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I am a 73 year young female who has always enjoyed and taken good hearing for granted.
Suddenly in late August I had what I thought initially was 'water in my ears' or possibly an ear infection. Initial trip to MD - he found fluid in both ears and thought it was caused by allergies. Prescribed antihistamine. Did not work so I went to an ENT. By that time I had loss of balance, nausea and vertigo etc. MRI ruled out a Neuroma. The problem in the left ear seemed better. I was given a series of Prednisone injections directly into the right ear. Unfortunately they did not work. I now have severe to profound hearing loss in the right ear and mild to moderate loss in the left ear. While the MDs seem to feel that the problem in the left may be 'age related' loss I would point out that I NEVER had a problem before and could hear fine on the phone etc ( now it is a problem -though not impossible). My ENT felt I was a candidate for the BAHA and referred me to a surgeon in the same practice ( but a different office).
The surgeon appeared to me to be less than enthusiastic about the BAHA pointing out that people get infections etc. etc. and that one has to clean it daily etc.. I was tested by an Audi in that office ( who did say that the other surgeon in the practice who does implants refuses to do BAHAs??) and who stated that the practice does the most BAHAs in the Charlotte NC area - doing 10 or 12 a year. She said she personally had no bias. She did not find me to be a candidate for a BAHA stating that the hearing in my 'good' ear does not meet their criteria for use of BAHA in SSD ( and that of Cochlear). I was tested using the BAHA on a head band and passed that 'test'. Her comment was she 'felt bad' since it benefited me. I had been tested earlier (briefly) in a different practice with about the same results -' BAHA works fine for you but not enough hearing in 'good' ear.' The surgeon did say that he felt that I likely have labrynthitis (whatever that may be) and I would note that in addition to the usual tinnitus I seem to have 'hypercussis' - though not one of the 'professionals' that I have seen so far is willing to deal with it or even discuss it.
I am scheduled to go to Duke University Medical Center in Durham NC in early December though I fear a similar outcome I am wondering if instead of labeling me SSD they should instead approach it as bi lateral sensoral hearing loss and if this would help to make me a viable candidate? After all I have 'officially' - severe to profound loss in right ear and mild to moderate loss in the left.
Also more than a little curious at the way the criteria are applied - in theory anyone over 50 is likely to show at least some 'age related' hearing loss so does this mean that the devise is only for the 'young' if they present as SSD??? Just because you are 'older' and I'll add wiser does not mean you're dead or even ready for the 'meat wagon'.
I would love to hear from anyone out there who has had similar problems and of course solutions and suggestions are not only welcome but solicited.
We are willing to 'travel' to another area if that is indicated.
Thanks for reading through this...
Fortunately, and thanks mainly to the encouragement of members of the BAHA community AND from reading through the information, I went to a different MD. He found me to be a candidate for the BAHA and indeed did not understand why the other MD had stated I was not. As my current MD(and he does many BAHAs) said I am a candidate who will obviously benefit from the BAHA. I am scheduled for surgery February 8,. 2011 and then will receive the 'Intenso'. The MD did say that there is a new/improved model that will soon be available so I can 'upgrade' but he saw no point in my waiting ( I agree)!
Surgery ( successful) on February 8 - now waiting for the unit...