Brain Aneurysm Support Community

How concerned should I be about these symptoms?

25 years ago, I started experiencing partial hearing loss in my right ear when I was stressed or my blood pressure was high. I had many tests done back then, including an MRI, but there was no diagnosis except “maybe it’s just stress”. Because it didn’t occur often, I gave up on further tests and just lived with it.

Over the years, the hearing loss became more common, sometimes accompanied by numbness on the right side of my right hand and right foot. Sometimes I also get a dull ache on the right side of my head, always in the exact same spot behind my right ear. This is always associated with stress, anger, and/or too much coffee.

A few weeks ago, the symptoms suddenly became worse, the hand and foot numbness more pronounced and nearly constant. And now I’m also experiencing numbness on the right side of my face around my mouth.

The most disturbing new symptom is the whoosh-whoosh sound in my right ear. Pulsatile tinnitus, according to Dr. Google. Mostly I hear it when lying quietly, but occasionally it’s so loud it sounds like banging a piece of sheet metal. And then it stops suddenly for a few seconds, then starts again.

I’m otherwise very healthy. Ideal weight, don’t smoke, get lots of exercise. So far, my GP doesn’t seem too concerned. He ordered a carotid ultrasound, which was very normal, and an MRI without contrast, which had a few anomalies, but those could be explained by age.

I can’t help but wonder if I have an AVM. It worries me that I might have a ticking time bomb in my left hemisphere, and I think I need that one.

I’m afraid to work out, or do anything that raises my blood pressure much until I have some diagnosis or at least reassurance it’s not serious. Am I being overly concerned? Any advice appreciated.

May be it’s not an aneurysm since the MRI is clear , but the symptoms you have are serious … I would ask for neurologist referral at least , he can arrange more tests, may be cardiologist ? Have you done recently EKG or heart ultrasound ?

Thanks very much for your reply. I actually asked for a neurologist referral two weeks ago, but my GP said that would take some time. I had EKG and heart ultrasound done, but 25 years ago, both normal then.

Some time ago :slight_smile: … EKG they can do right at the therapist office… how are you feeling right now?

There must be a reason for your symptoms , keep investigating! I hope you will meet a good specialist and the problem will be discovered …

Thank you for your concern. The symptoms continue but aren’t getting worse.

I met with my GP this week and he agreed to refer me to a neurologist. They’re trying to get me an appointment.

Let me understand…you have never had a diagnosis for an AVM nor a brain aneurysm, is that correct?

Medicine has come a long way in 25 years, perhaps retesting is needed. From what my PCP told me a couple weeks ago, it’s hit or miss for insurance to pay when a family doctor orders the testing. Specialists have no problem.

Since your biggest complaint is apparently hearing loss, I wonder if you have check ups with an audiologist. You may want to try an ENT or Otolaryngologist since problems with the ear, nose and throat region is their specialty.

I’m not sure why you think you have an AVM, I’m confused on that sentence as well…I sure hope you’re just fine!

Hearing loss in my right ear was the original symptom. An audiologist was the first specialist I saw back then.

The new symptoms of numbness on the right side of my body and face, dull headache behind my right ear, and pulsatile tinnitus in my right ear are why I suspect an AVM. Especially since they all seem to coincide with my blood pressure being elevated.

But I’m not a physician, just trying to guard my health. I really appreciate the advice from this community.

Go to the ENT

anxiety can too cause physical symptoms

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I agree, anxiety and stress can cause my symptoms. But other things that raise my blood pressure, like too much coffee, or lifting something heavy, also causes them.

That’s why I suspect a vascular cause. I got a referral to a neurologist, waiting on them to schedule an appointment.

U might need to get both Neuro-Otologist (a specialty Neuro- ENT) and a Neurologist. I suffered partial hearing loss in mid range as consequence of minor stroke (infarct) in the brain stem as a result of aneursym rupture and SAH. Unlike an audiologist examination of just pure tone evaluation, a good ENT will run a battery of tests. In my case, she tested for mid bone loss which is usually attributed to mid range partial single side hearing loss. It was discounted in this test. She also asked whether I was any experiencing facial palsy which fortunately, I did not experience. My consultation with a stroke specialist at a research hospital (#1 rated Neurology Dept in US) which reveal a small stroke (infarct) in the brainstem. MRI are planer. Unlike the Radiologist, he reviewed every plane and found the stroke.

I understand how frustrating it is when you experience medical issues of an unknown nature. It took me consultations with multiple physicians until I got the correct diagnosis and treatment. But, even though you may not get the answer in the first consultation, a good physician will throughly run a battery of tests and at least, tell you what it is not.

Good luck. If you are experiencing numbness, it may be something serious. Hope that things works out for you

Good advice, thanks. The numbness, especially on the side of my face, is what concerns me most.

An acoustic neuroma (schwanoma) was found when I had my first MRI. IT IS A GROWTH ON THE SHEATH OF THE AUDITORY NERVE. It is always benign. However, it can grow slowly and make hearing in that ear worse. It also can cause balance problems. IF it grows toward the brain stem (rare)it can be dangerous. I also have what I call my “ear pain”, but it sounds much like yours. The pain is sometimes frequent and then gives me a break for a
(?).
I would go to an ENT OR NEUROLOGIST who has experience with schwanomas and get yourself an MRI!

By the way, you are the first person I’ve ‘known’ with my same symptoms. If you live in the New York area, I can recommend a neurologist.
Good luck…it IS quite annoying and temporarily debilitating.

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Thanks Brenda. I don’t think what I have is anything like that, I have minor hearing loss that occurs along with other symptoms. I have a neurologist appointment Monday, looking forward to learning what he thinks.

How did the Neurologist appointment go?

Thanks for asking. He suggested a number of possible causes, including acoustic neuroma, although he agreed that wouldn’t explain the numbness on my right side.

He ordered MRA with contrast, which I’m having done this afternoon.

I hope they figure it out!