Dealing with Premature Hearing Loss

I’m sure this isn’t anything any of you that follow my blog would have guessed you’d be reading about here. It’s nothing I would have thought would happen to me in my 40’s. Most people have some form of hearing loss around age 65. I developed tinnitus and accompanying hearing loss 20 years earlier than most people. Less than 48 hours after flights returning from a two week vacation in Chile (I am home now), I woke up to the sound of a white noise machine (kind of like static or a fan running) and reduced hearing ability in my left ear.

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I spoke to some friends at work about it and was told I had tinnitus. I had to look it up to be honest. I always thought tinnitus was a high-pitched ringing sound that goes away after a few seconds or maybe lasts a minute. But apparently it’s much more complicated than that. If any of you are interested in reading more about it, here’s the link.

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Anyway, after it didn’t go away on its own I went to see my primary care physician three days after the tinnitus started. She prescribed the oral steroid prednisone for seven days and said if I still didn’t feel better in four days to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist. The prednisone did nothing for my tinnitus so I made an appointment with an ENT.

The first test the ENT did was a hearing test. I have some damage to my hearing, especially at higher frequencies, which correlated with what I had also been experiencing. There was no obvious cause, however. I hadn’t had an ear infection. I didn’t have a blockage anywhere. I haven’t been exposed to loud noises on a regular basis. At the end of my hour-long doctor visit I was sent home with a prescription for very high doses of prednisone and a follow-up visit was set for a week later. This was of course not what I was hoping for.

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Being on the high dosage of steroid has not been fun. With the lower dose, I had a constant headache and was extremely dehydrated despite drinking even more water than I normally do (which is a ton). I finally wised-up and started supplementing with nuun electrolyte tablets for the second week and that helped with the muscle cramps I had been having previously. Still, I’ve had trouble sleeping, I felt anxious, and nauseous at times, but I thought I could get through ten days of it if it made my ear better. I decided to take the week off from running or at least cut back drastically. Now was not the time to run in the heat and stress my already-stressed body even more. I need to focus on healing and recovery.

I am trying to be optimistic about it all and look on the bright side. At least the hearing in my right ear is perfect! At least I can still hear from my left ear, just not as well as I could a month ago. At least it’s not my eyes and my vision. At least I can still run.

For now, I’m going to wait and see what happens. I’m sure there will be more tests to come, to rule out other things such as tumors. And who knows, there’s always a chance it can just go away on its own, just as quickly as it began. I could wake up one morning and the tinnitus could be completely gone. Wouldn’t that be music to my ears!

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Author: runningtotravel

I'm a long distance runner with a goal of running a half marathon in all 50 states in the US. I also love to travel so I travel to other places when I'm not running races. Half the fun is planning where I'm going to go next!

17 thoughts on “Dealing with Premature Hearing Loss”

    1. Thank you. It’s been very strange to come to grips with because it was totally out of the blue. The longer it goes on the more I think I’m going to have to learn to live with it, but we’ll see.

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  1. I’m sorry to hear this is happening to you. I had to take some steroids for about two weeks for an ear-related issue and the packaging said to spread the doses out and take one before bed, but the pharmacist recommended I take them all in the morning because taking it before bed could give me insomnia! Not sure if that’s how your dosage goes, but if it does, I would recommend talking to your pharmacist about your sleeplessness. I definitely dealt with the dehydration too – my legs felt like bricks when I was running! I hope you get to be off of them soon. ENT’s really are great doctors, I totally skip my PCP when I have an ENT-related problem now :-X

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    1. Steroids really are no fun, are they? I have been making sure I take the last dose by early afternoon but because I was taking such high doses initially, it just made me wired all the time. Now I’m nearing the end of the bottle so I’m thankfully on a more manageable dose. You’re right, ENT doctors are the ones to go-to for sure. My PCP really didn’t have a clue how to treat me. Thank you for your well wishes.

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  2. Wishing you all the best for a fast recovery! Always stay healthy and positive. Observe your balance as well, because it might be affected with issues in your ears.

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    1. Thank you! This morning I noticed my balance was off first-thing when I got up so you’re right about that but I haven’t noticed it being off too badly other than when I first get up. Right now running is definitely not a priority but staying healthy and positive are, like you said.

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  3. Wow, so sorry for this. It seems like such a betrayal when our bodies start acting up well before their time. Ugh. Glad you are looking at the positives, that it is only one ear and only partial. That is a blessing! Hopefully it will resolve itself in time…

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