SUNDAY MAGAZINE

Ear and throat trouble

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Ear and throat trouble

P. Subramanyam

I am 60 years old. My right ear was operated nearly 15 years ago due to a hole in the ear drum. Initially I could hear well, then slowly the hearing decreased. Now I am deaf in the right ear. Now,I have a similar problem with my left ear too. I met a ENT specialist who suggested surgery. But I am afraid that I may lose the hearing in this ear too. Is this likely? Is it possible to re-operate the right ear again?

Dr. H. Ganapathy, Consultant

ENT Surgeon, replies:

Progressive hearing loss in the operated ear 15 years after surgery should alert to the possibility of some ongoing process in the hearing nerve, which is unrelated to the surgery. It could be ageing, tumors in the nerve or some other systemic disease. Hearing loss after repair of hole in the drum (Tympanoplasty) usually occurs immediately following the surgery and it cannot be progressive.

Hearing loss can occur following tympanoplasty though the chances are less. Since you have no serviceable hearing in the right ear, you have to take a calculated risk in subjecting yourself for tympanoplasty in the only hearing ear. Revision tympanoplasty is always possible provided you are otherwise fit.

Shyam

I'm 23, a student. Since 1998, I've chronic tonsilitis. Every 30-40 days I am bedridden with high fever, pain on both sides of neck and am unable to eat. After gargling and taking antibiotics (althrocin, roxythromycin,azithromycin,Bi-cef) it subsides in five to six days. Doctors now suggest a surgery. Some say it is not necessary. What should I do?

Dr. H. Ganapathy, Consultant

ENT Surgeon, replies:

Ear and throat trouble

You have chronically infected tonsils. It means they harbor the bacteria in their crypts. When the environment is favourable, they become active and cause acute infection.Though the acute condition is treated with antibiotics, you cannot prevent further infection.You live with a septic condition in the body that can flare up at any time.

With time and age, the organisms can become resistant to many antibiotics and the infection can result in further complication. This can interfere with your studies and quality of life. Therefore,I strongly recommend that you undergo tonsillectomy at the earliest.

C.A. Venkateshwaran

I am 59 years old and have an acute hearing problem. I find it difficult to hear a person talking from some distance (even at home). I often hear familiar musical sounds, as if emanating from some distance. I find it quite difficult to understand anyone with speech-impediment(s). ENT specialists attribute my problem to acute hearing debility. I have used several hearing aids, without much relief. I have been diagnosed for seizure disorder and have been taking the following medicines for the last three years: � Tegretol CR- 400 mg (twice a day) � Lamitor DT- 100 mg (once at night) � Voveran SR- 50 mg (twice a day). Is there some way to hear better?

Dr. H. Ganapathy, Consultant

ENT Surgeon, replies:

From your description I guess that you have sensorineural hearing problem in both ears with tinnitus. If my guess is correct then your problem could be related to ageing or some other cause. Certain conditions like diabetes, elevated levels of cholesterol and triglycerides can aggravate your existing hearing loss. If present they have to to be controlled to prevent or slow down further progress of the condition. Tegretol can sometime increase your hearing disability.

Discuss with your Neurologist regarding the use of that drug. Regarding the management, hearing aid is the only device to help you to hear better. The ideal thing would be to use hearing aids in both ears. Digital hearing aids can be tried. If they do not help then implantable hearing aids have to be tried.

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