Audiologist Questions Audiologist

My hearing loss is being attributed to my mental illness?

Hi. I saw an audiologist last year following a hearing test where I showed hearing loss in both ears. This happened after I had a nasty case of Glandular fever which went untreated for 3 weeks. They did all of the usual tests and could not find a physical reason for the hearing loss. To add to this, my hearing loss appears to fluctuate slightly between tests. The audiologist refused to offer me hearing aids and instead offered to refer me to a psychiatrist as I have a diagnosis of OCD (well managed) and she believed that my hearing loss is all in my head. Is it possible to have hearing loss that doesn't appear on MRI scans? I'm confused and starting to think I'm making it up.

Female | 20 years old
Complaint duration: 12 months
Medications: Ventilin via inhaler, Sertraline 150mg
Conditions: Asthma and recurrent chest infection, OCD

8 Answers

Hello, I'm sorry to hear of the trouble you are having. Yes, it is possible to have hearing loss that would not demonstrate abnormal results on a MRI scan. The best way to evaluate you would be to come in for an ENT consultation. If an audiogram demonstrates hearing loss, we can discuss hearing aid candidacy. Please feel free to schedule a consultation at our office, if desired! Elise Krzesimowski, Au.D., CCC-A Clinical Audiologist 36539 Harper Clinton Twp., MI 48035 P: 586-900-8225 F: 920-356-6419 [cid:260237c8-6fe8-4743-9f07-87fa53ae8494]
A hearing loss can fluctuate but there are certain diseases that correlate to this. Other tests can be run to declare whether it is a true hearing loss. If the audiologist is refusing to dispense hearing aids it may be because the loss is not aid-able. Ethnically you run the risk of over amplification in this case. I’d you still have concerns with hearing you may want to consider an auditory processing exam. You have to have normal hearing to have the evaluation but your hearing problems. Oils be related to higher order processing abilities.
There are a few objective tests that might confirm your hearing loss. DPOAE's are used to screen newborns in the hospital. If the emissions from DPOAE's are present and robust it indicates that the peripheral system of hearing (cochlea) is functioning normally and hearing can't be worse than 25dBHL which is still considered normal. The other test would be threshold ABSEP which objectively measures some evoked potentials in the brainstem and the lowest presentation level where a response is present should give an indication of your hearing thresholds, but if there is anything going on beyond the organ of hearing (cochlea) the ABSEP responses might be affected.

I hope this helps!


Dr. Fernandez-Roque
I am so sorry to hear that your experience with the audiologist was not helpful. If possible, I recommend you seek another exam from a different audiologist and take your previous test results with you so they can compare. There are a number of reasons that hearing loss may fluctuate from test to test. It would be best to get a second opinion.
If you suspect or continue to struggle with a hearing loss, we recommend you have your hearing re-evaluated and schedule an appointment with an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) physician. Save or request copies of all your past hearing exams and provide them to your ENT to review the hearing loss and/or fluctuations you suspect. Provide a thorough medical history to your physician. Treatment for Glandular fever may have side effects your ENT can review with you. Your ENT may want to complete additional exams as well. If your doctor ultimately deems it appropriate, they can provide you medical clearance to pursue hearing aid options.
You should seek another opinion.
Most hearing losses cannot be identified by an MRI. There are OBJECTIVE tests that can determine whether a Heairng loss is present: Auditory brainstem response (ABR) in conjunction with otoacoustic emissions (OAEs). If both of those tests are WNL, there may be an underlying functional issue. Those tests need to be conducted in order to confirm what is going on.
Hmm...Have you gotten a second opinion? That's what I would do first. Also, hearing loss, depending on the cause, cannot necessarily be seen in an MRI. The golden standard for obtaining hearing measurements is through behavioral responses (i.e., you respond when you hear a tone). The audiologist may not have been confident in the responses that you gave during the exam, which is why he/she may not have been comfortable fitting you with hearing aids. I would try another audiologist and see what they get from you as a next step.