A Newbie: Developed Tinnitus Following an Ear Infection and Stressful/Anxious Time at Work

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by CLB2020, Sep 5, 2020.

    1. CLB2020

      CLB2020 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Infection & Stress/ Anxiety
      Evening.

      I've been lurking here for a while but thought it best to sign up formally.

      I developed tinnitus in July following an ear infection and a particular stressful and anxious time at work. Everything seemed to conspire against my physical (and mental) health over an initial period of 4 days where the outcome was fairly catastrophic.

      To cut a long story short, I have subsequently been to see my GP, an ENT and an audiologist. I have also had an MRI. I've had a WNG fitted and am doing my best to get used to (ignore?) the noise.

      The T was really invasive to begin with (and sleeping was more of a hope than a guarantee). The noise has slowly faded over the 6 weeks from a high pitched siren to a chorus of crickets.

      I'm pretty certain that the tinnitus is being compounded by my mental health. My anxiety is sky high and it's almost as if this is feeding/sustaining the noise (does that make sense?). I've been prescribed antidepressants and sedatives to try and get control of things. My sleeping has improved thankfully.

      I'm hopeful that the tinnitus will eventually fade. Is that a realistic expectation?

      I'm scared that the noise will increase again to how it was in July. I don't think I could go through that again.

      I can't believe that the condition is suffered by so many, and that there is little that can be done. I truly miss silence - and I'm struggling to enjoy anything in life.

      Thanks for reading.

      PS.

      I forgot to add that the tinnitus is primarily on my right side (the side of the infection). The noise in my left ear has subsided a lot verr recently. However both ears are painful and feel heavy/full. Is this part of the healing process?

      The ENT was unable to explain the pain and just said that ears are complicated! I'm sure you can imagine that this really helped my mental health!!
       
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    2. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not sure
      Welcome to the forum. Even though no one has the crystal ball to say what will happen, generally tinnitus can fade in intensity over time. This may be due to people getting used to the stimulus of the ringing, or that the medical problem that has caused the tinnitus may heal over time. Habituation can also kick in for some people in 6 months to 2 years.

      When tinnitus is new, with our nerves in trauma over the ringing, the limbic nervous system tend to take over and the Amygdala causes us to function in fight or flight mode when all our senses zoom in on the 'threat', the ringing. This plus mounting anxiety and stress make the ringing sensation front and center in our life. But after a few months, people tend to settle in a bit and get back to normal living. As such slowly the normal parasympathetic nerve system will return to take control and the prefrontal cortex will then take over the role of the Amygdala in handling the reaction to the ringing. The cortex has the natural function to handle or extinguish fear reaction. So we will become a lot less stressful and fearful of the ringing, and so life can go back to more normal. Over time, with the repetition and us settling down with the new normal, our perception of tinnitus will change for the better. This is how people can habituate to tinnitus even if it doesn't go away.

      So be positive and calm down. Good life can be back. So be patient with your tinnitus which is still very new.

      Try to read up the success stories and be hopeful that you will be well again in due time. Good luck... God bless.
       
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    3. Peter61

      Peter61 Member

      Location:
      The Netherlands
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2012
      Just try to stay positive. If you start thinking negatively you can put yourself into a downward spiral. It has been proven scientifically that negative thinking can literally damage your health. Every negative thought can cause a disbalance in the chemistry of your brain. It has to do with the stress hormone cortisol, neuron activity, dopamine and dopamine receptors. It's a very delicate process and in the long term, all these ongoing negative thoughts and energy can be harmful. Again, stay positive. Accept your T as a new normal, try to be happy and grateful that you're alive and just make the best of it. Get rid of negativity. It won't help you a bit.
       
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    4. Kirstystired

      Kirstystired Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Agree with other posters! I'm very new to tinnitus, I developed it about 7 weeks ago, no one knows why!

      It's quietened down in that time and appears to now only be in my left ear. I try to keep busy and avoid quiet rooms.

      I think tinnitus is a slow healer and I've been told by my consultant to keep going on with life and my perception of the sound will reduce. I still find it bloody annoying but trying to make my peace with it.

      You will be fine, give it time xxx
       
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    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      CLB2020

      CLB2020 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Infection & Stress/ Anxiety
      Thanks for the replies.

      I'm trying to be positive and getting a hold of my anxiety.

      The T does seem to be fading so I remain hopeful of a positive outcome. I recognise now that ears are a sensitive organ and they take time to heal.

      One day at a time ....
       
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    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      CLB2020

      CLB2020 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Infection & Stress/ Anxiety
      I'm having a bit of a wobble this morning. The tinnitus sounds quieter, but I feel quite anxious about the situation. Is it usual for the ears to feel painful?

      I'm still hopeful that my situation will improve.
       
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    7. Michael01
      Frustrated

      Michael01 Member

      Location:
      Grafton,NSW,Australia.
      Tinnitus Since:
      2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      It's quite usual. I'd advise contacting the audiologist or ENT you feel comfortable with and getting some advice.
       
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    8. Kirstystired

      Kirstystired Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Not entirely sure but it's normal to feel anxious. I feel anxious a lot about my tinitus xxx
       
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    9. Michael01
      Frustrated

      Michael01 Member

      Location:
      Grafton,NSW,Australia.
      Tinnitus Since:
      2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      So do I, as the stupid thing can produce some very strange and annoying sounds when you least expect them.
       
    10. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      CLB2020

      CLB2020 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Infection & Stress/ Anxiety
      So this is almost turning into a diary ...

      An invasive noise developed last night which thankfully disappeared by this morning. My T seems a lot more settled (and manageable) in the morning, but gets louder as the day progresses. Is this usual?
       
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    11. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      CLB2020

      CLB2020 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Infection & Stress/ Anxiety
      So my tinnitus is really active in the afternoon (and gets progressively worse in the evening).

      I'm trying my hardest to mask/ignore the noise but it's just so difficult. How do you know when you habituate? Does the noise just stop bothering you?

      I'm finding it hard to control my anxiety with the constant buzzing in my head.

      I just miss silence. :unsure:
       
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    12. Gareth Davies
      Dreaming

      Gareth Davies Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/07/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Middle Ear Infection & ETD
      @CLB2020

      Hi CLB2020,

      My symptoms and overall progression match yours almost to a T (no pun intended)!

      Ear infection - check
      Noise primarily in the ear of the infection - check
      Buzzing or cicadas - check
      Pain or inflammation in the post-infection ear - check

      Ears take a while to heal, and you don’t appreciate how complex they are until something happens (I didn’t! :LOL:) but the fact that you have pain, means there is something still to heal from!

      However, it might take many more months, or even 2-3 years. Maybe not, but just so you are aware.

      Try to be “neutral” about the noise. I know this is extremely difficult and it’s fine to fail, but keep trying!
      The more you think about it, the more it will upset you - adopt a “It’s still there, meh, I wonder what’s on TV tonight” kind of mentality.
      Disengage from the persistent thoughts with the noise as much as possible.
      You can’t control it, so accept it as an annoying friend for now.
      Eventually you might even get bored of the noise - I kinda am!

      Distract yourself as much as possible and always have ambient background noise on.
      Don’t mask it completely (if you can) as you want to get used to the sound.
      If there was ever a TV series you’ve been meaning to binge, now is the time. Video games (very good at distraction if it’s your thing), podcasts, books, hobbies, etc.
      Maybe take an educational course or two, so that you have a project to focus on.
      Low impact exercise is what I sometimes do as well.

      There are not many ear infection tinnitus patients on Tinnitus Talk, but see the below profile (and success story) of Unlucky_Eli - you might find it interesting:-

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/members/unlucky_eli.38858/

      If you need a break from the noise in evenings, perhaps get into the habit of a second shower - just so you have a break from the noise for a bit :D - it’s what I do.

      The noise can be volatile, but you want to look at the “monthly” trends, not day by day.
      If the overall monthly result is a bit better (even a little) than last month, then that’s good!

      Practice self-kindness, and don’t beat yourself up! :cool:

      All The Best,

      Gaz

      Another good article: https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/new-to-tinnitus-what-to-do.12558/
       
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    13. Kirstystired

      Kirstystired Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      My tinnitus does the same!

      @Gareth Davies is so right ! Xx
       
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    14. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      CLB2020

      CLB2020 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Infection & Stress/ Anxiety
      Thanks @Gareth Davies.

      That's a really useful reply. I'm trying to get used to the sound (as difficult as it is).

      The pain in my ears is a worry as nobody can explain it! I'm taking it as a sign that my ears are healing. It feels like my head is being gently squeezed/ squashed in a vice. The insides also feel itchy.

      I've been off work since the T started as I have been so agitated. I'm thinking of going back next week so at least I'll have a distraction from the constant noise. I'm hopeful that this will help settle my mental health and bring me a bit of normality.

      The T has definetly decreased over the last couple of weeks (in terms of pitch, volume and invasiveness). I remain hopeful that it will keep doing this. I'm convinced that stress has also played a part. I tend to hold my jaw stiff when I'm stressed and my face has been painful at times.

      It's a complex and uncertain time but I just want to make sure that I'm nott making the situation worse.
       
    15. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      CLB2020

      CLB2020 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Infection & Stress/ Anxiety
      Evening @Kirstystired

      Thanks for your supportive replies.

      I hope all is well with the baby?

      T is horrible isnt it? I'm sure your situation will improve with time.
       
    16. Kirstystired

      Kirstystired Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Yes baby is great! She's lovely. Oh it's awful, I've never had it in my life until now.
      Wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. This forum has helped me so much, knowing you're not alone really helps me.

      The consultant I saw gave me the same advice as @Gareth Davies. Keep living your life, going back to work will be a good distraction. It's about 'telling' the brain that it doesn't need to worry about the noise to help zone it out. It's a battle of wills with the tinnitus, when you find yourself thinking about it try and think about something else. It's so hard I know! I struggle with it. It will bother you less with time, mine bothers me less than it used to. I googled 4 stages of habituation and found it quite useful. X
       
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    17. Gareth Davies
      Dreaming

      Gareth Davies Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/07/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Middle Ear Infection & ETD
      @CLB2020

      I have asked my ENT regarding the pain, along with a bit of investigation via the web, and ultimately can’t narrow it any further down than inflammation / damage caused by the virus / bacteria. Just got to wait for the body to heal - if only we were all Wolverine!

      Hmm, regarding the head pressure, try tapping 1-2 cm in front of your recovering earlobe. Then do the same for the normal ear.

      If the sound is the same, then the fullness is likely just inflammation. It’ll go with time.

      If the sound is different (almost hollow?), it might be your eustachian tube is blocked. Look into ETD in that case.

      I’ve always been told that itchiness == healing.

      Work can be an excellent focus and overall can be good for your mental health; an office will generally have a fair bit of background noise as well.
      Be prepared to have some quiet spots though - unless you have your own office (lucky you!)

      Yep, got to hold onto hope :D .
      I’ve been told it goes “ringing” > “buzzing” > “hissing” > “silence”. Gotta cross your fingers and wait.

      Stress activates fight or flight mode, which then agitates your body. Do what you can to chill as much as possible.

      Other people have mentioned it in greater detail on forum but you’ll want to:-
      Stay away from earphones and headphones completely. Possibly forever.
      Stay away from loud noises.
      Keep hydrated.
      Don’t take ototoxic medicine (drugs which are bad for your ears).
      Ask for manual tools if you go the dentist (I.e. no ultrasonic drills / scrappers).
      Don’t isolate your hearing for more than 30 minutes using ear defenders (if you ever plan on using them). Otherwise you might become more sensitive to noise - the jury is out on this one though.

      Gaz :D
       
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    18. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      CLB2020

      CLB2020 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Infection & Stress/ Anxiety
      @Gareth Davies

      I see from your other posts that you can squeeze your ear drum so it makes a noise. That's the same for me. Again my ENT couldnt explain this.

      I suppose we just need to take things slowly and it will get better with time.

      I also think I needs to learn to relax as the T seems quite for me then. This is all part of the vicious anxiety cycle. Meds help, but I'm tying to get my emotions under control.

      Take care.
       
    19. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      CLB2020

      CLB2020 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Infection & Stress/ Anxiety
      Morning.

      So I've developed a high pitched whine in my left ear (my good one!). What's that all about then?!?
       
    20. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      CLB2020

      CLB2020 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Infection & Stress/ Anxiety
      Evening.

      Should I be concerned that I can change the pitch of the tinnitus when I clench my jaw? Could this be an indication of something else going on?
       
    21. Gareth Davies
      Dreaming

      Gareth Davies Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/07/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Middle Ear Infection & ETD
      When I clench or more often, jut my lower jaw forward, the tone does change or otherwise get a bit louder.

      I can only assume this is due to the fact that the musculature of the face is massively interconnected.
      (Google “face muscles” and check out a few images.)

      And since our middle or inner ears are damaged, it exerts extra pressure or pull in those areas - irritating the ear more.

      I’m no medical professional, but that’s my belief anyway, based on my experience so far.
       
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    22. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      CLB2020

      CLB2020 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Infection & Stress/ Anxiety
      Should I just ignore sudden changes in pitch? Is this the ears trying to rebalance themselves?
       
    23. Michael01
      Frustrated

      Michael01 Member

      Location:
      Grafton,NSW,Australia.
      Tinnitus Since:
      2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      The fact that you can change the sound by clenching your jaw sounds worrying to me. Next time you visit your dentist you might want to mention this to him and ask if you may have a TMJ disorder, as that can contribute to tinnitus I've heard.
       
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    24. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      CLB2020

      CLB2020 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Infection & Stress/ Anxiety
      Anybody got any insight into this?
      Thanks.
       
    25. Gareth Davies
      Dreaming

      Gareth Davies Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/07/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Middle Ear Infection & ETD
      The pitch in my ear(s) did and does change.

      During the first 5 weeks the tones in my head semi-constantly changed.

      As to why it does, I’m not sure. Air pressure, changing inflammation levels / healing, neural activity in the brain, muscle spasms, a pinched nerve, blood pressure, adrenaline levels...?

      Mention it to your ENT? I’d be interested to know as well.
       
    26. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      CLB2020

      CLB2020 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Infection & Stress/ Anxiety
      Thanks Gaz. I'm so new to this that I'm trying to learn as much as possible about the condition.

      My ENT was useless (see my earlier posts). I'm due to speak to my audiologist is a couple of weeks. She's been really reassuring, so I'll raise it with her and let you know.
       
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    27. DebInAustralia
      No Mood

      DebInAustralia Member Benefactor Advocate

      Location:
      Geelong, Victoria
      Tinnitus Since:
      30/12/13
      What you describe is common.

      It means your somatosensory nervous system is engaged in trying to compensate for the loss of auditory input to the brain, as per Dr. Susan Shore.
       
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    28. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      CLB2020

      CLB2020 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Infection & Stress/ Anxiety
      Afternoon.

      A couple of things today ...

      My ears are really painful today. It feels like my head is being squashed and my ears are being bent flat. Is this normal?

      Also, I'm wearing a WNG for hours on end. What is the recommended way forward with masking? Should I continue with playing nosie when I (try) to sleep?

      Thanks.
       
    29. ginger_cat

      ginger_cat Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear infection
      My tinnitus was a whistle sound, then crickets and it’s still fading, so maybe yours will fade too.
       
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    30. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      CLB2020

      CLB2020 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Infection & Stress/ Anxiety
      I've been suffering for nearly 8 weeks now.

      My head feels like it's being squashed in a vice, whilst my ears feel full, heavy and sore.

      My jaw and face have also started to feel sore/ numb.

      Any thoughts about what this might mean?
       

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