Barotrauma...

Discussion in 'Support' started by SteveSkis92, Jan 11, 2016.

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    1. SteveSkis92
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      SteveSkis92 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ototoxicity from Electronic Cigarettes (Propylene Glycol)
      Hey guys, pretty bummed to be posting here again.....I just got back last night from one of the best ski trips of my life. While driving out of the Colorado mountains I was having mild ear pain and a hard time clearing my ears. Then, on the flight home the descent was absolutely brutal. Intense ear pain, totally muffled hearing, stuffed right ear.....all the textbook symptoms of barotrauma.

      I have an ENT appointment swcheduled in an hour and a half. What should I be asking for there? Antibiotics to prevent infection? There is definitely fluid behind my eardrum....Or should I be focusing on steroids of some kind if possible?

      Thanks everyone, hopefully you're having a better day than I am right now.....
       
      • Hug Hug x 3
    2. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      This has happened to my wife after flights a number of times. She has always been fine with no lasting problems within 2-3 days (but in the worst cases, she did have pretty severely muffled hearing for those 2-3 days).

      I would not be quick to ask for antibiotics; there's no reason to think you have a bacterial infection, and they can do more harm than good unless you absolutely need them. Ditto steroids. This is a persona decision, but I personally shy away from taking drugs unless there's a really good reason to.

      My guess is that you will be fine in a few days. Next time you fly, try taking some Sudafed before the flight, and perhaps chewing gum on the descent.
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
    3. SteveSkis92
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      SteveSkis92 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ototoxicity from Electronic Cigarettes (Propylene Glycol)
      Thanks Linearb, really appreciate the response. I'm worried because of course I already had T and I was steps if not inches from habituation.....I know there are members on this forum who have had catastrophic T stem from Barotrauma, and that obviously scares me more than a little. I didn't experience any balance or vertigo issues, which I assume can only be a good thing, and I can unmuffle my hearing by turning my head to the side. (I'm guessing this is because I'm taking the fluid off the cochlea...) I did take two Sudafed before the flight, but I guess I was just way too backed up. I quit smoking cigarettes the day before this trip so that may have had something to do with it....
       
    4. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      Hi, @SteveSkis92: Not to scare you, but I am one of those people here at TT whose tinnitus came from barotrauma. My experience was very similar to yours: took a long flight over to Italy, where my ears felt weird the whole time as we drove through the mountains. On the long flight back, had terrible pain on descent. Had fluid trapped inside one ear. My ears were ringing when I got off the plane and haven't stopped more than two years later.

      I also had hearing loss -- although whether that loss was due to barotrauma or already existed, no way to tell as I never had had a hearing test prior to having tinnitus. Of course, you already have tinnitus, so I assume you are fearing this experience will make it worse? Anyway, good thing you are getting to an ENT pronto. You might want to get another hearing test (if you have had a previous test), one past 8000 hz, to see if you have any additional frequency loss.

      Sounds like you might have eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD), as I did. If that's the case, your ENT may force open your tube by blowing air up your nose. Doesn't hurt. The doc should be able to determine if there is an infection that might require antibiotics and also may give you a tympanic test, to determine if you might have chronic ETD. I am assuming if you had a ruptured eardrum, you would know it by know. Mine did not rupture.

      You might ask about steroids, if there is hearing loss. But my guess, is like @linearb said, you will be fine and more comfortable after your doc visit.

      For the future: I also do the Sudafed thing before flying. But my flight protocol, put together by my primary ENT (a barotrauma specialist), is a bit more involved and includes vented plugs (Ear Planes) and Afrin. I describe it in the link below. I use it when I fly and so far, no problems.

      On this thread, you will see a lot of other people have thoughts on this very common question, re. flying and tinnitus.

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/flying-tinnitus.1001/page-4#post-47628

      People with chronic ETD sometimes need to have tubes (or grommets) inserted in their ears by their docs, to relieve pressure when flying, but I have not needed to go that route.

      Hope you feel better soon and can enjoy good memories of your awesome trip.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    5. SteveSkis92
      Dumb

      SteveSkis92 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ototoxicity from Electronic Cigarettes (Propylene Glycol)
      Hey LadyDi, thanks so much for taking the time to respond to my post. Greatly appreciated! As much as tinnitus sucks, I'm so grateful to have such a useful database of sorts....

      I'm back from my appointment. ENT did say that there was blood/fluid behind my ear drum. He prescribed me Augmentin (antibiotic) and a week's supply of steroids in an attempt to open the tube. He did a tuning fork test which confirmed I have some amount of conductive hearing loss, but he felt confident that my issue was middle ear related, not inner ear, so hopefully as things clear up everything will go back to "normal."

      Thanks again @LadyDi and @linearb for your responses. I'm not thrilled that I have to take pharmaceuticals, but I feel I should probably listen to my doc.....any opinions?

      PS - Rereading this, the beginning seemed to come off almost a bit sarcastic. Not at all my intention. I am truly grateful for this forum and the people in it!
       
    6. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      Thanks so much for posting back, @SteveSkis92, I have been thinking about you. You didn't come across sarcastic at all! No worries...

      I personally would not take the advice of anyone posting on an online forum (including me) over that of a medical doctor who had examined me, unless there is some very compelling reason to do so. I also try to avoid drugs if possible but sometimes, they are necessary (in my opinion). Any increase in your tinnitus due to antibiotics should subside when you stop the drug. Sounds like you didn't break your ear drum, though, so that's good news.

      I would assume that as your doc said, your ear issue should resolve and you should go back to normal. Needless to say, you should not fly until this is sorted out. Did you have conductive hearing loss before? Does the doc think it is a temporary loss, due to this incident? Again, glad you saw someone promptly. Things can get very messy without treatment.
       
    7. just1morething
      Benevolent

      just1morething Member Benefactor

      Location:
      U.S.
      Tinnitus Since:
      2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      barotrauma from airplane descent, noise exposure? ETD? TMJD?
      @SteveamoxycillinSkis92, Sorry to hear about your situation. I got fluid in my ear in 2008 from a Chicago to MSP flight. My primary care doc said my eardrum was 2/3rd full of fluid. I was on amoxycillin I think. I wanted him to drain the fluid as it was sloshing around in there, but he said that would cause more problems. It drained in about a month. One T-doc said it should have been drained right away and that would have prevented my ringing, but not sure on that. You could try a EarPopper to get it to drain faster possibly with a Dr.'s approval. I don't think @LadyDi is a fan of that device though. I have left ear ETD and use my EarPopper to open it up at times and also use Flonase. Only my right ear cracks when I swallow at the moment, but not sure if ETD is always the cause of tinnitus. It may or may not be normal for your E-tube to crack every time you swallow? I think it's normal but opening it up with a EarPopper doesn't make the noise go away usually, unless there is inflammation still there as @engineerLA mentioned. Confusion & Frustration.
       
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    8. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      Thanks for posting, @just1morething, had forgotten you have had this experience, too.

      I am not a fan of the Ear Popper, only because I think forcing your eustachian open is something that should be left to professionals. You can injure your ears just by doing the valsalva maneuver too vigorously. But if you have used it with success...

      FYI: My ear had a small amount of fluid and it was drained by opening my tube at the ENT's office. Unfortunately, didn't prevent tinnitus.
       
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    9. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      I 100% agree with this. My prior comment was only intended to reflect that it might not be a good idea to explicitly ask to be given drugs; I think I misunderstood the initial question.

      Despite being anti-drug in general, I have certainly taken both of the drugs in question within the last 5-10 years. No issues. Steroids might make you feel a bit loopy or anxious for the very short period of time you're on them, so don't stress about that if it happens, it will pass.
       
    10. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      Yeah, they're not you, don't stress about it.

      At least once since I've had significant T, I had excruciating ear pain and a blocked ear following a plane descent, now that I think about it. It wasn't any fun but it didn't change my normal noise floor.
       
      • Like Like x 2
    11. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      I personally would not take the advice of anyone posting on an online forum (including me) over that of a medical doctor who had examined me, unless there is some very compelling reason to do so.

      Hey @linearb, hope this didn't sound snarky and/or that I thought I directed it at you. Your advice always is spot on. Dang Internet conversation, context goes right out the window!
       
    12. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      Not at all, I completely agree :)
       
    13. SteveSkis92
      Dumb

      SteveSkis92 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ototoxicity from Electronic Cigarettes (Propylene Glycol)
      @LadyDi @just1morething @linearb Thank you all so much for the info and responses! I'm honestly kind of blown away, three of my favorite posters responded to my post, couldn't have asked for a better lineup!

      I have picked up my prescriptions now, and taken the initial dose of both. I'm optimistic that this will all work out without too much trouble long term. Sometimes it's just far too easy to buy into the horror stories you can find regarding just about any injury/symptom/illness on the Internet. Like you @linearb I am strongly against unnecessary pharmaceutical use, but I think that you and @LadyDi are correct in saying it would be unwise to take the advice of Internet forums over that of a medical doctor.

      I will say though, one thing that my doc recommended kind of worries me. He told me to use the Valsalva maneuver every half hour tonight and tomorrow until I feel that my ear is totally clear....any opinions on that? I will definitely be sure not to overdo it or force my ears to pop since that could easily cause more damage, but still....

      Thanks again everyone! Truly grateful for the advice and support!
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
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    14. just1morething
      Benevolent

      just1morething Member Benefactor

      Location:
      U.S.
      Tinnitus Since:
      2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      barotrauma from airplane descent, noise exposure? ETD? TMJD?
      Not a good idea doing the Valsalva maneuver IMO. Some people have ruptured their eardrum that way. The EarPopper is controlled pressure, so unlikely to have that happen with that device.
       
    15. Nucleo

      Nucleo Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2011
      I would rather use the more gentle version of the Valsalva maneuver - Pinch your nose and swallow, don't blow. This way you are not forcing air through the eustachian tube. It may take a couple of tries to get the E tubes to open.
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
    16. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      if you're nervous about doing the valsalva, you can also try chewing gum, and sort of wiggling your ears about. I'm lucky in that it's super easy for me to open my tubes, I can actually do it without swallowing or anything. I've never had any problems from using the valsalva, even pretty vigorously, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea for anyone else!
       
    17. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      I will say though, one thing that my doc recommended kind of worries me. He told me to use the Valsalva maneuver every half hour tonight and tomorrow until I feel that my ear is totally clear....any opinions on that?

      Again, not really my place to second guess a medical professional. I will say that from time to time, I use the Valsalva. And when I had my barotrauma incident, my (then) ENT gave me the same advice as yours. I would say (just my opinion): if you follow the doctor's advice, I would do the Valsalva very, very gently. You might call him back and ask about the safety issue.

      I would try @Nucleo's version first. This sometimes works for me, too. And like @linearb, I can sometimes "pop" my ears by wiggling and flexing my facial muscles. Also try opening your mouth really, really wide (which, by the way, is what you should do during an airplane descent if you have ETD problems. It is mentioned in that link to my flight instructions).
       
    18. SteveSkis92
      Dumb

      SteveSkis92 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ototoxicity from Electronic Cigarettes (Propylene Glycol)
      Well I went through my first day of Steroids and antibiotics yesterday, and while I can say that I do feel more "action" in my Eustachian tube, I can't say that my ear has drained too much. It seemed that my Doc really wanted my ear to clear last night (since he was telling me to use the Valsalva maneuver regularly until my ear is clear) but I can't pop my right ear using the Valsalva without using an uncomfortable amount of force. Is this a reason for concern? Should I call my doc? I don't want to seem like a total hypochondriac, but the last time I had an ear issue and decided to "wait it out" it didn't turn out so well.....
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    19. UKJon

      UKJon Member

      Location:
      Leicestershire, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      Oct 2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Prolonged stress followed by bereavement
      Hi Steve. So sorry you're back on the site with fluid in the ears but I'm glad you had a good holiday. Do you really think that the flight home was to blame? I have not experienced fluid on the ears. What fluid is it and how does it get there?
       
    20. SteveSkis92
      Dumb

      SteveSkis92 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ototoxicity from Electronic Cigarettes (Propylene Glycol)
      Hey Jon, good to hear from you. Yes, the flight was definitely to blame. When the middle ear can't equalize pressure due to a Eustachian tube blockage the huge differences in pressure, (inside of the ear is still at 8000ft elevation pressure, while the rest of the cabin in descent is at 2000ft elevation for example) the middle and inner ear can suffer trauma due to the differences. It's not coincidence that I went up with clear ears, suffered intense ear pain on descent, then immediately had blocked hearing and fluid behind the eardrum....
       
    21. Dazed&Confused

      Dazed&Confused Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2015
      Guys, so I had something wrong with my ears or ETD end of Oct and took two flights (connections) to Memphis. I felt pressure in my ears followed by ringing afterwards that never stopped since. I also developed vertigo which is subsiding now...hopefully. Been a brutal holiday season for me. I had a night where I even felt fluid in my right ear. Anyway now I have still have tinnitus with some Hypercausis which is resolving slowly...I think. I know one member here has T from flying as well and it never went away. Has anyone heard of T coming from Barotrama? I know I had some sinus issues, but I took gum and special earplane plugs. Now my ears are all jacked up. Had an MRI that showed Ethmoid Sinitus. Just had a CT scan done today. I have a strong feeling I damaged my ears permanently from this flight. I also developed a bad virus that caused vertigo.

      I really am dazed and confused.
       
    22. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      So sorry you are going through this, @Dazed&Confused. Quite a few people here at TT have had issues with barotrauma and airplane flights, including me.

      There has been an in-depth discussion with another member, @SteveSkis92, very recently on another thread. You will find a lot of info/comments here:

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/barotrauma.12923/#post-157972

      Hope you feel better soon. Sometimes, a bad flight will cause ear/sinus issues but those problems will resolve in time.
       
    23. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      Hey @SteveSkis92, appreciate how uncomfortable this can be. It probably will take a bit more than a day for the meds to do their job, and it sounds like you already are sensing improvement. Don't want to play physician: But I would not do a forceful valsalva. Once the medication works properly, it should not be a problem. But I wouldn't rush it.

      In the meantime, if you are concerned: I would call the doctor and tell him what's going on. It is possible for an ENT to "pop" your ears by blowing air through your nasal passages. Maybe you can suggest this if you are looking for relief?

      And you shouldn't label yourself as a hypochondriac because you are concerned about your health. You are being smart to take care of things in a timely fashion! :)

      Hang in there...
       
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    24. SteveSkis92
      Dumb

      SteveSkis92 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ototoxicity from Electronic Cigarettes (Propylene Glycol)
       
    25. SteveSkis92
      Dumb

      SteveSkis92 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ototoxicity from Electronic Cigarettes (Propylene Glycol)
      Wow, not quite sure why my entire message got included in that quote. My mistake....ears and computers are definitely my downfalls....
       
    26. Dazed&Confused

      Dazed&Confused Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2015
      @LadyDi thanks for the kind words. If my tinnitus goes away I will by infinitely happy. I actually heard of tinnitus via my father. He got in when he was 68 from a really bad ear infection. I knew it put him through hell when he was alive. Now here I am less than half his age and I got it now too. Can it be genetics!?
       
    27. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      Can it be genetics!?

      No one knows for sure. Some think yes.
       
    28. daniel1111
      Shitfaced

      daniel1111 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Amsterdam
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/12/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced, repeated exposure with loud headphones.
      Has anyone with tinnitus not caused by flying, had their tinnitus get worse from flying?

      I will be flying next month for the first time since the onset, and am worried about that a bit.
       
    29. SteveSkis92
      Dumb

      SteveSkis92 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ototoxicity from Electronic Cigarettes (Propylene Glycol)
      This was the third time I had flown since getting T. I had no issues what so ever the first two times, and the only reason I had trouble this time was because of my congestion. If you are congested, take a decongestant and maybe use some nasal spray. As long as your ears are popping correctly, you have nothing to worry about. Bring ear plugs just in case you feel uncomfortable with the noise level, but you'll be fine.
       
      • Informative Informative x 1
    30. Telis

      Telis Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Calgary
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      Take it easy with the valsalva. Do both of your ears clear when you use this method?
       

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