Author Topic: After hearing test, scared to death  (Read 1554 times)


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After hearing test, scared to death
« on: October 13, 2019, 07:33:27 pm »
Hello, all. I'm new here, and I'm hoping to get some insight from those on this board. 

I've had a bit of tinnitus for many years, nearly always in my left ear, but lately it seemed to be more frequent. And I've noticed that music through headphones sounds different.  I now need to use the treble booster, so I've lost some highs. This doesn't surprise me, after a lifetime of going to loud concerts, where my ears buzzed afterward (yes, stupid, I know).  My PCP suggested I make an appt with an ENT and audiologist.  I took the hearing test, it was just as I expected.  Loss of "highs," worse in left ear.  The good news was that my comprehension is fine, so basically my symptoms are mild tinnitus and having to boost treble.  I can live with that.

But then the ENT floored me when he told me he wanted me to take an MRI for a possible acoustic neuroma, because the loss was more in one ear  I had an MRI back in December for some headache issues I've been having, and it was normal.  But the ENT wanted another one with "finer cuts" and dye.  I am very, very claustrophobic and barely got through the 15 minute one, never mind a 45 minute one. 

I've been reading about symptoms.  I have no problems with vertigo or dizziness.  I have no facial weakness, but for the last few years have be having an odd sensation of head pressure, which comes and goes from my left temple, and when it's bad, eventually covers my head.  It's not pain, just pressure.  And it's not pressure in my ears.  I think it has to do with problems I am having with my thyroid, which is not controlled well.

So sorry for this long post.  My questions:  has anyone had a AN without having dizziness symptoms?  Has anyone ever had head pressure?  The ENT said he was ok with me waiting a year for the MRI, if I come back for another hearing test.  So, the question I ask myself:  Do I put myself through the trauma of the MRI and find out for certain, or just wait it out?  Many thanks in advance for any thoughts you can share.

james e

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Re: After hearing test, scared to death
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2019, 07:29:21 pm »
Do it. You can get a sedative to relax you.

Jill Marie

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Re: After hearing test, scared to death
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2019, 08:02:53 pm »
I agree with James, do it.  I have claustrophobia too but made it through the MRI using lamaze (relaxed breathing and focused my brain on other things) techniques to relax myself.  The time it takes to do the MRI is very small compared to the time you will worry about whether or not you have the AN.  Yes, you can have the AN without having the dizziness symptoms.  Let us know what you decide.  Jill
Facial Nerve Neuroma removed 6/15/92 by Dr. Charles Mangham, Seattle Ear Clinic. Deaf/left ear, left eye doesn't water.

Greece Lover

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Re: After hearing test, scared to death
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2019, 10:14:49 am »
Yes, unfortunately, the MRI is the only way really to know for sure what is going on.  Tinnitus can be caused by all sorts of things, so the odds are in your favor.  But it would be good to know for sure. Good luck
Vestibular Schwannoma 1.2 cm. Right side.
Middle fossa surgery at University of Iowa on May 9 2016.
Hearing saved.  Face is fine. Balance pretty darn good most days.
One year follow up MRI showed not tumor.  No MRI for four more years!


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Re: After hearing test, scared to death
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2019, 06:31:10 pm »
Once I close my eye's, any sensation of being in an enclosed environment goes.


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Re: After hearing test, scared to death
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2019, 10:15:09 am »

-I did not have dizziness as a symptom, it was facial numbness (and balance issues, which i assumed was age). As we led to surgery i had a lot of issues with head pressure (felt like a balloon inflating in my head). The pressure went away after surgery.

-I suggest discussing your anxiety and claustrophobia about it with your doctor + MRI team. Some places may offer headphones, eyemasks or other helps to manage it. AND you can always think about what time of day may be more manageable for you. I always choose morning appointments, close my eyes and imagine a yoga workout in my head during the MRI.

The MRI with contrast/dye is is key to identifying the AN.

It might be good to also understand what other ideas that ENT has which could be causing the symptoms and have a consult with a neurologist as well. Understand if this is a process of elimination, or if there are other reasons why they think it could be an AN. Finally, if you do delay, understand what to watch for to accelerate the next MRI.

Lots of support!
5/17/18: 2.7 x 2.2 x 2.1cm
8/12/18 right retrosigmoid craniotomy @UNC
8/15/18: 1.0 x 0.4 x 0.4 cm
3/04/19: 1.0 x 0.8 x 0.5 cm
4/23/19 Cyber Knife treatment
10/23/19 0.7 x 0.3 x 0.8 cm


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Re: After hearing test, scared to death
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2019, 01:09:58 pm »
The only symptoms I had before being diagnosed with AN were partial loss of hearing in right ear and some tinnitus.  I had no vertigo, dizzy spells, unsteadiness, facial weaknesses or headaches.  Sometimes it felt like I had water in my ear.  I thought it was the effect of allergies until I had the MRI.
Diagnosed Oct. 2015 - mild tinnitus, partial hearing loss - Right ear
1.5 cm x 0.8cm
Retrosigmoid Nov 2016 - Houston Methodist - Drs. Vrabec and Britz


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Re: After hearing test, scared to death
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2019, 02:59:15 pm »
I think most people get freaked out when they feel trapped in a small space. I find that taking a dramamine before an MRI helps me to relax.  It may make you drowsy so if you may want to take someone to drive you home afterward. Alternatively, your doctor can give you valium or ativan, mild sedatives,  which will ward off your anxiety for the 20-30 minutes you are in the machine.  If you tell the technician you get claustrophobic they will check on you more often and tell you what to expect as each new phase starts.