First MRI - bit worried

I'm having a brain and internal auditory meatus MRI for general symptoms in my left ear - fluttering/twitching, fullness, hearing pulse, sensitivity to loud noise. I'm a bit scared that a) they'll find nothing at all and conversely b) that they'll find something horrible in my brain that they weren't even looking for!

How long can I expect the test to last and how quickly do ENT generally follow up? Will I be sent results by letter or have to wait weeks for an appointment? Are MRIs actually useful for tinnitus?

ENT consultant said it was just for reassurance as he couldn't see anything wrong and hearing test was fine - but I have two ears so I know what a good ear (right) should feel like and know my left feels different. I also had surgery on it as a child.

Any reassurances/ideas of what to expect appreciated!
  • Thanks everyone for your reassurance, I had the scan, I was given foam earplugs and ear defenders and it was still very noisy - but it is an amazing bit of technology! I will await the results.
  • Hi totally understandable that you are scared. But equally, if you don't have it done you'll still be worrying about your ear so you need the MRI to make further progress with finding out what's going on. I my experience MRI's take about half an hour and are very noisy. I've never been offered foam earplug, just headphones, but I was offered the opportunity to take my own CD to listen to which I would recommend. Your favourite music will help you relax and you'll probably find it goes more quickly than you expect.

    As has been said, waiting times vary hugely between areas but the results should be back with ENT within a couple of weeks so it might be worth phoning ENT then to find out what will happen next if you've not heard before.

    Good luck.
  • Hi SChall1

    Thank you for your post and welcome to the forum. My name is Jess and I work for the Information Line here at Action on Hearing Loss.

    It's great to see Sandbuzz has already replied with some very useful information.

    MRI scans can be standard procedure to see if there is any underlying causes for hearing loss or tinnitus that an external examination would not show. They can be very loud and you should be given foam ear plugs as well as ear defenders and like Sandbuzz mentioned they can last quite a while.

    If the result come back clear then you can start to ask your ENT about therapies and treatments available particularly for your tinnitus and hyperacusis (sensitivity to loud sounds). The therapies are usually given by a hearing therapist and you will need a referral onto this specialist. You may wish to read our tinnitus publication and hyperacusis factsheet for further information about treatments.

    Tinnitus can worsen when you are worried or tired, therefore it can increase your stress and anxiety levels further triggering a cycle of stress and worry. I understand it is a lot easier said than done to break this cycle but try not to worry about the scan and ensure you are doing any activities you enjoy and that help you relax.

    Please keep us up to date with how you get on.

    Best wishes,
    Jess