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Tinnitus for a week (so far)

TX85

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I talk a lot, so thanks in advance for anyone who reads the whole thing.

Hi all, been a few months since I've posted here (and no offense to you lovely people, but I wish it could have been longer -- you know?).

I have been working with a therapist for my health anxiety and have made substantial progress. But unfortunately, things can still get the better of me and I find myself suffering again. This is one of those times.

It's now the wee hours of Saturday morning. Exactly one week ago, at 5 AM, I was minding my own business and suddenly had a weird awful feeling in my left ear. That kind of vacuum feeling where the sound goes out and is then replaced by tinnitus which lasts 30-60 seconds. I imagine a lot of us have experienced that at some point or another (for reference, it's apparently called an SBUTT!). It's uncomfortable and perhaps even a bit terrifying, but at least it goes away. Only this time, it didn't. Something changed.

For the past week, my left ear has had pretty near-constant tinnitus of the high-pitched tone variety. It's maddening. My sleep schedule has been utterly destroyed, I'm a nervous wreck... I even snapped at a coworker! It was so unprofessional and I was utterly embarrassed. But that's how debilitating even just one week of this has turned out to be. I've never had it just... not go away.

I'm able to mitigate the effects with distractions and certain kinds of pink or rain noise. My ear does feel funny/full inside, so I've tried CAREFULLY poking around with some metal ear-cleaning tools I have, but I didn't find anything. I've also tried Debrox twice now, but I think my ear canal is clean as a whistle. And as far as I can tell, I can hear just fine. Honestly I wish it were just some kind of nasty wax buildup because at least you can fix that with some irrigation and stuff, and get instant relief...

I'm currently left with some pretty grim thoughts, because hey, I have health anxiety and that's what we do, right? I am, as always, worried there's a tumor, perhaps of the type caused by too much mobile phone use... or, for the less extreme potential cause, perhaps it's good old-fashioned hearing damage from a loud concert I went to as a kid or something (I really didn't do this very often, and started using earplugs after my first one or so!). I've had little bouts of tinnitus in the past and I usually will have it if I'm in a completely silent room, but it's never been like this. I also suffer from vertigo, though not too terribly often, and I'm usually able to fix that with the half-somersault technique. I keep trying to tell myself this is just because of all the rainy weather in Texas over the past week or so, but I've lived here all my life (I'm 36) and haven't ever gone through something like this.

I'm seeing my doctor on Monday. I'll update based on what we do (or do not) ascertain. But in the meantime... does anyone else have any experience with tinnitus, especially any similar to what I'm experiencing? Any words of wisdom or comfort? I could really use either...
 

TruthHurts

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I talk a lot, so thanks in advance for anyone who reads the whole thing.

Hi all, been a few months since I've posted here (and no offense to you lovely people, but I wish it could have been longer -- you know?).

I have been working with a therapist for my health anxiety and have made substantial progress. But unfortunately, things can still get the better of me and I find myself suffering again. This is one of those times.

It's now the wee hours of Saturday morning. Exactly one week ago, at 5 AM, I was minding my own business and suddenly had a weird awful feeling in my left ear. That kind of vacuum feeling where the sound goes out and is then replaced by tinnitus which lasts 30-60 seconds. I imagine a lot of us have experienced that at some point or another (for reference, it's apparently called an SBUTT!). It's uncomfortable and perhaps even a bit terrifying, but at least it goes away. Only this time, it didn't. Something changed.

For the past week, my left ear has had pretty near-constant tinnitus of the high-pitched tone variety. It's maddening. My sleep schedule has been utterly destroyed, I'm a nervous wreck... I even snapped at a coworker! It was so unprofessional and I was utterly embarrassed. But that's how debilitating even just one week of this has turned out to be. I've never had it just... not go away.

I'm able to mitigate the effects with distractions and certain kinds of pink or rain noise. My ear does feel funny/full inside, so I've tried CAREFULLY poking around with some metal ear-cleaning tools I have, but I didn't find anything. I've also tried Debrox twice now, but I think my ear canal is clean as a whistle. And as far as I can tell, I can hear just fine. Honestly I wish it were just some kind of nasty wax buildup because at least you can fix that with some irrigation and stuff, and get instant relief...

I'm currently left with some pretty grim thoughts, because hey, I have health anxiety and that's what we do, right? I am, as always, worried there's a tumor, perhaps of the type caused by too much mobile phone use... or, for the less extreme potential cause, perhaps it's good old-fashioned hearing damage from a loud concert I went to as a kid or something (I really didn't do this very often, and started using earplugs after my first one or so!). I've had little bouts of tinnitus in the past and I usually will have it if I'm in a completely silent room, but it's never been like this. I also suffer from vertigo, though not too terribly often, and I'm usually able to fix that with the half-somersault technique. I keep trying to tell myself this is just because of all the rainy weather in Texas over the past week or so, but I've lived here all my life (I'm 36) and haven't ever gone through something like this.

I'm seeing my doctor on Monday. I'll update based on what we do (or do not) ascertain. But in the meantime... does anyone else have any experience with tinnitus, especially any similar to what I'm experiencing? Any words of wisdom or comfort? I could really use either...
Have you listened to music wearing ear buds that sit in your ear lately? Other things that can trigger tinnitus is alcohol, stress, caffeine and some foods especially if you eat a big meal. Last year I posted about this I was getting a knocking type of sound in my head I think that ended up being sinus related but since then once in awhile I do get a buzzing in my left ear mainly if I'm stressing or after eating a big meal. Hopefully your issue goes away.
 

TX85

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Have you listened to music wearing ear buds that sit in your ear lately? Other things that can trigger tinnitus is alcohol, stress, caffeine and some foods especially if you eat a big meal. Last year I posted about this I was getting a knocking type of sound in my head I think that ended up being sinus related but since then once in awhile I do get a buzzing in my left ear mainly if I'm stressing or after eating a big meal. Hopefully your issue goes away.
I'm not really an earbuds person. But I do record videos for YouTube and have to spend hours editing my voice tracks so they sound more pleasant, but that's using big studio headphones. And I certainly don't blast the volume... no need to.

I don't drink alcohol or consume caffeine. And, well, I thought I had my stress under control these days, but it's possible I don't. My sleep schedule was already pretty erratic, as has been my eating schedule, so those are some suspect factors. I guess the question is just... why now? I haven't introduced any big lifestyle changes in quite a while. Truly, the only thing that's changed was that we got a lot of rain here in North Texas, which was quite lovely...

A knocking sound? I've read a bit about that as I've researched tinnitus and I have to say, I can't even imagine what that would "sound" like. I'm sorry that happened but I'm glad it's subsided for you. I'm also glad your other tinnitus has a clear cause and that it goes away. Thank you for the well-wishes.
 

Fraser

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Hello, I've had tinnitus in my left ear for years, nonstop. It gets worse or better, but it is always there. Feel free to ask me anything.

A couple things I'd point out:
1.) It is related to things like anxiety levels, tiredness, etc. If your tinnitus tracks normal, it will also be worse when you drink. It will be worse at night due to you being tired and in a silent environment. I'd suggest a white noise machine to help you sleep
2.) If you have had it for a week that doesn't mean you will have it for life.
3.) While I still have my tinnitus I have become acclimatized to it. This means I only notice it when I think about it. This transition occurred in my life when I "gave up" and accepted tinnitus. Only then did I stop listening for it all the time, only then did it stop driving me crazy, only then did it stop overwhelming me with anxiety.
 

TX85

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Hi @Fraser, thank you for your wisdom.. also, sorry you've had tinnitus for years. I have had it too, but it's been so minor that I've been able to habituate to it. What happened last week was new and horrible.

It started to subside after I began practicing the Valsalva Maneuver. I got so frustrated with the whole situation and feeling helpless that I decided to give something a try. It didn't fix it 100% but it did help me mostly get back down to my normal (which isn't a full normal silence).

I should also note, for anyone reading this for potential answers, that I went to my doctor and he found some horrible hardened wax in my left ear (which had tinnitus worse than the right). It was a wonder I could hear anything at all. We had to remove it manually and, um, well it hurt and there was blood. Eek. He also said my eustachian tubes were indeed completely full of fluid, so we need to try to get that handled. I'm going to be giving a couple of nasal sprays a shot to see if they get the job done. I'm just so acclimated to the way I hear now, so it's hard to imagine it could be different/better if I can get the fluid out. Finally, he also confirmed that the Valsalva Maneuver is great to help with this, but to be careful so you don't blow out your ear drums. :)

As for why it flared up for a week... anyone's guess, but it was probably the weather.
 
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Fraser

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Hi @Fraser, thank you for your wisdom.. also, sorry you've had tinnitus for years. I have had it too, but it's been so minor that I've been able to habituate to it. What happened last week was new and horrible.

It started to subside after I began practicing the Valsalva Maneuver. I got so frustrated with the whole situation and feeling helpless that I decided to give something a try. It didn't fix it 100% but it did help me mostly get back down to my normal (which isn't a full normal silence).

I should also note, for anyone reading this for potential answers, that I went to my doctor and he found some horrible hardened wax in my left ear (which had tinnitus worse than the right). It was a wonder I could hear anything at all. We had to remove it manually and, um, well it hurt and there was blood. Eek. He also said my eustachian tubes were indeed completely full of liquid, so we need to try to get that handled. I'm going to be giving a couple of nasal sprays a shot to see if they get the job done. I'm just so acclimated to the way I hear now, so it's hard to imagine it could be different/better if I can get the fluid out. Finally, he also confirmed that the Valsalva Maneuver is great to help with this, but to be careful so you don't blow out your ear drums. :)

As for why it flared up for a week... anyone's guess, but it was probably the weather.
Yeah, be careful with that. I got tinnitus from a combination of loud music and then I was using a neti pot to irrigate my nasal passages. I blew at one point and the resulting pressure really hurt for a moment in my ear and then it started ringing loudly. It subsided, but was still there a little and has been ever since. So please be very careful when doing anything that creates pressure in that area!
 

TX85

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Yeah, be careful with that. I got tinnitus from a combination of loud music and then I was using a neti pot to irrigate my nasal passages. I blew at one point and the resulting pressure really hurt for a moment in my ear and then it started ringing loudly. It subsided, but was still there a little and has been ever since. So please be very careful when doing anything that creates pressure in that area!
Eek! Yeah I am very careful - for exactly that reason, lots of horror stories about it going sideways. I also do a reverse version of it too where I suck instead of blow, so I think there's some balance. I haven't had that "ALL CLEAR!!" amazing moment yet, but I'm hoping some day I do.
 
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