Blocked eustachian tubes... ever hopeful to have found a cause

Discussion in 'Support' started by click, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. click
    Cloud9

    click Member Benefactor

    Location:
    West Cornwall, England, UK
    Tinnitus Since:
    06/04/2012
    For all of you out there who have T that varies or goes away and comes back...

    I've now had 2 weeks with pretty mild T or non-existent T. There was a short lived spike when I ate sodium nitrate and there have been days when the hissing is slightly louder than others but overall something has really changed and I'm hoping that I've now discovered what has been causing it for the last 7 and a half months.

    I've wondered in the past why things like stress etc. don't affect my T. Why not 'being bothered by it' doesn't make it quieter etc. Why it goes away completely and comes back. Why it's worse first thing in the morning. It's got to be something physical causing it and it's got to be something that changes.

    I've thought about the fluid in the eustachian tubes moving around whilst asleep etc. but now I am absolutely convinced that my eustachian tubes are blocking and unblocking and that I have eustachian tube dysfunction and that this fluid/mucous blockage has caused my T.

    After reading everything I can find on it... it fits perfectly with my T.

    Years ago I had mild TMJ and since then I have been reluctant to open my mouth at 'full stretch' - every yawn has been suppressed to an extent - I've stopped a full yawn because I've been scared that my jaw would lock open. That's because it felt as though it would.

    Apparently, to keep the eustachian tubes opening & closing correctly to release fluid/mucous and keep balanced pressure you need to yawn, swallow etc. When suppressing these natural actions you are not fully opening your eustachian tubes which can cause a build up of fluid & pressure inside them. This can cause tinnitus.

    I can't feel the fluid - although sometimes I've had all the strange feelings in my ears that we all seem to get with T.

    For weeks I have been sucking extra strong halls menthyl and it actually does make my T go away... yesterday was absolutely amazing. It went away and I felt back to normal... it's been a long time since I felt like that (didn't feel like that even when it used to go away) and I think it's because I believe I know what's caused it all. Of course I may be wrong but it feels good to have a reason for the T!

    They gave me a nasal spray at the start of this which I really didn't take more than a puff of. I've never liked nasal sprays because they seem to go straight to the back of my eyes. Did you know that you should really lean over at right angles and then spray - so that it hits the eustachian tubes? I didn't and if my previous GP suspected blocked eustachian tubes then she should have advised me to spray at that angle - thus missing the back of my eyes and hitting the right spot.

    I'm now going to give it a few more weeks, try some benylin (which breaks down mucous) to see if it goes completely. Sudafed and some other meds that people take when they have T apparently 'dry up' the mucous which can make the whole thing worse if you have blocked eustachian tubes. Many nasal spray etc. also do this.

    If mine doesn't go away I'm going to register with a new GP and take information from the net to show him. I'll tell him the reason for the T and ask for new medication to get rid of the fluid.. medication that breaks down mucious rather than providing relief by 'drying it up' - hopefully it will work. :)

    If it doesn't then I'll begin again, try to find another cause & another remedy. It's not freaking me out anymore... I don't hate it... I'm pretty used to it... but I want it gone - horrid horrid T :p


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  2. Youllbefine

    Youllbefine Member

    Tinnitus Since:
    03/2010
    In a book titled "Evidence Based Otitis Media" (By Richard M. Rosenfeld, Charles D. Bluestone, M.D)

    I found a relationship between what you wrote above and the connection i feel is responsible for my own tinnitus, which is low hydrochloric acid in the stomach. It reads as follows

    " ...This indicated to the investigator that gastric reflux may be a pathogenic mechanism in OM. They postulated that the gastric juice "refluxes" in to the middle ear. IF this finding is confirmed from other studies, the acid could also cause mechanical obstruction within the Eustachian tube and /or be aspirated in the middle ear during periods of highe middle ear negative pressure..." Rosenfeld, Bluestone p. 170

    I know this is rough but I jumped on your post when i read it. The other things that are interrelated are that most of the people, according to what ive read, that have Tinnitus are either going through depression and anxiety or have had depression and anxiety. There's much evidence to indicate that both depression and anxiety contribute to changes in the stomach acidity.

    Furthermore is the morning tinnitus, which many of us have experienced, acid reflux is tied to that as well as the eustachian tube blockage you are proposing.

    I think there's definitely something here ...i really do !
  3. click
    Cloud9

    click Member Benefactor

    Location:
    West Cornwall, England, UK
    Tinnitus Since:
    06/04/2012
    hiya youllbefine

    It's interesting isn't it. I knew about the acid reflux and the fact that it can actually 'spread into the eustachian tubes'.

    For mine I don't think this has happened. Mainly because I don't really have acid reflux and also I think that with mine it's the eustachian tubes NOT opening that has caused my tinnitus - surely they have to open quite a bit for the acid to seep in? Not sure about that though...

    I've also never suffered from depression, or anything even approaching depression in my life. Even when T was at its worst I wasn't depressed. It caused massive anxiety obviously and I knew that I didn't want to live life with it - that if it was to continue at the same intensity as at the start then ending my life was the only option. But even with those thoughts there was no depression. It was an objective decision. And it's the same decision that I would make again if circumstances repeated themselves with no hope of the T level diminishing or disappearing. It's pretty much along the same lines as someone telling me that I had six months to live and that death would be incredibly painful - I'd probably want to end it early! (altough maybe I'd get depressed if that happened - you never know).

    Fortunately mine didn't continue with the same intensity as at the beginning and I did have days with no T at all - this gave me hope that eventually it would go away altogether and I still believe that it will - but I think it may need my help :)

    I was living in a much higher altitude for 3 weeks before mine started and also in a higher humidity/damp area. I think that these factors, along with me for years suppressing opening my jaw wide, caused my T - although my eustachian tubes probably had something wrong with them for these environmental issues to be able to cause it.

    I do believe I've hit on the right solution for mine - really hope you can sort out the stomach acid and solve yours too youllbefine.

    Click
  4. Fish
    Balanced

    Fish Member Benefactor

    Location:
    Poland
    Tinnitus Since:
    July 2012
    Wow Click this really makes me wonder...

    We had a family meeting yesterday and there was a lot of late evening food and small amounts of alcohol involved. I woke up with a massive tinnitus spike (biggest since my AM101 treatment) and very sour taste in my mouth (I usually wake up with sour taste in my mouth but this morning it was definitely intensified). Thus my problem might be related to reflux interfering with eustachian tubes (?). Sounds pretty scary if you think about it, acid getting in your ears... I do not experience heartburn though, I don't know.

    This is a major discovery to me because it's first time I ever noticed something undoubtedly having a direct effect on my T.

    Now, how to treat this thing though? PPI drugs have tinnitus listed as a side effect and diet is not enough. Also, let's say it is reflux causing my T. Do you think the T is likely to go away if I get reflux under control?

    This condition is really so complex...
  5. erik
    Surfing

    erik Manager Staff Benefactor

    Location:
    Washington State
    Tinnitus Since:
    04/15/2012
    This is my own opinion but Fish, it is possible your T will go away if you get your reflux under control but not likely. If I remember this correctly, Dr. Stephen Nagler who ran his own Tinnitus clinic for around 5 years in Atlanta (some time ago) said that of all the scores of people he helped with T, only 1 person got rid of it when addressing the potential underlying problem. Which makes me believe that no matter what it is that triggers the T in the first place, once it is triggered something changes in the brain and fixing the underlying problem (assuming you can find what that is) does not seem to make T go away. It's like once T has been triggered, changes occur which need a different solution.

    Personally, I've addressed everything I know that potentially could have caused my T (high BP, anxiety, stress, acid reflux, high cholesterol) and I still have it. That doesn't mean you should stop trying to find your solution. I'll probably always be searching, I am too OCD not too! We are all different and hopeful that we can find answers to why we have T and how we can get rid of it.
  6. click
    Cloud9

    click Member Benefactor

    Location:
    West Cornwall, England, UK
    Tinnitus Since:
    06/04/2012

    I think it's possible that removing the cause will get rid of the T Fish.

    My reason for thinking this is that my T goes away - completely. If my theory is correct then it's going away when my eustachian tubes clear and it's coming back when they block up.

    It may be difficult to stop it permanently - blocked eustachian tubes or acid seeping into eustachian tubes - but I hope that it's possible.

    If I remember correctly your T has disappeared before too?

    If my T was there 24/7 then I'd have trouble believing it but the theory that something physical is causing it to go away and something physical is causing it to come back is the one I'm going with...

    Even when my T first began I had 2 hours with no T - on day 2! Since sucking menthyl it's disappeared into the distance even when it's there.

    Something has changed and it's also completely changed my perspective. I feel a thousand times better because I have so much more hope that it will go. I know that to habituate you need to accept your T and I know that it's supposed to be easier to live with once you don't fight it, once you relax, stop searching for causes and cures - but it already is easier for me to live with and I still want a cure. I don't think I could habitaute because of it constantly changing. And I listen for it all the time.

    Perhaps my hopes will be dashed and this is all a load of nonsense - but you never know! Erik could be right and perhaps something else changes once you have T, regardless of the initial cause. But thousands of people have tinnitus long term which goes away eventually. I feel as though I may be one of those people and I'm just giving my T a push in the right direction - away from me.

    Maybe you could ask your doctor if there is something they can give you for acid reflux that definitely won't make the T worse?
  7. Fish
    Balanced

    Fish Member Benefactor

    Location:
    Poland
    Tinnitus Since:
    July 2012
    To be honest Click, I am no longer sure if my T ever went away completely. I had some really great days when I felt like my T is not there but I am not 100% certain if it went completely silent. I never had a moment I would measure my T and say "it really is gone".

    I really think you might be on to something, those clogged eustachian tubes could be a cause of tinnitus and treating them might help some people fight off their T.

    Do you have any idea why would your eustachian tubes get blocked? Do you have any other ENT symptoms?

    I am not 100% sure if I even have reflux but a lot of my symptoms match LPR, a less common form of reflux that is difficult to diagnose with certainity.

    It is not acidic so I do not have heartburn, but I would always have sore throat, coughing for no apparent reason, constant post-nasal drip, loud clicking in my ears while swallowing. I have had those symptoms since 2007 and I have gotten used to them, kinda. I tried to treat this for years. I had endoscopy in my lungs because one doctor actually suspected a lung cancer... That was a very turbulent time of my life.

    There is also this rare symptom that happens only once-twice a month but always gives me the creeps when it comes. My ear would get completely blocked within few seconds and T goes way, way up. It remains for few seconds and comes back to normal. This again makes me think something is wrong with eustachian tubes.

    I felt much better after this AM-101 treatment but did it really help me? Or was it just a coincidence? Somehow my tolerance towards T went down a lot in the last days. I know it's as loud as usual, yet it bothers me much more.

    Click are you perhaps allergic to something? Also let me know what nasal spray are you using.
  8. click
    Cloud9

    click Member Benefactor

    Location:
    West Cornwall, England, UK
    Tinnitus Since:
    06/04/2012
    Yes - I think I am allergic to something. Years ago I remember that I lived in a flat with storage heaters - the type that kick out hot air after warming up all night long. I couldn't live with them - they stopped me being able to breathe properly. So I turned them off.

    For the three weeks before my T began I was using electric heaters that kick out hot air because I'd moved from a centrally heated home to a Cornish cottage.I didn't have breathing problems but maybe that was because I had the doors open all day long and the windows open at night.

    Whether it's dust or something else - I don't know. But I think a combination of factors caused the eustachian tubes to block. I don't feel congested but maybe you don't when it's just the tubes...

    I'm not using a nasal spray Fish. All I'm doing is sucking menthyl sweets. They're very strong and I'm holding each one in my mouth and inhaling the menthyl deeply. I can feel it going right up into my head. I'm doing it a lot.

    In the first few weeks of T I was using a steam inhaler and also had a hot steam generator in the room - on the advice of my GP after going to her with tinnitus. If she felt that this treatment could cure the tinnitus then she must have known that my tubes could be blocked and that the blockage could have caused the T.

    All over the internet there are stories of blocked eustachian tubes taking a long, long time to clear - sometimes a couple of years. Apparently this is one of the hardest conditions to get rid of in some people - and some live with it permanently.

    So if blocked eustachian tubes can cause T and if sometimes it can take a long time for eustachian tubes to unblock - perhaps that's what some people have when they have T that eventually goes away.

    Sorry about you not knowing if you were imaging the T going away Fish - I absolutely know that mine does. I go to a really quiet place and listen intently for ages to check if it's there. And then I write it down - how long it's gone for... so that I'm sure to know that I wasn't imagining it when it comes back.
  9. Fish
    Balanced

    Fish Member Benefactor

    Location:
    Poland
    Tinnitus Since:
    July 2012
    You indeed could be allergic then. A warm, moist room with carpets, courtains etc. is a perfect environment for dust mites. Everyone is allegric to something nowadays, you can test yourself to see if/what are you alergic to.

    I don't know if my tinnitus ever went completely silent, but I am sure it does fluctuate. I won't ever forget a second injection in the middle ear. Few hours afterwards my T became a shrilling noise that was impossible to mask with the usual sounds I use. This morning it was also pretty bad, for the first time since that injection. Usually I feel OK and not thinking about tinnitus. A white noise mp3 I have on my phone is enough to mask T during sleep. That is my reference point - maskers.

    It is very nice to hear that you are absolutely certain you experience total silence from time to time. It means there must be something that triggers your T and something that makes it go away. Perhaps soon you will join this exclusive club of people who have gotten rid of their tinnitus completely? This is what I wish for you.

    Keep us posted, I really want to know how it goes... :)
  10. erik
    Surfing

    erik Manager Staff Benefactor

    Location:
    Washington State
    Tinnitus Since:
    04/15/2012
    Click, nice to know your T will does go away and you are not freaking out anymore. I hope it stays gone for good! You might indeed be one of the few lucky ones. I would like to add to what I said above. I would think that T could go away if you do find and resolve an underlying problem. However, as with majority of people with T, the underlying problem is hearing loss and that is the real problem, since for now, hearing cannot be repaired. Despite this many people try to search for other answers only to end up disappointed when hearing loss is the real culprit. However, if you don't have hearing loss as is the case with some people, then it very well could be another issue.
  11. click
    Cloud9

    click Member Benefactor

    Location:
    West Cornwall, England, UK
    Tinnitus Since:
    06/04/2012
    Thanks Erik, your posts on here have always meant a lot to me.

    I know it could be false hope but it is based on fact.. the fact that mine is changing so much more and getting so 'distant'. I also know that constant searching for a cause or a remedy can drive people crazy - especially in those first few months when anxiety is at its peak and you feel so desperate for a quick fix solution. Those days are long behind me. I get the odd moments of fear but they are tiny & fleeting now. I know that I can live with T if it stays as it is. I still want it to go away though :)

    So many people with different types of tinnitus come to this forum & for those who have T that comes and goes.. this may be helpful. I hope so anyway.
  12. Job
    Worried

    Job Member

    Location:
    U.S.
    Tinnitus Since:
    7/2009
    Hi click and others,

    I had tubes put in my ears when I was little. I have since been injured by sounds. I have noticed that in the morning my tinnitus is worse in my right ear, but can instantly be made better (not eliminated) by doing the valsalva maneuver. When I do this, it is like a crunchy paper bag is being opened up and the T goes down. Not sure what to make of this. Any thoughts, anyone?
  13. Lord of the Ring
    Cheeky

    Lord of the Ring Member

    Location:
    Belgium
    Tinnitus Since:
    03/2013
    What is the valsalva maneuver? (Sorry, too lazy to Google)
    click: so, how are your tubes nowadays?
  14. Markku
    Inspired

    Markku Director Staff Benefactor

    Location:
    Finland
    Tinnitus Since:
    04/2010
  15. carlover
    English

    carlover Member Benefactor

    Location:
    London
    Tinnitus Since:
    1986
    This has been on my computer for a long time just found it.


    Eustachian Tube / Palatal Muscle Exercises

    . Do not use the Valsalva maneuver which is pinching your nostrils and blowing through your nose. This is the most commonly used technique, but might not be the best one for you. One problem with the Valsalva maneuver is that it doesn't activate muscles that open the eustachian tubes, so it may not work if the tubes are already locked by a pressure differential. It's also easy to blow hard enough to damage something. Instead of using the Valsalva, try one of these:

    * The Toynbee Maneuver. With your nostrils pinched, swallow. Swallowing pulls open your eustachian tubes while the movement of your tongue, with your nose closed, compresses air against them.

    * The Lowry Technique. A combination of Valsalva and Toynbee: While closing your nostrils, blow and swallow at the same time.

    * The Edmonds Technique. While tensing the soft palate (the soft tissue at the back of the roof of your mouth) and throat muscles and pushing the jaw forward and down, do a Valsalva maneuver.

    * The Frenzel Maneuver. Close your nostrils, and close the back of your throat as if straining to lift a weight. Then make the sound of the letter "K." This forces the back of your tongue upward, compressing air against the openings of your eustachian tubes.

    * Voluntary Tubal Opening. Tense the muscles of the soft palate and the throat while pushing your jaw forward and down as if starting to yawn. These muscles pull the eustachian tubes open. This requires a lot of practice, but some people can learn to control those muscles and hold their tubes open for continuous equalization.

    Be Well,
    Joseph Schames DMD
  16. click
    Cloud9

    click Member Benefactor

    Location:
    West Cornwall, England, UK
    Tinnitus Since:
    06/04/2012
    Over the last year I've suspected so very many things LOTR & eustachian tube blockage was just one of them. I have no idea whether they were blocked or whether I had an allergy to something.

    How did your week of eating healthily go?

    click
    Lord of the Ring
  17. Sybs
    Inspired

    Sybs Member

    Tinnitus Since:
    03/2013
    This is so interesting because literally a week before my tinnitus started, I had the most chronic, debilitating indigestion I've ever had. It woke me in the night and I must have eaten about 5 Rennies with absolutely no affect on the acid (it would normally only take 1 or 2 at most). After not much sleep I went into work but felt really dreadful with it, to the point where colleagues were concerned I may have had something far worse than indigestion (i.e. a heart attack), however, I knew it was indigestion but just really bad, so I went home for the afternoon and went to bed, then I went to the GP who gave me some capsules for the acid reflux. This went away after about a day or so, but then my eustachean tube in my left ear has been blocked ever since - the GP says she can see bubbles behind my eardrum, which suggests fluid. If I hold my nose and blow, I am only able to pop my right eardrum but my left one will not budge. This is the one with the tinnitus. 2 weeks ago I was told I would be referred to an Audiologist - I am still waiting for the appointment, but anyway, it does sound as if it could be linked, doesn't it.
  18. Lord of the Ring
    Cheeky

    Lord of the Ring Member

    Location:
    Belgium
    Tinnitus Since:
    03/2013
    It went great and it did absolutely nuts for my tinnitus.
    I must say that since I gave up on the healthy week, my tinnitus is spiking most of the time without any clear cause. It's not that I pay more attention to it, I absolutely don't give a damn about it, it just spikes. It's such a wonderful condition, I can advise it to everyone…:)
  19. Lord of the Ring
    Cheeky

    Lord of the Ring Member

    Location:
    Belgium
    Tinnitus Since:
    03/2013
    Yeah, my mam had ringing in the ears all of a sudden like 2 weeks ago. (At first, I thought, she just want to sympathize…). So, she went to the ENT and he saw a blockage. Blew it out. Ringing done. Great for my mam. Why not me? :p
  20. click
    Cloud9

    click Member Benefactor

    Location:
    West Cornwall, England, UK
    Tinnitus Since:
    06/04/2012
    I still give a damn about it... when it's loud I hate it & when it's hardly there at all it's incredibly good.

    Diet really does affect mine. I've now had 7 full days of no spiking and no hissing etc. Really low and mostly hardly there (I have to listen hard to hear it). It's only gone away completely a few times and only for a few hours at a time but overall this is amazing. I still get the 'morning buzz' but it's so low and distant that I don't mind.

    I know that I'm sticking to 'safe' foods but my diet is healthy and I'd rather not have spices etc. if my T is loud afterwards for the next couple of days. I hate T more than anything and changing my diet is a small price to pay for peace :)

    Pretty sure this is now under the wrong thread - ahh well....
  21. Tamalak
    Volatile

    Tamalak Member

    Tinnitus Since:
    3/2011
    I am reading this thread with great interest.

    click could you describe what your T sounds like, as detailed as you can? And what other symptoms besides noise has accompanied the T?
  22. click
    Cloud9

    click Member Benefactor

    Location:
    West Cornwall, England, UK
    Tinnitus Since:
    06/04/2012
    I'm adding this post to this thread to bring the record up to date.

    I started this thread over 6 months ago &, as many of us with T are aware, we go through stages of trying to figure out what caused our T, trying to find cures, trying to find things that help etc. etc. Back in November last year I went through a period when I was convinced that blocked eustachian tubes caused my T because sucking menthyl really did clear the T away temporarily. But I couldn't go on sucking menthyl forever - they made me feel sick! And eventually I moved on from trying to figure out what was the initial cause (there have been many, many possibilities & the most likely was total silence at night for 3 weeks before T onset) to finding things that helped alleviate the symptoms. Changing my diet has made a huge difference for me.

    I no longer worry too much about what caused my T. I've had it for well over a year and I've managed to bring it down for the majority of the time to 'not there' or 'almost not there' & I'm happy.... for now. I noticed that I said 'I don't hate my T' in my November post. Well it is true that it doesn't freak me out as it did at the start but I do hate it - perhaps I had a few moments back then when I tried to befriend it.... I'm not sure as I can't remember.

    Tamalak, my T is not in my ears and never has been. I hear it with my ears obviously but the sound comes from either inside the top of my head or the sides etc. It moves. It darts from side to side and moves down below my ears, almost into the back of my neck. At times it is very close to an ear and can sound much louder on one side than the other. It often sounds like an electrical hissing or electrical crickets. But the sound varies, as does the volume. And it goes away - completely. Sometimes it sounds like the steam from a kettle but louder. It can get VERY loud. The fact that it varies so much means that I can almost forget about it and then WHAM it's back like a bolt out of hell and extremely annoying.

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