by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
A lady wrote:
I was diagnosed last year with a mild reverse-slope hearing loss. Since then it has not worsened much—just slightly. My question is: can this type of hearing loss fluctuate? There are days when I hear just fine. Other days I am constantly asking people to repeat themselves. I have trouble mainly with male voices. I am 46, and hearing loss runs in my family.
There are a few reasons for a fluctuating hearing loss. Perhaps the most common one is from colds or allergies. For example, people with stuffed ears/head colds/allergies can have fluctuating hearing depending on just how stuffed their ears are on any given day.
Also, people with Meniere’s disease do have fluctuating hearing losses. Often Meniere’s disease begins with a mild to moderate reverse-slope loss. If you have Meniere’s disease, you should also be experiencing dizziness/vertigo and tinnitus as well as the fluctuating hearing loss.
Another possibility is if you have large vestibular aqueduct syndrome (LVAS). Such people are also prone to fluctuating hearing loss—it often comes with mild head trauma or rapid pressure changes. However, in my experience, people with LVAS don’t seem to have reverse-slope losses.