Thursday, September 03, 2009

09/02/09 - Deafness?

This may seem very strange, it was to me, but now I'm completely deaf in my left ear and it's very likely that it will never regain any hearing capability. It happened very suddenly (overnight), and I'm sure that I'll miss it more and more as time goes on.

Radiation #3 initially impaired my hearing probably 10-20%, that was obvious because Laura kept having to repeat things that she said. My hearing was slightly impaired for over a month, then it got worse rather quickly, then I woke up deaf in my left ear.

I initially thought it was a physical blockage, such as a wax build-up, so I tried for a few days to clean out my ear. I also sent an email to my Neuro-oncologist's Physician's Assistant. Her response was pretty urgent. She thought the deafness could be due to spread of my disease. She suggested we speak to my Radiation Oncologist and see an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist (doctor).

We called my Radiation Oncologist yesterday morning. He also suspected the radiation treatment #3 could have caused some systems to over-produce wax. His office was able to set me up with an appointment with an ENT yesterday afternoon.

So, I went to see the ENT yesterday. He ran multiple tests. There was no physical blockage (that would have been the best option). From his experience, he said that the radiation treatment to my type of brain tumor was the likely cause (the second-best cause). He also said that if it is the cause, it is VERY unlikely to recover, and nothing will help, even hearing aids. One good thing, he said if radiation is the cause, he's only see it effect one ear...

Well, I'm scheduled to get MRIs done next Tuesday. I should find out then whether the deafness is due to radiation treatment (yeah!) or the spread of my disease (boo!).

Approximate graph of my left ear hearing

The above graph (click to enlarge) is only approximate and is meant to show how sudden the deafness in my left ear happened. The ENT tested the hearing in my right ear and found it was normal, with some high-pitch impairment.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bright side you can ignore people and blame it on the deafness? Give your brother a call if your up to it. I got my mri today lost color vision every time the machine started shooting. They only shot my feet. Weird!

9/03/2009 3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bummer, Mark! Isn't it great we have two ears to work with -- when one doesn't work, the other does!!! I agree with you can ignore who you want; and for those you want to hear, just ask them to repeat what they said toward your good ear....HEY -- we're flexible!!! Anything to accommodate the great patient!

Keep us posted on your reports and doctors' comments...our inquiring minds want to know!!

You know you have our prayers, dear friend!

Talk soon,

Love, the Gregory Clan

9/03/2009 7:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I guess anything can happen. That sucks, however, it does have its benefits - selective hearing is now legit for you! Hear what you want, ignore what you don't.

Hang in there Mark, hope the MRI's are good next week and you can focus on finishing the treatments and coming back to the burgh in the spring.


9/03/2009 9:41 PM  
Blogger Mark said...


I'm making a list...


9/04/2009 5:51 AM  
Blogger Mark said...


I first read the one line of your comment as "... our prayers, DEAF friend! I guess it's on my mind...


9/04/2009 5:57 AM  
Blogger Mark said...


Yeah, I've had my share of strange events since returning from the 'Burgh. Yes, I hope that the MRI next week goes good...


9/04/2009 6:01 AM  
Blogger Big Monkey said...

Forget about Def Leppard. We're going to start our own band called Def Monkey!

9/05/2009 9:03 AM  
Anonymous fred said...


The way I see it, don't your other senses increase in sensitivity with the loss of another? I expect to read of your increased visual acuity in coming blogs!

Thinking of you bro, and always hoping for the best for you.


9/05/2009 12:17 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Big Monkey,

That band idea would be appropriate...


9/06/2009 9:59 AM  
Blogger Mark said...


I'm hoping for a new sense like telepathy...


9/06/2009 10:04 AM  
Blogger Big Monkey said...

Try to read my mind. I'm thinking of... can you guess?

9/06/2009 3:01 PM  

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