After two years of being plagued by tinnitus, migraine and the feeling of having bees buzzing in his ears, Mr Nguyen Thanh Phu (32 years old, from Tien Giang) was happy to recover his hearing thanks to the “golden hands” of well-known hearing rehabilitation expert Bernard Colin, MD, PhD.
Dr Bernard Colin examines Mr Phu
Hearing loss and reduced quality of life due to otosclerosis
Mr Phu has suffered from tinnitus and migraine for two years, during which time he visited many centres for treatment and was told by doctors that sinusitis could be the cause of his symptoms.
Mr Phu was treated for sinusitis, but his tinnitus and headache continued to worsen. With each course of antibiotics, his headaches subsided but the tinnitus became more pronounced. For Phu, the condition felt like a swarm of bees buzzing in his ear. It was extremely uncomfortable and affected his work and daily life. The most worrying thing is that his hearing was getting worse and worse.
On the advice of an acquaintance, he visited FV Hospital for examination. Doctors from the ENT Department diagnosed Mr Phu with otosclerosis – a condition in which bones develop abnormally inside the ear, causing hearing loss. A surgery was required to restore his hearing.
Dr Colin, a hearing rehab specialist from France
The thought of ear surgery made Mr Phu anxious, but when he was introduced to Dr Bernard Colin, a leading expert from France in the field of treating ear problems, Mr Phu was hopeful that this well-known doctor would be able to cure his condition.
Dr Bernard Colin has more than 35 years of experience working in France. He was formerly Head of the ENT Department at Saint Luc hospital, Lyon, France. Dr Colin is famous in the Vietnamese medical community for conducting complicated ear surgeries, especially for his surgical stapedectomy technique in the treatment of otosclerosis.
From 2003 to the present, Dr Colin has collaborated with FV Hospital to treat many patients with hearing problems, including otosclerosis. He chose FV because it is fully equipped and has an experienced medical staff that can deliver microsurgery with high technical requirements for the best treatment outcomes.
Dr Bernard Colin was scheduled for a period of work at FV Hospital at the end of 2022. Mr Phu was one of eight patients Dr Colin operated on during his trip.
Recovering hearing after microsurgery
Dr Colin explains his hearing condition to Mr Phu
Dr Colin shared that each person may suffer from some or all of the symptoms of otosclerosis, such as tinnitus, dizziness, migraine and nausea. However, it’s always important to determine the disease in each case, as well as its extent. It’s also crucial to conduct audiometry and CT imaging to determine whether otosclerosis is present.
In the case of Phu, Dr Colin said that a branch of the stapes bone in his right ear was fibrous, causing it to be stuck, leading to tinnitus and severe hearing loss. During the operation, Dr Colin drilled a small hole measuring 0.5 millimetres in diameter through the base of the stapes into the inner ear, then placed a 0.4 mm diameter platinum piston into the base plate, and bent it into the incus. Microsurgery must be performed to replace the stapes. The extremely sophisticated and complex surgery was successfully performed by Dr Colin. Incisions are made inside the ear so no external scar can be seen.
Dr Colin was happy to inform the patient about the positive results of the surgery
One week after the surgery, Dr Colin checked on Mr Phu before he returned to France. At this time, Mr Phu said that his previous symptoms were greatly reduced, his headache was gone, but the tinnitus was present and his hearing had not improved.
Dr Colin explained that because the wound in the ear had not completely healed, there was fluid present which was causing tinnitus and affecting Mr Phu’s ability to hear sound. This is a normal phenomenon after surgery.
While waiting for the wound to heal, the patient continued to keep a Mache gauze in his ear, and have four ear drops twice a day in his ear. Dr Colin also instructed him to lie on his right side to let the fluid drain from the ear canal.
Three weeks later, Mr Phu visited the ENT Department of FV Hospital for his follow up examination. At this visit, when the Meche swab was removed from his ear, Mr Phu was very happy that he could hear normally again. From the audiometric results, Dr Le Phu Cuong, a senior ENT doctor, said that the patient’s hearing ability has been restored, although sometimes he may experience mild tinnitus.
Dr Cuong explained: “The tinnitus is not worrisome; it will gradually decrease during postoperative recovery. The important thing is that Mr Phu’s hearing was at level 2 prior to surgery and now is completely normal.”
The middle ear consists of three bones known as the ear ossicles – the tiniest bones in the human body. The stapes vibrate when sound waves enter, causing pressure waves in the cochlea (inner ear), where they are transformed into electrical energy sent to brain.
Otosclerosis happens when the stapes become stuck in place due to one of the three tiny bones in the middle ear becoming stiff. Accordingly, sound is unable to travel through the ear and hearing becomes impaired.
Otosclerosis leads to hearing loss and can cause complete deafness. However, with early detection and prompt treatment, the rate of hearing improvement can be as high as 90 per cent.
In otosclerosis cases, surgery is the best method to restore hearing. When symptoms of tinnitus, hearing loss and migraine are present, it’s necessary to have an early check-up with a doctor for timely treatment.
From 10th – 22nd April 2023, Dr Bernard Colin, our French ENT specialist will be available FV Hospital. To arrange appointment, please call (028) 54 11 33 33