Thursday, January 30, 2014

Otosclerosis? No! It must be PET.

When we were in North Carolina, I noticed that I didn't need to clear my ears as we went up and down the mountain.  I always had to clear my ears at a certain curve on Beech Mountain, going up and going down. Now I don't...How strange is that?

Shortly after, I began hearing my own voice, amplified, (oy) inside my head, plus breathing and heartbeat accompanied by a feeling of clogged eustachian tubes, I made an appointment with an ENT - Ear Nose & Throat doctor. He used the old fashioned wishbone noise maker thing, he sprayed numbing stuff in my nose and sent a long tube with a lighted, camera end to look for polyps, he tested my hearing with tight earphones and high and low noises.  I passed everything, in fact, my hearing is a bit above average.  No secrets around me!  The prognosis is Otosclerosis.  I have calcification of an inner ear bone, it will affect both ears eventually, I will lose my hearing and require surgery to replace my stirrup bone.  This surgery may or may not reverse the hearing loss, and it may or may not stop the noises in my ears.  The inner ear sound of Otosclerosis is ringing.  I do not have ringing.

I went home and researched online.  I am convinced that I DO NOT have otosclerosis!!  It is a heredity problem and nobody in my family, mother's or father's family history has any hearing loss.  Secondly, I do not have the ringing ears symptom of Otosclerosis.  I do, however, have EVERY classic symptom of another inner ear dilemma called PET - Patulous Eustachian Tube, including the simple "test" to see if you have it: In a sitting position, hang your head down between your knees.  Voila! The noises stop!  Laying prone with head lower than feet helps too.  Anything that sends blood to the head and causes a stuffiness to the ears does what my body stopped doing; it closes my eustachian tubes and stops the echo.  I may go through the rest of my day upside down...

Doctors must hate the internet.

I am going with my gut feeling and decided for a second opinion, this time with a hearing specialist that does delicate surgery like cochlear implants (don't need that, thank you) and I talked to his nurse and she listened to my symptoms and said that he could help me.

It sounds like I am a whiner, "I hear my voice amplified inside my ear..." "I can't judge my voice volume and singing is miserable..." "I hear my heartbeat..."  My breathing makes my inner ear feel like I am listening to a wind tunnel..." "My ear won't clear." After a few days of this, trust me, you will consider hammering a big nail into your ear.  Don't worry, I won't do it, but just imagining the relief from doing this makes me feel better.

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