Confused About My Abrasive, Sharp, Throbbing, Relatively Constant Ear Pain Exacerbated by Noises

Discussion in 'Support' started by tjd3355, May 14, 2021.

    1. tjd3355

      tjd3355 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2014
      In reading through Tinnitus Talk, I am seeing that there are different kinds of hyperacusis (pain and loudness, right?) and that tinnitus itself also causes ear pain in itself? I’m not too sure which I have.

      My ear pain is now moderate, abrasive, sharp, throbbing, and relatively constant and exacerbated by noises. My tinnitus is noise induced from 6 years ago and was heavily spiked recently from a possible combo of an accidental exposure to loud live music 3 weeks ago, the first Pfizer shot a week before that , and a subsequent MRI last week. Consecutive potential acoustic (or inflammatory, in the case of the vaccine if that is making things worse) injuries.

      I thought it was normal to have ear pain for a while after an acoustic injury, I had it severely for a week after my first injury 6 years ago, and then it because mild and directly in response to noise for months to a couple years after. it seems after reading posts here that this is not as common of a reaction as solely having tinnitus.

      The pain is disturbing, scary, which you all already know. I am alone working on the road and I do not sleep now, mostly panic at nights and cry in fear, unless there is some improvement in symptoms then I’m able to get briefly optimistic and more “normal”. I’m worried it won’t go away due to some of the things I’m reading here, especially since I stupidly listened to docs and added a second acoustic injury so soon with the MRI. Yet, some of the posts here are quite certain that this response fades with time in most people. I know my tinnitus is here to stay, I’ve had it 6 years and ok with its current level. But the new onset of pain after recovering years ago, and resulting distortions and hyperacusis I need to resolve somehow. It also brings attention to my tinnitus again (de-habituating me) since there is so much sensitivity, pain , fullness, popping, and rawness in the ear. I took a Prednisone burst after both recent noise exposures. My first day without Prednisone will be tomorrow and I’m scared everything will get worse. I already feel overwhelmed by car doors, dogs, truck engines, female voices, electronic media, even the pink noise (and other colors too) that used to sooth me through my first recovery sounds grating and painful.

      Anyhow, I would like to ask the experts here their take on the prognosis of ear pain specifically. It has been 3 weeks of ear pain, hyperacusis relapse, migraines, headaches, facial pain, increased tinnitus (which at this point is the least of my concern). @Michael Leigh has had encouraging info on this topic in relation to a recent post of mine, and I have been reading his materials as well as the Success Stories to keep up hope. But, some of you seem pretty sure this does not improve for most people.

      Basically I feel ignorant on the topic of hyperacusis , what type I may have, and I am reading some opposing viewpoints on Tinnitus Talk.

      Also, those of you who deal with this alone, without any loved ones or animals to distract you or remind you of happiness- how the hell do you get through this long-term? I don’t remember how I did before. It’s like I blocked that hellish year out. And this time feels different, but memories play tricks. I have to work now too, I was “luckily” laid off for quite a while when this happened before, and I hid in a cabin in the woods with my dog to heal, doing who knows what and pretty miserable. But I will be working through it, this time, out of necessity.

      Is ear healing similar to concussion healing? Nerve repair? I have healed from a couple of concussions that took quite a long time (6 months) and could relate to that timeframe maybe as I know nerves are slow to heal. But maybe this is different.

      Where do I go to pursue medication? A psychiatrist, tinnitus specialist (months of wait time most likely), neurologist? I am uninsured but would pay cash if I knew who to pay for the best help at this point. I already went to the ENT (pre-MRI) and audiologist for a hearing test (normal at that time).

      Emotional Segway that I may be embarrassed of later: Currently, I want to give up, scream (quietly), drown, quit my job, stop talking to everyone, adopt an addiction that makes this feel better and slowly die away. I’ve already done this shit once, healed from brain injuries, illnesses, back injuries, and so much death and destruction surrounding my world, no pity party meant, it’s just that a soul gets tired of rebuilding from scratch all the damn time, just when you think you might be catching up to what “normal” people seem to enjoy of life, and think maybe hey, maybe things are looking up due to my Much Better Decision-Making, the universe takes another cheap shot. Sorry, I know there are people here on this site that suffer tremendously, and I wish you were around so I could make you some supper or something and feel like I am helping around here at least instead of being weak, pathetic, and afraid.

      Sorry if some of this is repeat information. I am a pragmatist and just want to know what to reasonably expect and how to proceed without losing my grasp on reality.
       
      • Hug Hug x 4
    2. ShaunR

      ShaunR Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      June 2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Concert + Motorbike
      Hi,

      I'm suffering the same with ear pain. This has been an ongoing issue for me now for almost a year.

      It started after a loud wheel spin and was possibly made worse by a Valsalva.

      Anyway the pain has been a constant aching, boring, nagging and occasionally burning feeling. I can't seem to link it to sound although I think sound sometimes makes it worse.

      From what I have read this seems to be acoustic trauma related.

      Doctors treat my pain like it is trigeminal neuralgia. I've tried Tegretol which helped a bit and am now on Amitriptyline which has so far done nothing.

      You've only had this for 3 weeks and all the reading I've done suggests the pain goes away, however you may have to be patient, it can take many months to resolve.

      For me stress makes it worse. It can become a cycle. More pain more stress. More stress, more pain. So you have to try break that some how.

      I'm sorry I can't be of more help. I'm still looking for answers myself. Just know you're not alone in this and there is a good chance you will get better.

      Shaun.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    3. Mary97

      Mary97 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Accoustic trauma but diagnosed with otosclerosis
      I was touched by your post... others here I swear are smarter than professional audiologists and will have words of wisdom for you I am sure. I just wanted to reach out and say hello to you and hope that maybe today is a little less miserable...
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    4. xyz
      Alienated

      xyz Member

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      2006 mild T 2019 T worsening H onset
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown / probably noise induced
      Maybe start wearing Peltor muffs during the day and some more comfortable foam earplugs for sleep. And add some Magnesium & Potassium supplements. That's currently my protocol.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      tjd3355

      tjd3355 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2014
      @ShaunR, thank you. I’m really sorry that you’ve been having such a hard time for so long.

      Have you noticed improvements at all for yourself over time, besides directly from the meds?

      It sucks to think that even if it does get better this could return at any moment. I took a break from this forum for a few days as I was driving myself nuts with the anxiety, the what if’s. I have no idea if I’m making it worse by living my life... going to work, hearing loud engines when I leave the house, surprise noises, stuff like that.

      Does it make you feel exhausted? I feel like every day by 2pm I’m completely spent and my ears are done with the day.

      Why did you quit the Tegretol if it helped? Just curious.

      Do you go about your life relatively normally despite the pain?

      I’m curious as to what folks in this forum do about work, errands, kids, life stuff....

      And yea, stress totally makes it worse. The cycle is real. I am thinking of taking a break from work actually. The constant travel and exposure to different potential noise-risk situations with the endless driving and field work is stressing me the hell out.

      @Mary97, thank you. Helps to know others are out there! I have learned a lot from this forum.

      @xyz, what do you think about overprotection? I think I’m going to order some fancy earplugs as the foams always pop out of my ears and also amplify my tinnitus too much - I have heard good things about the Loop plugs. I have been seeing there are some people here that say earplugs makes this worse and others say the ears need to be protected more after injury. I’ve been trying to do a healthy balance of both based on how “tired” my ears feel. How the heck can an ear feel tired?? I can’t even describe the feeling...

      Does anyone else find that the tone of their tinnitus actually causes hyperacusis ear pain? It seems like the high pitch (nails on a chalkboard) I hear in my left ear (mostly, but some in my right) seems to be causing an ear pain reaction. As an experiment I can put my ear in a pillow to amplify my tinnitus as much as possible and my ear will sear with pain. As a result of this I am in constant mild pain and ear plugs and muffs actually make it worse. It’s all exhausting, I’m so out of it and tired from the mental strain.

      Everyone says “get the second shot of the vaccine!”. I’d rather roll the dice with COVID-19 than purposely shoot myself up with something with a high probability of making this worse. Life right now is not living. Been trying to do quiet things to try to be happy, I’m not usually a negative person. But the world is loud - cows mooing, dogs barking, dishes clanking, truck and motorcycle engines going by, people slamming stuff around, lawnmowers mowing, I don’t know what can hurt me and what can’t anymore. I don’t know if every time my ear gets full and hurts in response to sound if it’s causing more damage/inflammation. I get so worried. It’s all so surreal.

      No updates really. Same ol sh**.

      Have a peaceful day everyone.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    6. xyz
      Alienated

      xyz Member

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      2006 mild T 2019 T worsening H onset
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown / probably noise induced
      I am wearing Peltors most of the day since June 2020. I think it is a good thing for both my tinnitus and hyperacusis. Since October 2020 I am sleeping with the Moldex 7403 small. They are comfortable for me as my ear canals are small. Certainly if the tinnitus doesn't permit to sleep with earplugs, then it's better to not use them. But in the early morning it gets quite noisy where I live, so I prefer to sleep with earplugs.
       
      • Useful Useful x 1
    7. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      tjd3355

      tjd3355 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2014
      I had another loud noise exposure yesterday - accidental, I was in a restaurant briefly picking up food to-go, mid-afternoon, it was super quiet in there so I had my earplugs out to talk to the server, and they decided to turn on their speakers for the night while I was there. They were apparently super loud from the night before - or probably it was a mistake in turning the volume up instead of down because I mean they were REALLY loud - even people with regular hearing (I assume) complained and left - I ran out immediately (exposure probably 5 seconds) but this is the third excessively loud noise exposure I’ve had in 5 weeks, not counting random moderate noise exposure from work and travel. No idea about decibel level of the speakers. As loud as a night club for sure. Punched in the face type of loud.

      I’m seeing what you all mean by wearing earplugs everywhere now. I will start wearing them in public even if the situation seems safe. I feel like there is no way this will ever heal if accidents like that keep happening.

      Do I go on another burst of Prednisone to be safe? My ears feel more inflamed today than before the incident. Before the incident I was having my first “good day” in a long while and was able to have energy throughout the day without crashing in the afternoon because of ear fatigue. Hence me going to get take out food... How long could a “delayed reaction” of worsening hyperacusis or tinnitus take to show up?

      How do you all manage the aftermath of accidental noise exposures/setbacks for yourselves while your ears are trying to heal? Even with earplugs I feel like it’s unsafe to do anything. I feel like my ears haven’t even been given a chance to heal due to constant life noise that they are exposed to. I’m worried that this has all been too much and my inability to have a place to keep them quiet for a couple weeks (work/travel) is preventing healing permanently. Definitely I’m going to use earplugs for a while to let things settle down and avoid more accidents, but jeez, I feel like I can’t walk out of the motels I stay in, without a train going by, a car backfiring, a siren going by, a motorcycle showing up, or - an accidental restaurant speaker malfunction blaring. Is it possible my ears could still heal after this repetitive noise assault? I feel so stressed about not giving them the rest they need and wonder if it’s too late. I’m living out of motels, switching every few days, that’s why I go get take out and have to spend time in the parking lots packing, unpacking, grabbing supplies at gas stations, these are the times when all noise exposures happen. I do wear plugs when I expect noise but not when it seems quiet, obviously a mistake I have made. I imagine parents have to deal with accidental noise exposure incidents quite often?

      I also wonder if driving is dangerous during this healing process? I’m trying to get to my family’s house across the country to take a break for a while, but the road noise in my car cabin seems loud (Subarus not known for quiet cabins) and I don’t want to damage my ears more with 8+ hours of driving noise per day. Currently I wear muffs when driving only when my ears seem to be telling me they have had enough. Something about the muffled sound muffles my perception of speed too and I end up driving about 90 mph if I’m not careful... Speed limit is 80 here, ha! But still.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
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