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Sudden Hearing Loss following surgery?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:33 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Has anyone else experienced Sudden Hearing Loss in one ear following neck surgery? I had a posterior foraminotomy at c6/7 on July 13 and woke up with some deafness and definite dizziness and nausea. Over the next few days the ringing in my ear and hearing loss increased till by three days after surgery I was totally deaf in the ear, though the dizziness and nausea left me.

My (very good) NS of course said it was nothing to do with his surgery and actually the ENT and ear specialist he referred me to have also said it's unrelated to surgery and they have never seen the like before following surgery but it seems too much of a coincidence to me. They diagnosed Sudden Hearing Loss and I am getting steroid shots in the ear to fix it. Luckily the first shot seems to be helping so I am hopeful that the rest will do the trick.

Everything I have read online about Sudden Hearing Loss does say it's a random medical mystery with no known cause (possibly a virus or a very small possibility of a tumor--I am getting an MRI today to rule that out). But it seems just too close a coincidence so I thought I would ask if anyone else experienced similar probs. I thought it was perhaps reverb from the drill but the doc said most of the surgery was curets and cutting, not a drill.

FYI: If you are having such a hearing loss everything I have read also says to treat it as a medical emergency and see a doctor right away. My ear doctor says the single most important factor in recovery is how soon you start treatment.

I look forward to hearing from anyone (no pun intended)



  • My only thought would probably apply to both ears, not just one. Some IV meds if run in too quickly can cause hearing loss, like Gentamycin. I have never heard of it causing loss unilaterally. But, just a thought in case that was the antibiotic they gave you in the OR. Mass quantities of aspirin over time can cause hearing loss, but then again, I would think it would be bilateral.

    I really don't know, but I do agree, it seems too much of a coincidence to not be from surgery???
  • I had two posterior c-spine surgeries in 8 days and during the week following them, I thought I was developing an ear infection, because I started losing the hearing in one ear. 10 days after the second surgery I was back in the hospital with vertigo so bad that I couldn't walk and nystagmus (eye's moving involuntarily) and tremendous hearing loss in one ear.

    The docs were baffled and ran tons of tests and did multiple MRI's and CT's trying to figure out what had happened. The final determination was that I had suffered a minor stroke during surgery which damaged the vestibular-ocular nerve.

    It took several months of vestibular rehab to regain my balance and confidence walking and several more to regain much of my hearing. I still have quite a bit of tinnitus but can hear much more comfortably these days.

    The ENT's and Neurologists all said that it was unknown as to how much would come back and how long it would take. The fact that it did start to heal was encouraging and it has continued, just very slowly.

    Chalk it up to "stuff happens".

  • Thanks very much for the ideas, I shall check into them. The good news is that I am definitely getting hearing back, even after just the first shot. Two more to go next week and I will let you know what happens. meanwhile, I 'd still love to hear other ideas!


    Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy, C6/7 on 7/13/09 and doing well
  • Did they puncture the dural sac of the spinal cord perhaps, leaking enough CSF to cause the hearing loss?

  • I had my third steroid shot in the ear last Wed and I have about 85% of my hearing back with hope of getting the rest back over the next few weeks. I have a low ringing in my ears (like someone is playing the stereo loud next door) but it is manageable, and I have a little trouble with ambient noise, but in general I am doing well.

    I am still not clear on what caused the loss as I have not yet seen a surgery report. Will that come automatically or do I have to ask for it?
  • Really glad to hear that you are having success regaining your hearing. It has been a little over 2 years since I went through the hearing loss I mentioned above. My ear still rings, but I'd rather that, then the loss of hearing I experienced early on. Thanks for posting the update. I look forward to the next one.

  • After my second PLIF I awoke with partial deafness and had that feeling I had been droppped from a great height. My ear took weeks to recover. It was put down to CSF leak.
    There is a few papers on web about fusion sugery and sudden hearing loss, I guess you will have found them already.

    Strangely now when back pain flares my ear also flares, not as bad a post op but same pattern of symptoms. When I see my PM doc I plan to follow this up.
    The other issue may be oxycodone which also is reported to cause hearing loss.

    Good luck with yours.
  • I had a c5/6 left Laminoforaminotomy on the 2nd March 2011, and nearly to the day,one month later i suddenly lost hearing in my right ear accompanied by an elevation in the tinnitus as well.I have seen an ENT specialist who sent me for an MRI scan which said everything was normal.I had a audiometric test which confirmed complete loss of hearing in the right ear.I too also find this to be too much of a coincidence and have seen the same thing has happened to others in various online forums.Surely this needs further research to see if there is a definite link? I am at a complete loss as what to do next.I am an Aussie guy looking for any suggestions.
  • I assessed a cervical spine in relation to a shoulder problem. This patient suffered sudden deafness after a fall.
    At the time of the assessment the patient had been deaf for over 3 months.

    After the neck assessment (MDT) the patients hearing returned (unintentional). There appeared to be a relation between the cervical movements and the return of the hearing. Patient had been assessed previously by a neurologist and an ear, nose and throat Dr. No abnormalities were found and patient was advised to just live with the loss of hearing. I hope this helps.
  • About 18 weeks ago I Lost my hearing totally in the Ear White i was treating a dental patient ( I'm a dental doctor).

    My case: The sudden hear Loss came as I turned my head to have a directly look in the patients mouth.(I'm a dental doctor) I heard a "pop" and servere vertigo with nausa hit me. I was transfered to emergency hospital Who did MRI and CT scan without any defects. I Got the diagnose Sudden deafness idiopathic.

    Now I wonder - could it be a disorder i my neck ? Should I seek Chiropratic?
  • Hi. I would suggest a referral to a good neurosurgeon. Strange that the ER didn't do a referral for you.

    Good luck.
  • mikendadrammikendadra Posts: 1
    edited 01/21/2014 - 7:14 PM
    I had C5-7 fused - two of my nerves were crushed - so I woke up from surgery much improved. Almost exactly a month later I have lost most of the hearing in my left ear and have constant ringing. ENT does not feel it is related - thinks it is a virus settled in my nerve. treated with high dose oral streroids for 2 weeks - today had first injection in the ear - hearing a little better. I feel it must be related.

    Nice to read others coming to the same conclusion.
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