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Hearing loss in ear, ear feels plugged. Ear testing, MRI normal. Is it candida related? What can I do?

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ENT Specialist
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I have had a recent sudden hearing loss in left ear. it started suddenly about 3 months ago. I'm down 40 db at 6500hz in that ear. I have had a negative MRI and tried all kinds of decongestants and even prednazone from an ENT doctor. that ear still feels plugged and pushing and pulling air while holding my nose yields a popping in the right ear and a slushing sound in the left ear. It still can't clear or "pop" completely. The right ear is testing perfectly. Ringing comes and goes as does the level of pluggedness. Someone had an instinct it could be fluid or some Candida related thing. I have very few common Candida symptoms. Any suggestions? I need my hearing... I'm a sound engineer! XXXXXXX YYYY@YYYY
Posted Wed, 6 Jun 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 4 hours later

Thank you for your query.

1. If your PTA shows more than 20-30 dB hearing loss in three contiguous frequencies then it is defined as Sudden Sensori-Neural Hearing Loss (SSNHL). SSNHL is a medical emergency. The therapeutic window is 4-6 weeks for optimal results.

2. Get an eardrum examination and an Impedance Audiogram (Tympanometry) done immediately. This will help rule out Otomycosis (Candidia) and fluid or pressure changes in the middle ear. You eardrum will also look abnormal in this case.

3. If your Pure Tone Audiogram (PTA) shows high frequency hearing loss at 6.5 KHz then it is NIHL (Noise Induced Hearing Loss).

4. The normal course of treatment provided for SSHL in a non diabetic is high dose steroids. Since you are already on steroids, the dose may have to be increased if it is SSNHL. Other medication includes anti-virals, blood thinning agent, rheologic or blood flow improvement, neural tonics, Carbogen (vasodilator) and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT), if available. The alternative treatment is transtympanic (intratympanic) steroids.

5. MRI Scans are usually normal. They help rule out rarer causes.

6. Tinnitus cannot be cured, it can be controlled. Do you have vertigo?

7. You may share your audiograms, investigations and progress reports here for more specific treatment and rehabilitation options.

I hope I have answered your query. If you have any follow up queries, I will be available to answer them.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Hearing loss in ear, ear feels plugged. Ear testing, MRI normal. Is it candida related? What can I do? 2 days later
Dr. Bhatti, thanks for the reply. I have no vertigo and only periodic ringing. occasionally, the ear will seem to clear or open and soon after, the congested feeling returns. i don't think the High freq improves much in this case, but I feel more "open" and normal. I try repeatedly to push and pull air while holding my nose and i continue to hear movement of something in the inner ear. I had a 2 week course of a strong prednazone orally about 3 weeks after the onset of symptoms after trying OTC decongestants and Flutacasone spray for a few days each. The ENT doctor suggested injections of the steroid through the eardrum, but gave faint chances of improvement. That sounds risky to me. your answer #4 is a little technical for me. Could you boil it down? with a clear MRI and "normal" looking eardrums and 2 tympanometry tests can I still suspect Candida? Can an MRI see fluid or inflamation in the eustation tube? The feeling of fluid persists. I'm not ready to surrender my hearing.
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 16 hours later

Thank you for writing back.

1. With normal eardrums, Otomycosis (including Candida) is ruled out.

2. A normal Impedance Audiogram (Tympanogram) rules out fluid in the middle ear. A Tympanogram is different from a Pure Tone Audiogram (PTA) which you seem to have undergone twice. A Tympanogram is a ear pressure graph.

3. Please confirm from your ENT Specialist. If you have been offered transtympanic steroid injections then your diagnosis is not Tympanometry is more important than an MRI Scan.

If you have any further questions, I will be available to answer them.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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