Advice for Severe Hyperacusis Caused by Microsuction / Medication?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Annika, May 25, 2021.

    1. Annika

      Annika Member

      Location:
      London
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Microsuction Earwax Removal & Medication
      I have acquired a severe form of hyperacusis which started gradually in January 2021. Unfortunately my hearing sensitivity has gone a lot worse since March.

      It seems to have been brought microsuction earwax removal and medication. Unfortunately travelling on the London Underground and the noise of heavy traffic made my hearing sensitivity a lot worse even though I was wearing hearing protectors. Since then I can hear almost normally when wearing my hearing protectors (rated at 75 decibels). I have also become extremely sensitive to almost all indoor and outdoor noises. It affects me all day long from morning to evenings - 7 days a week. When I did shopping at M&S recently the refrigerators sounding as loud as factory machinery to me. My hearing sensitivity has become a nightmare and find it difficult to cope. I have difficulties going out because I can’t tolerate the noise of traffic or travelling on the London Underground anymore. So far I have not been seen by an ENT doctor. I was referred back and forth from Community ENT to Royal National ENT. I have now ended up on a 6-9 waiting list at the Royal National ENT hospital which considering my condition is far too long!

      My questions:
      1. Has anybody had such a severe form of hyperacusis and how did they cope?

      2. Does anybody know, if the condition is likely to improve by itself over time?

      3. Can anybody recommend a London ENT hospital which offer treatment for hyperacusis?

      4. I can hear almost normally through noise reducing hearing protectors (rated at 75 decibels). Has anybody else experienced anything similar to this?

      5. There seems to be vey few options for persons suffering from hyperacusis. I have just began CBT therapy. This seems to be the only option available to me. Does anybody have experience of CBT and did it improve the condition?
      I really would appreciate you advice.

      Thanks a lot,
      Annika
       
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    2. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Hi Annika.

      Did you have tinnitus prior to having the microsuction? Before having the microsuction were you advised to apply eardrops 3x a day to each ear for 10 days before the procedure? The eardrops/olive oil helps to thoroughly loosen the wax making its removal easier. Otherwise, there is a risk of making pre-existing tinnitus worse, or causing the condition to develop in someone that doesn't have tinnitus. It can also make hyperacusis worse or cause it to develop.

      Please click on the links below and read my posts: Hyperacusis, As I See It, New to Tinnitus, What to Do. Please go to my started threads and read my posts: Tinnitus, A Personal View, Microsuction and Ear Irrigation.

      Michael.

      PS: If you are new to tinnitus, then I advise you to wait for your ENT appointment at the hospital you have been referred to by your GP. My advice is not to go private. You will get the best help and long term aftercare for tinnitus under the NHS, that no private treatment can match in the UK.

      Hyperacusis, As I See It | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
      New to Tinnitus, What to Do? | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
       
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    3. Christine2222

      Christine2222 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      forever
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      There's no hearing protector in the world rated at 75 dB. I think the maximum you can achieve is around 40 dB. Hearing protection isn't additive, so if you wear earmuffs with 30 dB NRR and earplugs with 30 dB NRR, you don't get 60 dB NRR, you're still close to around 30 dB NRR.
       
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    4. Marin
      Depressed

      Marin Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      6/18/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      SSNHL... probably previous noise exposure, too
      I believe inflammation plays a huge role in hyperacusis. Best I can suggest is to go on an anti-inflammatory diet (no sugar, gluten, etc) and take as many anti-inflammatory supplements as you can (Boswellia, Curcumin, Fish oil, etc).

      While your hearing is so sensitive, try to avoid sounds that make it worse.
       
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    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Annika

      Annika Member

      Location:
      London
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Microsuction Earwax Removal & Medication
      Hi Michael,

      Thanks so much for your advice. I find your articles very helpful indeed and also very informative.

      Could you please tell me if I should wait at least 6-12 month before starting any long-term treatment with ‘white noise generators’? Should I already use ‘sound machines’ at night? Hyperacusis is my main problem but I also have some tinnitus.

      With regards to your question. You wanted to know if I had tinnitus prior to having the microsuction? Only occasionally, mainly due to excess earwax in my ears. However I was on Amitriptyline medication for 3 months and the hyperacusis/tinnitus started 1 month later. I could hear roaring noises coming from TV which got so loud even when the TV was turned down and was eventually unable to watch TV anymore (my husband was unable to hear those noises).

      Yes, I did use some olive oil prior to the microsuction earwax removal but only twice a day for at least 2-3 weeks. However, the ENT doctor did not ask me if I had used olive oil. I pointed out that I had problems with earwax removal in the past and he told me that he knew what he is doing. I suspect that the microsuction earwax removal caused the onset of my hyperacusis. Also, to add to the problem, my GP prescribed Pregabalin medication which can, apparently, cause hyperacusis although my doctor was unaware of this. I did have a problem with hyperacusis 3 years ago after a microsuction removal but it disappeared very quickly. On that occasion I was told by the audiologist that I need to use olive oil for only a few days.

      Thanks a lot for all your help!
      Annika
       
    6. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Hi Annika.

      Thank you for your kind comments and for the additional information about your symptoms.

      To get the best out of my articles I suggest that you print and refer to them often, rather than read them on a computer screen or a phone which was not my intention when I wrote them. They are a form of counselling, so one needs to relax and take time to read them and this will help reinforce positive thinking. Incorporating positivity into our lives takes time which is important, especially with a condition like tinnitus and if hyperacusis is present more so. This is the reason therapies such as CBT and TRT when used to treat tinnitus and hyperacusis take many months.

      It requires a retraining of the mind particularly for those new to tinnitus, as they must learn not to be afraid of it. Gradually the habituation process beginnings and negative thinking is dispelled and demystified. Each person is different but essentially this is the process of habituation.

      You have mentioned Pregabalin and Amitriptyline in your post. Whilst I do not have a medical background, I am aware what they are used for. I gather you were taking Amitriptyline prior to the onset of the tinnitus and hyperacusis, that both started three months later? Whatever the underlying reason for taking this medication, it may affect the tinnitus and hyperacusis because they both react to stress. Pregabalin is treatment for another condition. Whatever that is and I'm not asking that you divulge it, it may also have an effect on the tinnitus. You have a lot going on here Annika.

      Hyperacusis is usually caused by exposure to loud noise especially when it accompanies tinnitus. People that often listen to audio at too high a volume through headphones, earbuds and headsets are prone to it. However, you have said the tinnitus and hyperacusis started 3 months after taking Amitriptyline. The hyperacusis was made worse after having microsuction. If the tinnitus isn't noise induced, then the underlying medical cause for taking Amitriptyline and Pregabalin could be the reason you are affected by tinnitus and hyperacusis.

      I think you need to talk to your GP and the CBT therapist you have started seeing, and address the underlying medical conditions that you are taking the above medications for. Once these are dealt with and begin to improve, it should have a positive impact on the tinnitus and hyperacusis if they are not noise related. Something usually causes tinnitus to develop, as it rarely starts for no reason although it's possible. I have listed some of those reasons in the articles I have sent to you.

      I wish you well.

      Michael
       
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    7. RonnieThailand

      RonnieThailand Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma/Microsuction/Irrigation
      I'm new to this as well, so mainly just posting to let you know that I'm going through the exact same thing from microsuction/irrigation 2 months ago. I'm sorry you have to deal with this hell too. I'm curious how your pain comes on or what it feels like.

      1. I'm not coping too well with it. It's very severe like yours. No exaggeration. Feels like someone poured acid in my ears when at its worst. I have reactive tinnitus so this is another hell I have to deal with when going out, especially with plugs/muffs but without them it'd be even louder. The pain I have is a burning pain that starts out as a raw feeling in the presence of sounds and then turns to burning for hours/days.

      It was 10 days of constant pain this last time, after some loud noise incidents (dropped a coffee mug/generator exploded outside), so I had to check into a hotel for a month to get away from noises outside my apartment (skateboarders and construction noises I feel kept me from getting back to baseline).

      It's now back to its baseline and no pain when sitting in silence again. I only go out when necessary (food, hospital for other issue are just about the only reasons I go out). After a month, I'll see where I'm at and try to decide if I feel I'm ready to expose to barely audible sounds or not. Natural sounds, not pink noise or white noise. I ordered Bio-Curcumin and Boswellia and will try those for a while starting tomorrow as they just arrived.

      7. Yes, I have this where the earmuffs are not effective anymore, which is why I must now wear the earplugs as well.
       
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    8. sm20

      sm20 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      March 18, 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced
      There's some skepticism around using white/pink noise to gradually increase your tolerance to noise. From my experience, sitting in silence for a month did nothing to help... As soon as I started using a white noise generator all the time in my room, which I basically never left, my condition started to noticeably improve within 2 weeks. I couldn't originally tolerate it even at minimum volume, so I put it in another room and closed the door to make it quieter. Since you have loudness hyperacusis it's more likely that white/pink noise will work better for you, although I only had pain hyperacusis and it still helped.
       
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    9. Marin
      Depressed

      Marin Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      6/18/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      SSNHL... probably previous noise exposure, too
      Thanks for sharing your experience with sound therapy. Can I ask if you had pain in silence when you first started?
       
    10. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Annika

      Annika Member

      Location:
      London
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Microsuction Earwax Removal & Medication
      Hi Ronnie Thailand,

      Thanks for sharing your experience about your tinnitus/hyperacusis. I am sorry to hear of your severe pain, that is clearly very tough to deal with. I hope, that you have been able to get a check-up from an ENT doctor and also offered medication. It appears that there are a lot of people out there whose hyperacusis was brought on after microsuction earwax removal. There should be a warning about the potential risks! Sorry to hear that you were forced to move out. There were times recently when I wished I could move to a quieter place. I live in a London flat where sound-proofing is poor. Often can hear neighbours’ kids shouting and jumping up and down.

      You wanted to know how my pain comes on and what it feels like. When my hyperacusis got worse, the noises I am sensitive to really snowballed. Many ordinary everyday sounds inside and outside seemed amplified to a painful degree.

      I will list a few examples:
      • Most sharp, sudden, high-pitched sounds such as clinking of cutlery and crockery.
      • Clicking of switches and door latches
      • Rustling of paper and plastic packaging
      • High-pitched birdsong, bleeping electronic devices
      • Screaming children at play
      • The rushing sound of traffic passing by when I am walking outside
      • The whirring sound of supermarket refrigerators
      Sometimes have to scream when hearing a sharp unexpected or high pitched sound. My hyperacusis is very unpredictable and varies each day. Sometimes it gets worse by evening. I don’t know what to expect each day. There are days when I keep thinking it has improved, then a few days later I find that it has gotten worse again.

      More recently I find I am getting longer periods of ear discomfort e.g., sense of fullness in my ears, pressure, itchiness also some facial pain. During the last few days have been experiencing what feels like a soreness in my ears. I suspect my condition was made worse when I had to travel to a vaccination centre with lots of heavy traffic and other loud noises on the way.

      I wear ear protectors to take off the very sharp edge of the sounds but, generally, I find I can now hear almost normally through them.

      I wished somebody would tell me what I should or shouldn’t be doing. Should I be resting my ears and not go out at all or should I try to desensitise? I do need to go for a walk to relax otherwise would feel even more trapped. I also need to travel regularly to get to hospital and medical appointments.

      I have tried a range of different treatments including Acupuncture, Healing, Homeopathy and Craniosacral Therapy. Most of these have had only temporary effects. Generally find it relaxing being in nature, going for a walk in a nearby woodland park and listening to the sounds of a brook or stream. The difficulty is getting there. I live in London and loud traffic noises and other unexpected sounds can occur almost anywhere.

      I find it helpful doing online Chi Gong and Yoga exercises. I have been listening to a PINK NOISE CD but for some reason it now seems to make my tinnitus worse for a while. I also find it relaxing listening to the sound of waterfalls and various healing sounds. I intend to find out more about healing sounds and will also look into different relaxation techniques. I already have been taking fish oil supplements. I will also try out Bio-Curcumin and Boswellia as advised by Marin.

      Wishing you all the very best,
      Annika
       
    11. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Annika

      Annika Member

      Location:
      London
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Microsuction Earwax Removal & Medication
      Hi sm20,

      Thanks for letting us know about your experience with noise generators. You said that it improved your condition within 2 weeks. That is remarkable! Could you please let me know which 'white noise generator' you have been using? I will buy one immediately.

      Thank you
      Annika
       
    12. sm20

      sm20 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      March 18, 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced
      Sorry this is really late. I don't know exactly what noise generator it is but it says "Brookstone" on it. It has 12 settings and I leave it on the default white noise setting. It's lower pitched than the white noise that I found on YouTube which should be better for hyperacusis.
       
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    13. RonnieThailand

      RonnieThailand Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma/Microsuction/Irrigation
      Thanks Annika and I'm so sorry you're dealing with this too. Hopefully, you've seen some improvement since you last posted, even if a small one? I saw some major improvement within a month but feel like I may have lost much of it by pushing myself too much. Here's what I did while I was seeing improvements:
      • Got into quiet hotel room since Bangkok is very loud and only went outside once a day, very early in the morning for a green tea without sugar in a small plaza with no cars parked there that early. I have no access to anything even resembling nature here, so this was the best I could do while parks were closed. There's traffic on the road so I wore earmuffs and foam earplugs at first, then as I was feeling a little better I wore only earmuffs, then just the foam earplugs. I would sit at a a table outside tea place, early when nobody else was out, and would take off protection for 5-10 minutes at a time just to take in ambient noises.
      • I started taking 500mg (2x a day) of Bio-Curcumin and 400mg (2x a day) of Boswellia.
      • I sat in silence all day in my room but a few times a day I would open my window to expose ambient noise outside, just traffic from the highway way off in the distance, the same types of noises I heard when sitting at tea place.
      • Because many of my symptoms match TTTS/acoustic shock, I started really believing that this was my muscles tensing up to sounds due to a lowered threshold and that it was both a physical condition (due to the muscles tensing too much since their threshold had been lowered, any sound makes it tense up) and a mental condition (a secondary thing causing the muscles to tense). Previously I was thinking of this was all a nerve damage thing (and it still may be), but in my case, I do believe more so that the muscles are playing a larger role and I think realizing this may have helped to a small degree, though not enough to counter the very physical part of it all.
      For whatever reason, I really started to feel like I was beating it and like I didn't need my earplugs anymore. I no longer had any pain at all, my reactive tinnitus was starting to go away and was almost not reactive at all, just a low hissing. All of this within 1 month (3 months after my tinnitus and hyperacusis started).

      A New Setback: Park/Ambient Noise
      So I went to a local park when they opened (wearing earplugs on the way there and back) that was real quiet which had the same type of ambient noise of traffic in the distance (I would have went for one without this background noise but it's Bangkok, nowhere quiet). Still, it was very far away, to the point where the traffic sounds like white noise. I sat for an hour without any protection on a bench and felt no pain.

      However, I think I pushed it by doing this. I immediately had burning pain later that night and it felt very severe like my ears were going to collapse.
      I then had burning pain in silence the next day.

      Got on Clonazepam for 2 Weeks: Most Symptoms Cleared but Returned After Quitting
      After a few days of realizing this was a real setback, I went to a doctor and he prescribed Clonazepam. Taking 0.5 mg of this 3 times a day and sometimes 1 mg doses completely erased all my pain, all my tinnitus, it was as if I was cured for two weeks. Now after my prescription is almost done, I'm tapering off slowly and the pain is coming back, along with a little tinnitus. I'm worried about all the horror stories you hear about benzos making this worse in the long run so I may just try to ask doctor for more just for emergencies. I'm not sure why it works because Xanax never really helped me, so possibly because it does have these muscle relaxant effects.

      So now I'm just still in the hotel room, better than I was when I last posted though. It's hard to gauge how much better because of the park setback but I feel I can at least walk down the street with earplugs on and most vehicles don't bother me, other than those damn motorcycles.
       
    14. Stacken77
      Cowabunga

      Stacken77 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise(likely headphones & cars), Acoustic trauma did me in
      Sorry to pursue a different topic from this thread, but I must ask.
      That seems like some major improvements. My main issue is reactivity and yours having improved gives us great hope!
      Do you think the increased noise exposure had part in your improvements of the reactivity? Could you expand on that? I'm also thinking about opening my window a few times a day, so for how long did you listen to the ambient noise each time you opened your window?

      Thanks, and I sincerely hope you continue to improve in all aspects of your ear problems,
      Stacken
       
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    15. RonnieThailand

      RonnieThailand Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma/Microsuction/Irrigation
      It's really hard to say because I was exposing in a more controlled way, but also taking in more silence. By controlled way, I mean it's a hotel that faces away from the road so there aren't any surprise sounds happening, nobody in the parking lot because no tourists, so not the same as exposing to sounds at my apartment where sudden noises like hammering, kids skateboarding, voices etc. would make things worse. In my hotel room, I'd open the window for 15-30 minutes at a time, never more than that.

      By "taking in more silence", I'm also referring to having no surprise sounds outside as I did with my apartment. So I spent a much larger percentage of my day in complete silence.

      This is very much a physical thing, though I feel there is a psychological element to it. I had a major pain incident today coming off a muscle relaxant (Orphenadrine citrate 50 mg 2x a day) after just 2 days that initially helped a bit (see my previous post in profile for info on that, I typed a lot). Got on this immediately after the Clonazepam as I was in pain and might be a better longterm option. So I believe TTTS or some serious muscle clenching is taking place in my ears, maybe because the brain/muscles have a physically reduced threshold from damage so they're just clenching up no matter what I'm thinking, but also I believe they're clenching at other times based on my fears towards sounds and maybe even the high pitched shrills of my tinnitus had me tensing those muscles for months.

      So regarding the reactivity, I think that it was probably walking the thin line between healing in silence (to treat the physical part) and exposing in a controlled way (to treat the psychological part). My ears I feel are physically damaged and needed a rest from sounds so the nerves or other parts could heal a bit, but they also needed a rest from the muscle tension caused by fear of sounds (the constant hammering outside that had me on edge with each hit).

      Which is why I believe Clonazepam had worked so well, because it worked on both fronts, unlike Xanax which only treated the psychological part. I feel it's 80% physical, 20% psychological in my case.

      I am worried the reactivity will come back though since I was in a lot of pain today and must also return to my apartment in a week (can't afford hotel anymore after 2 months) and I see they have not finished construction outside. But hoping for the best.

      Hoping you see major improvements too.
       
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    16. Stacken77
      Cowabunga

      Stacken77 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise(likely headphones & cars), Acoustic trauma did me in
      I see, thank you for the response!

      As you listened to the ambience for 15-30 minutes, did your tinnitus react initially? Did you suffer any spikes as a consequence of the noise exposure?
       
    17. RonnieThailand

      RonnieThailand Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma/Microsuction/Irrigation
      A few important notes about this:

      About the Frequency of Opening My Window
      1. I said "a few times a day" initially. I want to clarify, it was a few days a week I would do this, not every single day, maybe 3 or 4 days if I felt up to it, then a few times within those days. But the walks I did every single morning, before many people were out.

      About No Spikes/Little Reactivity

      2. No spikes. But I consider spikes different from the reactivity, so I can separate them. The spikes are what would last hours after the sounds for me, even days or weeks. The reactivity is like an immediate spike where I know it's the Tensor tympani muscle starting to clench up to sounds and creating this pulsating type of sound until the external sounds are gone. I believe they call that "winding up". It settles down after 5-10 minutes. I didn't get that either.

      I don't recall the first few times I did it, but I know I wouldn't do it unless I was already seeing some improvements in pain. Learned I don't handle ambient noise well from trying out my porch before. So the silence came first and took away the major setback I was going through. The walks came next the same week, and then I must've felt comfortable with the window open after that.

      If I did react in the beginning, it wasn't the major reaction I'm used to getting, meaning I felt I was far enough from this ambient noise to where I wasn't getting the same loud reaction I would get if I stood outside on the porch or if I turned on a fan. The window was far enough away from me and I only cracked it halfway, enough to where it didn't feel irritating at all. This is extremely low noise we're talking about between where I was sitting, the window, a huge empty parking lot, a neighborhood, and then a highway on the far side of all that.

      About Daily SHORT/SAFE Walks Maybe Being More Beneficial
      3. Also, I feel the walks may have benefitted me much more than the window, because outside the hotel is an EXTREMELY loud highway (which my room was nowhere near and wasn't facing) but only for about 1 minute out of the short 5-10 minute walk to the store. Once I got around the corner from that highway, it was a smaller road with only the occasional motorcycle that would make me nervous of getting a setback. I didn't go outside at all the first 3 months, so this was a treat for me to be able to get into some kind of normalcy out of my room, a routine.

      This was a very big deal for me to have a place I could walk to. I was on edge a lot the first week doing this and was still having lingering pain from the last setback, but as the pain started going away (probably from silence), I started getting more confident about this walk and I started tuning out some the sounds as I walked and just enjoying the walk. This may have helped change some plasticity in my brain, removed some negative associations with sounds and maybe that's what took away some of the reactivity. I don't know as I do feel it's a very physical thing in the case of the pain hyperacusis I have.

      About Overconfidence and H Setback (but no T setback a month later, yet...)
      I was so confident I put on a song on the tv and played at medium volume and was shocked I was getting such little reactivity. It was there but the song was 95% of what I was hearing instead of the T. I then watched shows at very low volume and could tolerate them without reactivity. I thought the H was going away too, but then I went to that park with all this confidence, sat there while it was quiet for an hour with the same ambient highway noise just a bit closer, and that night it felt like my ears collapsed after I got home. Reactivity is still low but H pain got extremely bad and has gotten worse since from other things.

      No Fan in Hotel May Have Helped
      *One last major point I forgot to mention. I learned not to sleep with a fan on when my T first started, but I still turned the fan on periodically for 30 minutes at a time in my apartment because it was too hot. The fan was a big problem for me with reactivity. The hotel room was cool enough where I didn't need a fan, and a few weeks into it I started using the AC without any issue. So maybe all of this talk about other things is irrelevant and it just boils down to getting away from my fan.

      Sorry for the long posts. I just know details are important here, as everyone's trying to figure this out.
       
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