and have been taking thyroxin. I have been on L-thyroxin for 13 yrs. now. Since the last 10, I have been progressively been losing my hearing. I am now considered to have 'profound' hearing loss in both ears. I am 42 yr.s old. I could not figure out why, nor could the Dr.'s. I am now off to an MRI to figure out where the damage may be occuring. It quite clear to me now that the thyroid medication is seriouly deteriating my hearing. It is very sad and difficult to cope with at times. It is almost impossible to work in the public with my level of hearing loss even with hearing aids. I am writing to warn any new-ish users of hypothyroidism medication to try and look for alternative methods of supplementation. You too will eventually lose your hearing, prematurely. Hypothyroidism doesn't cause hearing loss, it's the medication use to treat it that does. Hope this helps many people. I will never regain my hearing loss. take care.Hello,I'm new in the forum, but am hoping I can get some advice....I'm not sure where to begin, so please bear with me. I've had a gradual hearing loss in the last several years, but had an episode of significant hearing loss 2 months ago, when I thought we'd lost our phone connection because I couldn't hear the dial tone. When I realized it was there, I just wasn't hearing it, I pretty much wigged out! I'm had increasing pressure and "stuffed" feeling in my ears which makes me sound like I'm speaking from the bottom of a barrel - only apparent to me when I'm speaking, no one else notices any difference in my voice, other than a little deeper maybe. During this same time period I've been getting headaches & facial pain, just on one side that occur every single day. Sometimes they go away withing minutes, other times I have to take tylenol, etc. which only alleviates the pain temporarily. The puzzling part is, I'm also having numbness in my hands and arms, from the elbow down when I sleep at night & have to shake them out for 2-3 minutes every morning to get them circulating again. This is probably not related to the ear problem, but thought I would mention it. I also have attacks of dizziness and/or nausea once in awhile, but not often. I've always seemed to have had a balance problem - for most of my life, but it never bothered me much.I take Synthroid for hypothyroid & Asacol for colitis & that's the only meds I'm on. I guess the question I'm asking is: Should I just go get fitted with a hearing aid, or get a hearing evaluation? I'm not sure who to go to for the hearing eval. Audiologist or ENT, or just my GP? I'm pretty sure it's probably just age related hearing loss & I don't want to spend tons of money just to be told I'm old and deaf!My uncle and niece both died from brain tumors, but I don't think that is relevant either.Sorry for the long drawn out story! I hope someone out there can give me a little guidance.Thanks,Oldengirl
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • January 21, 2010
    • 01:52 AM
    • 0
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  • wow. i don't have hearing loss (i have hyperacusis instead) or thyroid problems, but all of this is me:I'm had increasing pressure and "stuffed" feeling in my ears which makes me sound like I'm speaking from the bottom of a barrel - only apparent to me when I'm speaking, no one else notices any difference in my voice, other than a little deeper maybe. During this same time period I've been getting headaches & facial pain, just on one side that occur every single day. Sometimes they go away withing minutes, other times I have to take tylenol, etc. which only alleviates the pain temporarily.The puzzling part is, I'm also having numbness in my hands and arms, from the elbow down when I sleep at night & have to shake them out for 2-3 minutes every morning to get them circulating again. This is probably not related to the ear problem, but thought I would mention it.I also have attacks of dizziness and/or nausea once in awhile, but not often. I've always seemed to have had a balance problem - for most of my life, but it never bothered me much.i also developed scoliosis in september around the same time i started having the hand/arm numbness/weakness. i also get headaches and back/neck/arm pain - sometimes it feels like someone is following me around stabbing me repeatedly with a small knife. sometimes i feel constricted or compressed, like there isn't enough room in my body for all my internal organs (kind of how i felt when i was 9 months pregnant!) the dizziness started in the spring, then went away in the summer, then got bad again in the fall. it is more likely to be visually triggered than by anything else. the facial pain had me at the dentist in the fall "positive" that i needed fillings, but i was told everything was fine. i just called to make a dentist appt for monday because my jaw is so sore on the left (same side as my bad arm), even though i can tell it isn't one specific tooth (it's the top and bottom and cheek) but i don't want to risk it. sometimes it's the external "shell" part of my ear that hurts like crazy. i've also had tinnitus for the last 5 years or so. oh and some gyno symptoms (short/irregular cycles, lots of random spotting, cyst in one ovary, polyp on my cervix)i've had an mri of my head which was fine, and an mri of my neck which showed some normal age-related bone degeneration and a disc protruding at c6/7 (which would cause hand/arm symptoms) and "increased t2 activity" around c2/3, so i'm to get a post-gadolinium mri done to rule out demyelination or myelitis (don't have the appointment yet) and i have an appointment next month to get "evoked potentials" done. i've had a ton of bloodwork done and it's all pretty much normal except for my ferritin stores which are near zero despite the fact that i take supplements and have a pretty iron-rich diet (all my life i've loved spinach, liver, broccoli, kale, etc.) i've been taking celebrex which helps to some degree (i.e., i feel a million times worse if i don't take it), and tylenol when i can't stand it although i try not to take it. naproxen did not help, cyclobenzeprene did not help.i am just so tired and worn down and i can't think straight anymore. my mum has charcto-marie-tooth and is currently dying (three cancerous lesions in the brain, metastatic), my cousin had a meningioma, my dad had normal pressure hydrocephalus (was helped by a shunt for a while but then had a stroke).anyway i am just kind of surprised to see someone with a lot of the same symptoms as me - i thought i was the only one with this particular set!! i hope you get through it - please keep us posted.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • January 23, 2010
    • 06:23 AM
    • 0
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  • Thank all of you so much for your wonderful replies - I was amazed that you all took the time to answer my lengthy post.I guess my first step would be to see my Dr. & get a referral to an ENT if warranted. I just want to be sure I see the right specialist & not be shuffled from one to another. I am hoping it is Meniere's disease & not a Schwannoma, or possibly just a sinus infection. I read somewhere that a sinus infection could eat away part of your brain & now I'm REALLY worried. I have no nasal discharge, just the head & face pain, & some pain on the Lt. side of my neck, near the ear, so I'm not sure that could be a sinus problem, but hey, I am not a doctor, so I really don't know.One thing for sure is that after hearing all of your comments & advice, I'm going to see the Dr. & not just get a hearing aid!Oldengirlyou need to see a Neurologist as the numbness in the hands and legs is indicting as Central pathology. Meniere's Disease to be diagnosed has to have the certain criteria to fit it. Its not a one stop diagnosis it takes three audiograms, particular symptoms and the attacks have to be recorded. So if your GP diagnosis this from the start you know its probably wrong. An ENT doctor is a Surgeon so he is lookingfor what I can solve by surgery but he will order an MRI first so better to see a Neuro-otologist. Best Regards, Audiologist
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • November 13, 2010
    • 10:52 AM
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