Chronic ETD and/or Tinnitus? Consider Dust Mite or Other Allergies

Discussion in 'Support' started by Enterprise, Sep 28, 2019.

    1. Enterprise

      Enterprise Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably Allergies
      Hi everyone,

      I've been suffering from ETD and Tinnitus for about 4 months now. I've seen my GP several times, who diagnosed ETD, and two ENTs who say that everything looks good to them. What I didn't think to do, and what nobody ever recommended, was to go see an allergist. I didn't consider allergies because ETD is not a typical allergy symptom like runny nose and sneezing.

      I've had some experience with allergies before. About 10 years ago, I had chronic dry/red eyes, which my eye doctor diagnosed as meibomian gland dysfunction ("MGD"). MGD is very similar to ETD, in that it is considered a chronic condition, it can get worse and better as times passes, nobody really knows exactly what causes it, the standard treatment is steroids, and the medical professionals why typically see it are not trained in allergy. Fortunately, a client of mine was an allergist and she recommended that I go see an allergist. Within a week, my "chronic" dry eye and MGD was solved.

      And so, I'm now banging my head against the wall wondering why I didn't even consider allergies for ETD. Suffice it to say that now that I'm treating this condition as if it was an allergic condition (for the last week), I'm seeing a dramatic improvement. If you're experiencing chronic ETD and/or tinnitus, I strongly recommend that you at least consider allergies as a possible cause. You've got very little to lose, and potentially a lot to gain.

      Here are a few pointers, based upon my own experiences:

      1. When you go see an allergist, insist that the allergist perform skin prick testing, and not merely a blood tests. The blood test is not nearly as sensitive and can miss allergies that the skin prick test would pick up. And if you test negative for dust mites on the skin prick test, insist that the allergist do what is called an "intradermal test." This is an even more sensitive test that many allergists won't do.

      2. If you test positive for allergies, sign up for allergy shots. They are the most effective treatment for allergies. If you can find a doctor who will do rapid rise (which is very rare), you'll get faster relief.

      3. Antihistamines like Allegra (systemic - a pill) and Patanase (nasal spray) might be helpful, but my experience is that they are nowhere near as effective as allergy shots or environmental controls.

      4. I've purchased some very cheap and very expensive air filters, and found that they are rarely useful. As long as there is a large pool of dust hidden somewhere that you spent your time, the fans in the filters just tend to move the air around and make things worse.

      5. If you are allergic to dust mites, the fastest way to resolve your condition is **cleaning**. There are likely hidden reservoirs of dust near where you spend much of your time, that are filled with dust mites that are spewing out dust mite proteins that can be causing your allergies. The sooner you remove them, the sooner you may experience relief.

      Some allergists believe that environmental controls (like washing bedding) are ineffective, but I suspect that's because most people never find and eliminate the hidden reservoirs of dust in the places that they spend most of their time. While washing your bedding is important, it's not enough.

      Start with the places you spend the most time, i.e., your bed, your office chair, your easy chair, your sofa, etc. After you do them, consider your closets (bedroom closets and linen closets), where your clothes and towels spend much of their times before you wear/use them.

      Look for places that might harbor dust or dust mites. These are typically places that nobody ever thinks to look: Your mattress, the foundation of your bed, your bedding, your pillow, plush toys, decorative pillows, underneath your bed, on top of/behind/underneath furniture, the tops of doors, the tops of door moldings, the tops of baseboards, the tops of picture frames, ledges and shelves, behind electronic device like TVs, underneath chairs (especially the mechanisms of office chairs and underneath easy chairs, sofas, and kitchen chairs), the cushioned seating surface of your chairs, lampshades, light bulbs, lighting fixtures (especially hanging fixtures that are open at the top that you find in entry halls, kitchens, and dining rooms), window coverings (especially drapes and cellular shades - but even the mechanism and tops of plastic shades tend to accumulate dust that nobody ever cleans), carpets, linens and clothes that are in the closet but rarely worn, bookshelves (especially **behind** the books).

      If the surface is hard and it has dust on it, wipe it with a damp cloth. If the surface is soft and you can wash it (pillows/plush toys), wash it in the washing machine regardless of whether you think it has dust on it. If the surface is too big to wash (chair surfaces/mattresses), vacuum it, preferably with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter.

      For mattresses and pillows, I strongly recommend allergy covers that are lined with a rubber coating on the inside and cloth on the outside. You'll want to wash them whenever you wash your bedding. I'm not sure if recommending vendors is allowed here, so I won't, but there are allergy supply companies online that offer fitted allergy covers for King and Queen size mattresses, and they're easier to put on and take off than the encasement kinds. A Roomba vacuum cleaner is an excellent way to vacuum underneath beds and furniture without having to move it.

      My experience with MGD and with ETD is that as I find the hidden reservoirs of dust in the places that I spend time, and eliminate them, my condition improves.

      I hope that someone else finds this information useful.
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    2. martinberryhorse

      martinberryhorse Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Aug 5, 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      One hard cough
      Thanks for this info, I was diagnosed with ETD as well and the ENTs I went to all told me I'm just imagining it and not to see an allergist.

      I went yesterday and from my symptoms he said he thinks it's allergies, and told me that plugged ears cause tinnitus.

      Scratch test is tomorrow so I'll see what happens. I read this post a while ago and it inspired me to make the appointment, so thanks again!

      Hope you are doing a lot better now.
    3. AUTHOR

      Enterprise Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably Allergies
      I'm so glad to hear that my advice may help you.

      Since I posted my initial message, I've started on allergy treatments. There's a new treatment for dust mites that has effectiveness similar to allergy shots, but it is instead a pill that you take at home. It's called Odactra, and its basically an oral version of the stuff that they inject you with for allergy shots. It is known that starting Odactra (and allergy shots) can worsen allergy symptoms initially until the body adapts to them. Interestingly, my ETD started to worsen when I started the Odactra. It could be coincidence, or it could be confirmation that my problem is caused by allergy. Only time will tell.

      One solution that my allergist suggested that I found novel, but seems to be helping, is to use a Mometasone inhaler. The drug companies used to make an aerosolized version of mometasone for nasal use, but it was discontinued. You can still get mometasone for nasal applications, but it is a liquid spray, not an aerosol, and according to my allergist, it won't get back into your nose far enough to reach the openings of the eustachian tubes.

      So, what my allergist does is he prescribes an aerosolized version of Mometasone (a steroid) that is supposed to be used as an oral inhaler. In other words, you're supposed to use it on your mouth, and its intended to treat asthma. However, he takes a baby bottle nipple, stretches it over the opening of the inhaler, and then cuts off the end of the nipple. This, in effect, makes the inhaler the perfect size for the nasal openings. You can then use the inhaler to deliver a pressurized aerosol spray of Mometasone into the nose which has a better chance of reaching to the openings and impacting them. He also suggested that I inhale through my nose when I apply it to help the medicine reach back where it needs to go. Alternatively, the same doctor recommended Flonase Sensimist, which he said gets the liquid into much smaller particles than a typical nasal spray.

      There's an ENT clinic that has posted techniques to use to get liquid nasal sprays medicine to the right place. You can read their suggestions here:

      Bear in mind that with doctors, there is often the hammer and nail phenomenon, i.e. to a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. To a surgeon, every problem has a surgical correction. To an allergist, every problem looks like allergy. Only you can determine for sure whether it really is. The easiest way to get started is to clean... :)

      Please keep us posted with your success.

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