Author Topic: Tinnitus, pressure, hearing loss, dizziness - do I have an AN?  (Read 4100 times)


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Tinnitus, pressure, hearing loss, dizziness - do I have an AN?
« on: September 08, 2010, 07:49:35 am »
I am looking for some answers here.  Im a little scared because I think I might have an AN. 

About 5 weeks ago, I noticed ringing in my ears.  Since then it has gotten A LOT louder, to the point that sometimes I can't sleep.  I have also noticed a fullness in my left ear as well as pain, especially when I yawn.  The ringing has gotten louder, especially in my left ear.  I also feel as though I lost hearing in my left ear.  I notice this because when I talk on the phone, I never use my left ear anymore, only my right.  I went to the doctor about this 5 weeks ago, she looked in my ears & told me I had a sinus infection (even though I did not have a stuffy/runny nose).  She put me on antibiotics (Z-Pack) and told me to put 3 drops of baby oil in my ears for a couple days, then come back & she would irrigate my left ear.  I went back & she irrigated both of my ears & removed quite a bit of ear wax.  The ringing stopped for maybe 10 minutes, by that time, I had already left the doctor & just thought I would wait & see if it disappeared completely.  8 days later, the ringing was worse than before & so was the pain.  I called my doctor & we went through this again - antibiotics & irrigation of both ears.  And, again, a few days later, this did not work. I went back & saw my doctor 2 weeks ago & she referred me to an ENT.  My appointment is Tuesday.  Of course, over those past few weeks when my symptoms initially started, I looked around on the internet for some answers.  I am fully aware that this is not a good thing to do sometimes, but I was really starting to get worried.  I found information about Acoustic Neuromas & felt as though I matched all of the symptoms.  So I went to my last doctors appointment afraid that I had a brain tumor.  She said she would refer me to an ENT to do a hearing test, because, while a brain tumor is rare, it is definitely a possibly.  I would also like to add that I had a horrible bout of vertigo about 6 years ago.  I remember I was working in the mall, and all of a sudden it seemed like the whole world had turned upside down  >:(  I was so dizzy I could not walk.   If I did, I got very nauceous & this lasted about 3 weeks. Ever since then, my equilibrium has never been the same.  A lot of times I just feel like Im having an out-of-body experience.  I hope Im making sense?  Anyway, I went to the doctor & was diagnosed with Viral Labrynthitis, but now I am wondering if it was an AN the entire time?

These are my symptoms:  Tinnitus in both ears (left is worse), dizziness/vertigo, dysequilibrium, fullness/pressure & pain n left ear, loss of hearing in left ear, facial twitching spasms, eyesight worsening (I have to squint a lot more).

What do you all think?  Should I be scared?  Im concerned about having to have surgery & missing out on work.  Im just concerned in general  :'(


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Re: Tinnitus, pressure, hearing loss, dizziness - do I have an AN?
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2010, 08:09:07 am »
Hi mpmdancer.

Although I'm sorry you have a need to be here I wanted to welcome you to this forum.  Although most of us are not doctors, you will find that we can offer good information, compassion and understanding.  I know you are frightened by your symptoms and the possibility that you have an AN but as bad as it sounds, it is not the end of the world.  ANs are benign tumors and very treatable if that is what you have.  The golden test for diagnosing an AN is an MRI which your ENT will probably recommend.  Until then whether or not you have an AN is impossible to tell for sure.  I'm sure others will soon respond to your posot.  In the meantime, hang in there and try not to stress out too much -- easier said than done I know. 

Best wishes,
1.3 cm at time of diagnosis -  April 9, 2008
2 cm at time of surgery
SSD right side translabyrinthine July 25, 2008
Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York, NY
Extremely grateful for the wonderful Dr. Choe & Dr. Chen
BAHA surgery 1/5/09
Doing great!


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Re: Tinnitus, pressure, hearing loss, dizziness - do I have an AN?
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2010, 08:42:22 am »
You may or may not have an AN. You'll most likely get a complete hearing evaluation, and it if shows the decrease hearing on that one side, your ENT should order an MRI, and make sure it is WITH contrast.

I know how the imagination is, and a lot of people who post here thinking they have an AN have already decided when they are going to have their surgery, only to find out it is NOT an AN..... ::)

So go about your business and keep in mind the symptoms but at least you are going in the right direction to figure out if you have an AN-smart girl!  May just be an inner ear thing ???
Hang in there.....
06/06-Translab 3x2.5 vascular L AN- MAMC,Tacoma WA
Facial nerve cut,reanastomosed.Tarsorrhaphy
11/06. Gold weight,tarsorrhaphy reversed
01/08- nerve transposition-(12/7) UW Hospital, Seattle
5/13/10 Gracilis flap surgery UW for smile restoration :)
11/10/10 BAHA 2/23/11 brow lift/canthoplasty


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Re: Tinnitus, pressure, hearing loss, dizziness - do I have an AN?
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2010, 09:59:22 am »
Just like Moe suggested, please do have your hearing checked by an ENT or neurotologist and then request an MRI with contrast.  Many AN symptoms can be attributed to all sorts of other conditions, so try not to worry too much.  Get the MRI to confirm either way.

Welcome to the forum, we're here whether you end up having an AN or not, but please make sure to keep us posted.
Take care,
Left AN 2.5CM,retrosigmoid 11/2008, second surgery to repair CSF leak. 
Headaches began immediately.  Dr. Ducic occipital nerve resection, December 2011!!!!!

"When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on"
-Franklin D. Roosevelt


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Re: Tinnitus, pressure, hearing loss, dizziness - do I have an AN?
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2010, 10:01:12 am »
Hi, dancer. Welcome to the Forum  ;D

To answer your question, you may or may not have an acoustic neuroma.  

The only definitive way to know if you have an AN is to have an MRI (usually with gadolinium contrast) to either diagnosis one or rule one out.

Some of the symptoms you have are consistent with an AN, but they can also be symptoms of other things.  Tinnitus in itself doesn't mean an acoustic neuroma; lots of people without ANs have it.

I had a feeling of fullness and diminished hearing in my left (AN) ear prior to my diagnosis and after my diagnosis I was found to have balance issues - but that's just me.  Others may have had similar or different symptoms.

Having an acoustic neuroma isn't the end of the world (99.9% of them are benign) and treatment isn't as bad as you probably imagine.  I had surgery and lived to tell the tale  ;D plus most times radiation or watching & waiting are also possibilities.

At this point, I recommend taking a deep breath and trying to patiently wait for your doctor's appointment.  You may be getting worked up about nothing.

If your MRI does show that you have an AN, we are a great resource and are here to help you in any way we can.  Another great resource is the ANA - they'll will send you lots of information about ANs free for the asking.  Don't hesitate to ask them for it if you are diagnosed.

Also, if you are diagnosed you should find a good neurotologist.  I have a great one in the Chicago area if you need a recommendation.



Retrosig 5/31/07 Drs. Battista & Kazan (Hinsdale, Illinois)
Left AN 3.0 cm (1.5 cm @ diagnosis 6 wks prior) SSD. BAHA implant 3/4/08 (Dr. Battista) Divino 6/4/08  BP100 4/2010 BAHA 5 8/2015

I don't actually "make" trouble..just kind of attract it, fine tune it, and apply it in new and exciting ways


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Re: Tinnitus, pressure, hearing loss, dizziness - do I have an AN?
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2010, 11:34:04 am »
Welcome mpmdancer .....

Not much to add to the already good replies to your post.  It is a scary time before you have a definitive answer to your symptoms.  Actually you may be way ahead of the game in thinking it might be an AN.  I had no clue that the doctor was looking for this possibility when he ordered the MRI (remember WITH contrast) so I was blown away with the diagnosis.

As the others have said, there are many things that can cause the symptoms you are having so try to relax until you have an MRI.

Be sure to let us know how you are and what you find out ...... many "mother hens" on this forum, you know.   :o

Best thoughts.  Clarice
Right MVD for trigeminal neuralgia, 1994, Pittsburgh, PA
Left retrosigmoid 2.6 cm AN removal, February, 2008, Duke U
Tumor regrew to 1.3 cm in February, 2011
Translab AN removal, May, 2011 at HEI, Friedman & Schwartz
Oticon Ponto Pro abutment implant at same time; processor added August, 2011


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Re: Tinnitus, pressure, hearing loss, dizziness - do I have an AN?
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2010, 01:54:13 pm »
Thank you so much everyone! I very much appreciate it :)  I have known to be a hypochondriac in the past (due to many, many medical problems) so lets hope it holds true this time!  Ill keep you all posted!