Molten steel solidified into metal causing hearing loss and two infections in 60-year-old ear.
In an unusual case, a 60-year-old man accidentally got molten steel lava inside his ear causing hearing loss and weird sensations in the ear. The patient presented to the emergency department with complaints of severe burning pain and hearing loss in his right ear. He was soldering iron on the underside of his semi-trailer using earlier that day. He wasn’t wearing any eye protection while doing so. Therefore, when a spark of molten steel came off the welding site, it fell directly into his ear, perforating the tympanic membrane.
Soon after the incident he heard a “firecracker” like sound, burning pain, hearing loss and fullness. He poured cool water down his ear to relieve the burning discomfort. However, he had no complaints of hemifacial paralysis or vertigo. He was referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist.
On initial examination, the external ear canal skin was healthy. Further examination showed singed ear in his air canal with perforation of the eardrum.
Due to an 8-week waiting at the ENT doctor’s clinic, he developed two ear infections and tinnitus.
He also complained that his left ear felt hollow and that he had trouble hearing in crowded environments. Examination by the ear, nose and throat doctor showed that he had a foreign body inside his sinus tympani. Doctors advised removing the molten lava that had now cooled to solidify into metal surgically. While surgically removing the metal, doctors also noted inflamed tissue surrounding the area. Although, there was no damage to the chorda tympani nerve. Although the patient suffered from temporary hearing loss, he also got lucky because that was the only damage done.
His hearing fully recovered after removal of the metal.
Metallic foreign body adjacent to the round window: a rare cause for chronic tympanic membrane perforation with hearing loss https://casereports.bmj.com/content/14/5/e240106