I hope you might be able to help me. Just before Xmas I had a very bad cold. About 3 weeks later I experienced 3 fairly brief episodes of dizziness, which then seemed to move into fairly constant disequilibrium which I have been feeling over the last 3 months or so, gradually getting better, but leaving some strange episodes with vision, and sometimes a few hours of disequilibrium. I also had my ears syringed as it seemed there may have been quite a bit of wax in them, although their seemed to be some speculation about this....however, in the end they removed the wax. It seemed just after my cold that I had a retracted eardrum for a few weeks. More recently this seems to have rectified. I saw an ENT who ordered an MRI of Head and IACs. I had normal hearing result, and normal eardrums on testing. The MRI was performed without a contrast. I am more recently ( last month or so) having tinnitus in one ear only ( the one that had the retracted eardrum for a while) and the ear feels full, and sometimes 'cold' inside. I don't really have any pain as such. I have never had any antibiotics to treat this. I am still suffering dizziness at times. My ENT tells me that he believes I may have had an ear infection and also that the tinnitus will go. I have two questions really.
1. Would the MRI show up acoustic neuromas if the MRI was done without a contrast? Everything I read says it should be done WITH......but I cannot see that he would waste time/money if he thought it wouldn't be good enough.
2. Will tinnitus really go away? How long will it take?
I feel very anxious and worried about it as its 5 months now and Im not totally better.
Could anxiety cause these disequilibrium sensations?
Thank you, and apologies if this is not quite your area of expertise....I wasn't sure.
Your description of your symptoms and past cold and such, all seem to make sense. The ear wax is probably not a factor in the situation. The cold probably contributed to the tinnitus and possibly the dizziness. An inner ear infection is usually the reason for the dizziness. The MRI is needed to determine if there is any growth or tumor on the auditory nerve.
I really can't give an opinion about the contrast. I have ordered many MRI's through ENT physicians and it is always with contrast, but that doesn't mean it has to be contrast that I'm aware of. You would really need to ask an ENT physician about the details of the contrast. Tinnitus may resolve itself, or it may not. There really isn't anything you can do to speed the process along...unfortunately, it is a wait-and-see event.
Thanks for the question.
Kelley Linton, AuD
Doctor of Audiology centerforhearing.net
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thank you for your response and for being so quick. I just wondered if not having a contrast means they will not be able to see small acoustic neuromas? If so, it seems strange to not have contrast ?
I'm a bit worried that something may be missed, but my ENT doesn't seem to think contrast was necessary.
Also, why would the tinnitus be in one ear only?
I would feel ok about things if the ENT said it was all good.
Yes it is very common for the tinnitus to be in one ear. It may be the only ear still affected by the inner ear infection.
The main thing to do with unexplainable symptoms is to get an MRI. Once the MRI is done and all is clear...there really isn't any other treatment for the symptoms other than time.