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Hearing Disorders Message Board

Hearing Disorders Board Index

I was given a diagnosis yesterday of eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD). But for as long as I can remember (literally), I have had the symptoms. I am 18 years old. I, for obvious reasons, don't remember my baby years, so I'm estimating that the symptoms started when I was about 4 years old. I was doing some reading about eustachian tube dysfunction and felt compelled to make a post of my own.

As I was reading about ETD and other people's experiences with ETD, I started to get choked up and teary eyed because of how well the symptoms people described applied to me. It's as if their words were completely taken from my mouth. It was other people's words, yet they are EXACTLY how I would describe the symptoms I've had my whole life. For example, when I go running and start to feel out of breath, the only thing I can hear is the sound of my own breathing. Except, the sound is inside my head, VERY loud. My breathing is echoing inside my head. Or when I eat, the sound of my chewing is amplified inside my head. It's impossible for me to eat crunchy foods and clearly hear people talk to me. Every time I yawn, my ears pop and my hearing becomes even more muffled. To alleviate this, I sniff in very hard/quickly and the pop goes away. Sometimes, when I simply just wake up, my hearing is what I call "clogged" and even the hard sniffing cannot make it go away. I just have to wait it out. Last year, I even experienced tinnitus (for me, it was constant ringing in my ears/head) for about a week.

No one from school or anyone who I know in real life can relate to what I hear and feel inside my own head, so I don't bother to describe it to people. But the message board on this website made me so satisfied to know that people experience the same thing as me.

Just a side note, since I have experienced these symptoms my whole life, I basically have gotten used to it. My hearing problem doesn't bother me on a daily basis, even though I have to cope with it on a daily basis. The coping just comes naturally. But every now and then, especially these past few weeks, I reflect on my hearing problem and just get sad and frustrated at what I have to deal with.

A year ago, my doctor diagnosed me with serous otitis media, so he performed a myringotomy on me the same day. I was absolutely amazed by how well I could hear after the procedure/surgery. The sound of my doctor's footsteps, the sound of him typing into his computer, everything. Everything was so loud for the first time. I remember coming to class the next day, having gotten semi-used to my new hearing. But suddenly, my teacher closes her textbook and I instantly flinch. I wasn't used to hearing everything so loudly. But... about less than a month later, all my symptoms had already come back. The amplified voice in my head, hearing myself breathing, the muffled hearing. Anyway, so I gave up on trying to fix my hearing problem for about a year until about 2 weeks ago when I asked my mom if I could go back to the doctor to try to find a long-term fix. My doctor checked up on my ears and found that the fluid (from my diagnosis of serous otitis media) was no longer in my ears, and that's when he told me that my eustachian tube was inflamed, diagnosed me with ETD, and prescribed me fluticasone propionate nasal spray, which I started using yesterday. A few years ago, a different doctor had actually given me the same nasal spray, but middle-school me did not like the spray and decided to stop taking it.

My doctor tells me that my hearing is within the normal range of hearing (I had a hearing test, just FYI). It's just that due to my ETD, my hearing is not as good as it COULD be. But if my hearing is in the normal range of hearing, tell me why it feels like I'm the only one, of all the people who surround me everyday, who struggles to hear. It feels like I'm the only one who's constantly asking "What?" or asking people to repeat what they said or simply just mishearing what someone said all-together. It's just not fair. And I doubt this nasal spray will give me a long-term fix to this hearing problem.

I don't know what the point of this post is. I don't really have any questions. I just wanted to rant and put myself out there, and maybe there'll be other people out there who read my rant and relate like how I related to other people with ETD.

Thank you for reading.

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