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Hearing noises in right ear, strong dizziness. Report says low weakness in hearing nerve ability. What could it be ?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 2001
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Since Feb 26th, I started to hear a noice in my right ear. Something like a whistle. Day after day since that day it became more and more annoying. I used to relief from it after a good 4-5 hours sleep but now it is with me all the day. I can describe it as an non continious whistle that pauses for mili seconds and then resumes again. I don't feel this in my left ear.

This thing started with me after my trip back from U.S. It was a 3 weeks vacation with long international flights (16 hours on outbound and 12 hours on inbound) plus many short and medium flights within U.S. That was my first time flying those long and high sum of total hours in 3 weeks time. At the beggining, I thought it must be due to the flights and should dissolve by itself. But it didnt so far, it got worse.

I saw a local ENT doctor. He examined me with a couple of tests: a test to measure the pressure in my XXXXXXX ear and another one to measure the strength of my ear nervs (the one where you stay in a studio like room with a headset and press a buttun whenever you hear the the sound). The report showed normal ear pressure and low weakness in hearing nerv/ability. The DR scripted 500 mg Aspirin, 3 times a day, for 10 days! I don't take the pills.

Last thing to mention is that I had at least 2 incidents of strong dizziness in the past month. Each last for seconds. During those incident i felt extremely dizzy and felt as if the room is going in circle around me. Also, I had something similar to my current ear issue but without the whistle in years 2009 and 2008. I wouldn't remember this but the doctor I saw told me it is in my file.

Thank you.

Posted Tue, 22 May 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 1 hour later
Thanks for the query and an elaborate history.
After going through your description, I feel you could be suffering from mild to moderate sensori-neural hearing loss, probably due to a problem in the inner ear. A whistling noise in the ear (tinnitus) is one of the indications of the sensori-neural hearing loss, even though tinnitus can occur due to various other reasons.
The cause of tinnitus can be:
1.     Eustachian tube catarrh - blockage of the tube connecting ear and the nose
2.     Infection of the middle ear
3.     Meniere's disease - symptoms include dizziness, reduced hearing and tinnitus
4.     Barotrauma - trauma to the middle and inner ear following sudden ascent/descent during diving or flight journey
5.     Noise induced hearing loss – listening to the music with full volume or working in a noisy environment
6.     Acoustic neuroma – growth in the brain affecting the vestibule-cochlear system
7.     Disturbance in micro circulation of the ear
Apart from the regular audiological tests, you would require a magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI scan) of the brain to rule out any pathology in the brain, probably an acoustic neuroma.
If all the tests are negative and none of the above causes are proved, then medications for symptomatic relief need to be tried. I would suggest that you drink plenty of water; avoid excessive coffee and smoking if any. Betahistine (helps in microcirculation of the inner ear), vitamin B-complex (to strengthen the nerve) and gingko biloba (a Chinese herb to reduce the tinnitus) can be tried to reduce the symptoms. Finally, try to neglect the tinnitus, and you will soon forget about it and get used it.

Hope I have answered the query; I will be available for the follow-up queries.

Dr. Naveen Kumar N.
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon
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