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Thought I was going deaf

Scambuster's picture
Posts: 973
Joined: Nov 2009

I am in my ninth week out of treatment for Stage 1 Left Tonsil Cancer. Had surgery, then 7 weeks IMRT and weekly Erbitux.

About 6 weeks out of treatment I noticed my hearing became affected and I wasn't hearing well as if my ears were blocked. I went to a GP and he said my ears were full of wax, gave me ear drops and said come back in 4 days which I did, and they flushed out my ears with a BIG syringe. My hearing improved but the quantity of wax I saw in the tray of water wasn't much at all, just a few flakes. Not enough to have caused the hearing loss I had.

My hearing then continued to get worse and I reckon I was almost 50% deaf in my right ear and 30% in my left. Serious worries started.

I saw my ENT guy yesterday and he stuck his light in my ears and immediately said " You've got fluid in your ears".

"What do you mean Doc ?"

He then explained that the radiation had affected my Eustachian Tubes (the one that connect you nasal cavity to go into your middle ear and in behind your ear drum). Basically, fluid was trapped and pressurized behind my eardrums.

He then told me to hold my nose and blow (Same as you when you equalize when diving or sometimes when you are in an aircraft when your ears become blocked due to the change in altitude)

This pushes air up through the Eustachian tubes and first increases then releases the pressure when you ears 'pop', as I suppose the excess fluid is then released.

My hearing returned almost immediately though I think this will continue for a little while but at least I know what to do.

I hope this helps some of you who may be experiencing the same problem. I know some people do suffer more serious hearing loss due to radiation and I STRONGLY advise you seek advice from your ENT Doctor if you have hearing issues.

Regds to all

Posts: 88
Joined: Aug 2009

I wrote the following on another post:
"The pre and now post hearing test have confirmed I have hearing loss (higher pitch sounds went from moderate to severe just above profound loss). The little hairs that help with hearing and nerve damage was what I was told the chemo impacted. My ears feel full like I'm listening while sitting in a barrel. The cisplaten is the likely culpret. Chances are slim of the hearing returining according to the oncologist (he ordered the hearing test). I will be looking into hearing aids in the near future. The hearing has not improved that I can tell but before purchasing the hearing aids they will do another test. Ringing in my ears, loss of hearing and dry mouth are the most irritating side effects, in that order".

I did try to relieve ear pressure as your doctor advised and it did see to help some with the barrel effect. Every bit helps.


Craig_Griffin's picture
Posts: 52
Joined: Feb 2009

I was instructed by my docor to do the same thing as you. It didn't work for me. Now 1 year later I still have a drainage tube in my right ear (the side the cancer was on). When this is all over I am assumig that I will get a hearing aid. But I'll say the same thing that I told my many oncologists- I am glad to be alive! My throat cancer nearly choked me to death more than once. I started out thinkng it was a bad cold. It very rapidly got worse and I thought I had a boil on my right cheek. It was a tumor that grew out of nowhere, but now after chemo & radiation it is gone. So I wish you the best for your ear. As for me I can't wear a hearing while the ear is draining. So I have learned to read lips in order to hear the words right. Hopefully it is notas bad for you. -Craig.

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