Meningitis Now
4,308 members1,425 posts

Bacterial meningitis: deafness and ossification of cochlea?

Just wondering if there is anybody else reading this who had pneumococcal bacterial meningitis that left them deaf? If so, did you get a cochlear implant? Both ears or one ear? Any ossification of your cochleas?

I had BM 16 mos ago and was in a coma for just 2 days, but woke up deaf. I had a cochlear implant done in my right ear fairly quickly (just 3 mos after I got sick) but put off having my left ear done. Now my doc tells me that my left cochlea is 40% ossified (bacterial meningitis- the gift that keeps on giving- LOL!).

And here is a real far fetched - anybody who had cholesteatoma in their ears as a kid, then get meningitis (cholesteatoma is a known risk factor)?

Wishing you all the best!

4 Replies


Sorry to hear about your illness and hearing loss from pneumococcal meningitis.

I had pneumococcal meningitis twice. After the first time, testing 3 months after the illness showed hearing in one ear was reduced to 50% in most frequencies. No ossification was detected. After the second meningitis three years later my hearing was tested again. The second meningitis was treated very quickly, no unconscious and very little side affects from this one. My hearing was tested again and it showed hearing in the 'bad' ear was 90% in all frequencies. This showed the ENT that whilst it took a long time, (over a year) my hearing damage from the first meningitis actually improved and was not permanent.

I've not heard anyone else report on this in this forum, but I can let you know from my own experience that my hearing loss, whilst initially significant, it was not permeant and that with time it actually improved.

1 like

Thank you for telling me your story!! Unfortunately, my meningitis started in my left ear so I think that is part of the problem. Also, both ears had many surgeries prior due to congenital cholesteatoma. Sixteen months later and yup, still profoundly deaf.

On the other hand, I am soooo glad to read that your hearing has improved (and I am absolutely awed by the fact that you survived pneumococcal meningitis twice!).


I guess thats the risk with surgeries in the sinuses and ears, the dura can be damaged and the normal bacteria of these areas get in and cause meningitis. This is how I contracted it. The second time around I knew exactly what was happening and requested immediate treatment, (intravenous antibiotics and steroids). They didn't want to give it, but in the end I was correct and they said I did exactly the right thing.

I'm not sure if you are at risk of meningitis again from your ear surgery. Its worth being aware so that next time around you can get treatment quickly. Recurrent meningitis through bacteria, (particularly pneumococcal) from the ear and sinus areas are not that uncommon for people like us.

1 like

Just an update- I am one week post surgery to do a cochlear implant in my left ear. Saw my surgeon yesterday and he said my left cochlea was almost completely filled with bone )-: Yet to be determined if I will get any usable hearing out of that ear.

Very grateful that we moved quickly and did the cochlear implant on my right ear just 2 months after contracting pneumococcal bacterial meningitis!


You may also like...