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Hearing Disorders Message Board

Hearing Disorders Board Index

I don't have any hearing loss at all--my audiogram is off the charts for an adult, especially one who used to play in rock bands. I've always been able to hear the sound of my own breathing--but at the same level as others can hear me breathe, so I don't think that's the kind of symptom you get with PET. Here are my symptoms:
In my left ear alone:
1. Feeling of fullness
2. Very mild tinnitus
3. Sometimes a "rushing" sound, like holding a seashell to your ear
4. Feeling of pressure, congestion, and occasionally a "mumps-like" pain in the salivary gland below and behind the ear and mastoid bone
5. Occasional ability to "feel" bass my eardrum fluttering in response
6. Not now, but in the past I've heard crackling/rumbling in that ear when lying on that side.
7. When I hold the phone to my left ear or when I sing or speak, I can hear both the regular pitch of the voice and the octave below it--like it was recorded on two separate tracks and played back together. Like I am singing the regular notes with a tape of somebody (or me) singing or talking the same melody but an octave (eight notes) lower playing back at exactly the same time. Kinda like two voices at once. The best way to describe it to a non-musician is like when you hear a song (usually disco or dance-rock music) with a weird effect on the singer's voice. Sorry I can't describe it in more lay terms.
8. Outside sounds are louder in that ear than in the right ear.
Not specific to the left ear:
1. Pianos and acoustic (non-electric) guitars sound "watery"
2. Most instruments--but especially piano, acoustic guitar, autoharp, mandolin, violin, and pipe or jazz organ--that have long sustain and decay times (i.e., the note lasts awhile before it fades away, rather than dropping off abruptly) sound off-key--usually slightly flat (too low) or less often, sharp (too high). They--especially violins--sound "sour," kind of like a children's orchestra that doesn't quite know how to tune or finger the notes properly and uniformly.
3. Those same instruments that are usually plucked with the fingernails, strummed with a pick, or hit with hammers (like the piano) not only sound off-key but when notes are played together (a "chord"), sound like some of the notes are wrong even when they all are right. Usually it's the highest notes that sound "off." I try to tune my guitars--my ears tell me the notes are wrong but the electronic tuner I use tells me they are right. And even if each string played separately sounds right, when more than one note is played together or if they overlap, they sound wrong.
4. Those stringed instruments also sound scratchy and scrape-y--like I'm hearing the sound of fingernails and picks just as loudly as the notes actually being played--like running your fingernails across a window screen, oven rack or bicycle spokes. And guitars don't sound as full and rich as they're supposed to (or did before I got sick).
5. If I'm playing (or listening to) an "interval," which is one note played and then another higher one played afterward, that second higher note sounds like it is not high enough. I will always sing it higher than the sound it makes when it's played--but people tell me both the sung and played notes are exactly right. I have to listen very hard to make the notes sound closer to right--kind of like squinting with my ears instead of my eyes
6. Singing voices--my own and others--sound perfectly fine and in tune, even when sung in harmony. And certain instruments sound fine: saxophone, trumpet, flute, bass (except the highest notes), cello, banjo, certain electric guitars that sound warm, smooth or "fat." Even though I like folk music more than blues or hard rock, the latter are easier for me to listen to right now.

Sorry I can't be less music-specific, but as a musician, these are the symptoms that affect me the most and which most laymen would probably not be bothered as much by or even notice. The symptoms that affect how I hear music are impossible to describe non-musically. I notice this is happening in cycles now--when it improves it's a little bit better each time and when it relapses it's either not quite as bad or no worse than the last time. Unfortunately, I've just caught another cold (according to the way my throat feels), so who knows?

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