A Bit Scared - Sudden Ear Pain, Loss of Hearing, Tinnitus Spike

Discussion in 'Support' started by mick, Jan 2, 2014.

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    1. mick

      mick Member Benefactor

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2012
      I've had a cold for the past 8 or 9 days and that had caused my tinnitus volume to go up several notches. I've been tolerating it well though. Today, out of the blue, and very suddenly, my ear began to hurt severely - like nothing I've ever felt before. My T changed, and my ear felt very plugged up. I can no longer hear any high frequencies in my right ear. In addition to my normal T, I now hear a very loud hiss - kind of like radio static. If I hiccup, as I have been doing every few minutes for some reason, the ear pain goes through the roof. I suspect my Eustachian tube is plugged. I've never had a significant ear ache before other than mild swimmer ear. This is off the charts worse. The pain being so bad is what is making me worried about my hearing being lost permanently. I can't imagine how pain can be so bad, and not be an indicator of something horrible.

      Has anyone had this happen before? I'm seriously worried I will not get my hearing back. I have a doctor appointment this afternoon.
       
      • Hug Hug x 3
    2. mick1987
      No Mood

      mick1987 Member

      Location:
      UK (England)
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Hi mick, I don't know exactly what is causing the ear pain, but suspect the blocked ear and hearing loss is due to the cold mucus blocking your eustachian tube, my sister had the same thing, couldn't hear out of the affected ear until the mucus cleared, go to the doctors just to be sure but I do think it is due to the cold, should be better in a few days.
       
    3. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      My guess is this won't be the case with you, Mick, given this all started with a cold. But ear pain actually can be caused by TMJ and have nothing to do with your ear. It happened to me. Worth asking your ENT about.

      Like Mick1987 said, you should start feeling and hearing better once the doctor clears out the mucus and checks your eu.tubes. So try not to worry. In the meantime, it goes without saying: do NOT get on an airplane. You can cause serious damage flying with a blocked eustachian tube.
       
    4. Hudson
      Cowboy

      Hudson Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2003
      Mick,

      With ear pain like that you could be looking at a blocked Eustachian tube, fluid build up in the middle ear... all kinds of stuff. I would definitely go to the ENT to get that checked out. The sooner the better. You don't want an ear infection going unchecked for a long time as that can be worse for your ears.
       
    5. mick

      mick Member Benefactor

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2012
      I went to an ENT practice today, but the only person I could see was the nurse practitioner. Diagnosis: middle ear infection. She said my ear drum was really bulging. Treatment: antibiotics for 10 days (125 mg Augmenten bid - these are some big honking horse pills). Prognosis: should not cause permanent hearing loss, and should not worsen my T long term (of course the operative word is "should"). They did do a hearing test at the EMTs office. It showed hearing loss at high frequencies, probably worse than my normal hearing since I had no loss at 8000 Hz and below before, but this is supposedly due to fluid behind my ear drum. The loss showed in bone conduction tests as well which supposedly supports the theory that I have fluid behind my ear drum. So supposedly the lost frequencies are supposed to return once the infection is gone. If things aren't better in 3-4 days I am supposed to go back to have my ear drained.

      Thanks for the help everyone. And thanks for the hugs @LadyDi.

      mick
       
    6. mick

      mick Member Benefactor

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2012
      The pain is much better today, but the ringing is worse than ever. My old T was nothing compared to this.
       
    7. yonkapin

      yonkapin Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Melbourne, Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      March 2012
      Maybe get on some prednisone just in case? Anyway, I hope it's just a temporary spike and things get better soon!
       
    8. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      Hang in there, things should get better. Augmentin can make you really queasy so eat something when you take it. Your loud T should subside when the infection goes and your ear heals. Important thing is you got on it right away. Like Yonkapin said, prednisone might not be a bad idea but don't know if you can take it at the same time as an antibiotic.
       
    9. mick

      mick Member Benefactor

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2012
      I like the prednisone idea @yonkapin, but I will sit on it until Monday (that's what I'm sure my regular doc will say).

      @LadyDi: I have been taking the Augmenten with food, and it has made me a bit queasy, but nothing too bad. It passes in about 30 minutes or so.
       
    10. Hudson
      Cowboy

      Hudson Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2003
      I would get in to see the ENT right away. Tell them about the loss of hearing and massive increase in tinnitus and that you need to see them immediately for some steroids. I wouldn't sit on it until Monday. You have nothing to gain by waiting (or going to see a regular doc for that matter, they'll just refer you to an ENT anyway).
       
    11. mick

      mick Member Benefactor

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2012
      Thanks for the push Hudson. I called the ENT nurse practitioner that I saw yesterday, and she seemed to think that prednisone was worth a try. I expected some resistance to the idea, but there was none.
       
    12. mick

      mick Member Benefactor

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2012
      Unfortunately, I just exchanged a e-mail with my primary care doctor, and he is against the idea of using steroids. Not sure what to do now. He said that they in fact my be dangerous for me at the moment because they suppress the immune system.
       
    13. Lynnette
      Blah

      Lynnette Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Aug 2013
      Mick how is the pain and T today? Any better?
       
    14. mick

      mick Member Benefactor

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2012
      The pain is significantly better than yesterday. The T is interesting. I've just been playing around trying to objectively measure it as best as I can with the AudioNotch Tuner. Interestingly, with my headphones on I measure my loudest T frequency at the same frequency and volume as before this incident, but when I take the headphones off, it seems like the T volume is increased. There are a couple of frequencies that I don't know if I ever had before, and while they are not as loud as my regular T frequency, I think they are in fact the ones that are bothering me the most. I'm having a tough time nailing down those frequencies.
       
    15. Lynnette
      Blah

      Lynnette Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Aug 2013
      Mick glad the pain is a little better than yesterday. So what is your T frequency before and after headphones? I'm dreading the yearly (or two) cold...I know there is no escaping it (especially with 3 kids running around the house!).
       
    16. mick

      mick Member Benefactor

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2012
      Alright, I managed to nail down one of the new frequencies. It is the frequency that is second loudest, and I can only hear it in my right ear, whereas I hear my regular T frequency in both ears. This new sound is considerably lower pitched - around 3200 Hz as opposed to 13400 for my regular T frequency.

      I can't measure the T without the headphones, so my sense that the volume increases with the headphones off is completely subjective.

      I'm really torn on what to do about the steroids. Take or not take.
       
    17. Hudson
      Cowboy

      Hudson Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2003
      Can you contact an ENT tomorrow? I would rely on his or her opinion over a physician... I mean, they specialize in this kind of stuff. Let that doc know what your family doctor had to say and then make a call based on their opinion. What causes the hearing loss associated with an infection is not an infection in and of itself, it's usually the inflammation of the tissues that causes it. Exactly why you want to suppress your immune system. In my opinion, what would you rather deal with, a nasty drawn out cold or a nasty increase in tinnitus?
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    18. Logan
      Stressed

      Logan Member

      Location:
      Missouri
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear infection
      I had a cold not to long ago and my tinnitis has increased a bit off and on, and I know what you mean about the hiccup thing that happens to me too. I think the ear pain is just because of the middle ear infection, same as the tinnitis increase. Also how is the hearing loss? Any better or any changes at all?
       
    19. mick

      mick Member Benefactor

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2012
      The hearing loss is better, but the T is awful. The lower frequency sound is now the dominant sound in my right ear and it has reached a maddening level. In fact right now I cannot even hear my regular T in my left ear. I talked to my primary care doc again and he agreed the prednisone would be low risk. I started it this morning. I hope it does the trick.

      It is so weird how this kind of thing sneaks up on you. I pretty much thought that of my medical problems T was behind me. I've been entirely focused on my other medical issues. I'm scheduled to go to the Mayo Clinic at the end of this month to hopefully get a bead on that stuff. I hope this isn't going mess up that trip.

      Man, how I miss my old life. I briefly tuned into a PBS program yesterday that dealt with the mystery of how even though we change immensely in life we still feel like the same person all our lives. Not so for me. I felt like the same contiguous person until 3 years ago when medical problems started. I told my wife then that this seemed like the start of something bad. I don't know where that feeling came from. Ever since then I have felt like I've been living in a different body. My old body was pretty dog gone reliable. This one ... scares me. I wish I knew how to get my old body back. If you'd have asked anyone who knew me then I think they would say I was least likely to end up where I am. I certainly felt that way then.
       
    20. mick

      mick Member Benefactor

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2012
      The new tinnitus is slightly better today. The low freq sound volume has backed off a little, but still dominates the high frequency old tinnitus. If I had to choose between the really high frequency T and the low freq T, I'd take the high freq stuff any day. The low frequency T is much more annoying. I still only hear the low freq T in my right ear. My original T started in my right ear and then "spread" to my left, then into my head so that I now seem to hear it in my head, not really in my ears. The new T definitely sounds like it is in my right ear only at the present. I guess I'm expecting it to progress to my left ear as time goes on.
       
    21. JTP
      No Mood

      JTP Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      5/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shit happens
      Hi Mick,

      I am sorry to hear about your recent problems. Remember, just because your earlier t did spread into other ear does not mean this time will be the same. Most probably it backs off as the infection resolves and fluid goes away. Meanwhile, isn't the 3kHz easier to mask than 13kHz at least?
       
    22. mick

      mick Member Benefactor

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2012
      Actually I find the lower frequency sound harder to mask, though I must admit that there is something about it that makes it so much more annoying so maybe masking just isn't sufficient. I really grates on me. I can't really put my finger on why it is so annoying. The sound became much more annoying without really changing in any way on Saturday. That was the second day of tapering off of the prednisone. I am hoping what I am experiencing is a side effect of my adrenalin glands adjusting to the reduced steroid. The last couple of days have been very unpleasant.

      Just to update people who might be interested, the prednisone appears to have not preserved my hearing, but the loss is small (at least on paper). Clearly it didn't do anything to reduce the T either. I guess I'm glad I tried it; I'm sure I would have regretted not trying if I ended up in the same place without trying it. At this moment though I'm wondering if I could have avoided my current extreme discomfort if I had skipped the drug (assuming that tapering the prednisone is the source of the current discomfort). This discomfort is quickly being multiplied by the anxiety it is provoking.

      My new ENT doctor, who I so far like, has recommended that I get an MRI of my ear and brain. I'll do that tomorrow. Odds are the MRI will reveal nothing helpful or harmful.

      Just praying for habituation to come quick.
       

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