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Hearing loss in one ear. Lots of fluid and redness. Is an antibiotic shot safe? Purchase hearing aid?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 1991
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I had a hearing test in November-eight years of chronic ear infections. The test showed hearing loss in left ear. I had told the person doing the test that I had a cold and another infection, and felt fluid in my ear. She did the test anyway. Results were; minimal hearing loss. I then immediately went over to an urgent care where the doctor told me that my ear showed a lot of fluid, and redness. I received an antibiotic shot, and then the pills to go home-again. Would that test be valid if my ear was filled with fluid? My ENT told me that the hearing test showed no fluid-yet the urgent care doctor (within an hour of the hearing test) said it was "full and closed". I am having another test, but my ear is in the same situation as the last test. It is "full" I can feel it. It just always is. I was diagnosed with hearing aid right then.
Posted Tue, 17 Apr 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 2 hours later

Thank you for your query.

1. It is usually advisable to delay a PTA (Pure Tone Audiogram) or hearing test till any acute infection subsides. Tests done during an acute inflammation often show a hearing loss, which subsides with the recovery of the ear from the inflammation. These tests maybe done to judge the severity of inflammation or to rule out any nerve related hearing loss.

2. Fluid in the middle ear is detected by a Tympanogram (Impedance Audiometry or I/A). Fluid in the middle ear may also occur without acute ear infection or after middle ear infection, mainly as a result of deafness and fullness in the ear. Do you have any vertigo or tinnitus? Do you have any nose or sinus problems?

3. If the fluid collection drains away, the tests may return to normal. Sometimes, the fluid thickens and dries up leading to a XXXXXXX (Serous or Secretory Otitis Media) or glue ear / OME (Otitis Media with Effusion).

4. PTA is a subjective test (may not be very accurate), while I/A is an objective test (accurate). These results will fluctuate with your Eustachian Tube dysfunction. Fullness may also occur with negative middle ear pressure.

5. Any medication prescribed is fine, however you do not need any urgent hearing aid fitting if you have mild hearing loss in only one ear (left) or if you have fluid in your middle ear.

6. Medical treatment comes first, followed by surgical drainage, with or without ventilation tube (grommet) insertion, if no response to medical treatment is seen after a few weeks.

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

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