Could the Audiologist's Hearing Test Worsen My Tinnitus or Make My Ears More Sensitive?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Sameer, May 6, 2019.

    1. Sameer

      Sameer Member

      Sydney, Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Most likely sound-induced, but not entirely sure.
      Hi, all, I'm 19 years old and I've had tinnitus for just under a year-and-a-half. I distinctly remember hearing it (at that rate) in December of 2017.

      Warning: This is a long one...

      My family and I flew from Sydney, Australia (which is where I live) to the UK to see family. The flights were especially long (12+ hours each with a stop-over in Beijing). The night we arrived at my Auntie's, I remember trying to go to sleep and all I could hear was this constant ringing and hissing. I thought, "Hmm, that's different..." I slept through it, though, but every single night after that, I would hear it. A few months after we got back from our trip (which, in total, consisted of nine flights, as we went to the US, too), I started having stomach problems (and could hear a little less in my left ear, which tinnitus was louder in), so decided to go to our GP. While there, I thought it couldn't hurt to bring up what was going on with my ears since we were already there, so I told her (the GP) about it. The reason I didn't immediately consult my GP about the tinnitus was because it was very tolerable for me (I'd say 'mild', at most), so much so that I would have no issues going to sleep. Anyway, after examining my ears, she said that I had impacted earwax built up and would have to get it removed, so she prescribed me these earwax softening drops and said to use them for around three days (and three times daily) or so and come back to get the wax removed through irrigation. She also wrote me up referrals to an audiologist for a hearing test and ENT specialist for examination. I came back to get the wax removed, and afterwards, I could hear a whole lot better, but the tinnitus was still there. It started to get a little worse (louder and with a couple of new tones and my left ear was hearing even less) for a couple months after and I had (extremely regrettably) put off going to the ENT and audiologist since I wasn't really having any major problems with it, but now I started to think I should probably follow through with it, so I booked a hearing test appointment (for 8th of May) and an ENT appointment (for 17th of May). Okay, all set.

      Fast forward to just over a week ago - 26th April. I wake up at 2:30am to go to the bathroom, as I'm walking back to my room, I feel my left ear tickle/itch a little, so I try cleaning it out with my finger, all of a sudden, my left hearing goes extremely muffled, almost like I was wearing an ear plug or something. I start freaking out in my room, pacing back and forth (as I'm the type to instantly think of the worst-case scenario), thinking, "This is it. I'm deaf in my left ear now." I wake up my parents (from freaking out and not knowing what to do) and explain to them what's happened. After a bunch of reassuring words, my mum calms me down, tells me that I probably just have earwax built up again and we decide we'll go straight to the GP first thing in the morning. While walking back to my room, I feel the pressure in my left ear change, hear a pop and I can hear clearer (like I could before going to sleep) - I think moving around so much caused the earwax to move again. I somehow get to sleep again. The next day, we go to the GP after breakfast (and my left ear is muffled after waking up - earwax moved again). Our usual GP was working that day, but I was persistent on having it looked at immediately, so we went with whatever GP was there. She had a look and said that I had earwax built up again (more in my left than in my right ear) and that I would need to get it flushed out again. So, same deal - used eardrops to soften wax and came back after three days. Also, my left ear's tinnitus was louder than usual, which I read online could be due to impacted earwax and would subside after I got the ears flushed.

      Throughout the irrigation happening, I could feel a bit of pain in the ears (which I didn't verbalise, as I thought I was probably overreacting). Every time she syringed my ears, I could feel this pain. Anyway, after she finished, I felt incredibly dizzy (which she stated was normal) walking back to the car. On the drive home, I was telling my mum how my hearing feels "different", but not like it did last time I had the syringing done. My voice sounded different, too. It didn't sound like... me, I guess. It sounded more crisp and brighter than normal, almost as if I had an equaliser on my ears with the high-end turned up and low-mids turned down (sorry, I don't know how to explain it in non-music related ways). Again, mum reassured me that I'll be alright after a bit - that it'll settle down. Once we got home, every little thing sounded more sensitive than usual. I opened the door and my ears felt irritated. I turned on the light switch and my ears felt irritated. I turned on the shower head and the sound of the water (and it hitting the ground) irritated my ears. I also felt this mild pain in my ears which would come and go (mostly at evening/night). To top it all off, the increased tinnitus in my ears (which I thought was due to impacted earwax) stayed at the same level. Great. Again, I told my parents and we decided to go back to the GP the next day, as my ears were tolerating significantly less noise than before and the pain was still coming and going.

      Basically, the GP had another look in my ears, found nothing abnormal and ended up saying that the sensitivity should go down/back to normal soon enough and if it didn't, come back after a couple of days. Funnily enough, she didn't really seem that confident in all of this, but, still... I went home. Three days later, we didn't go back because I remember the GP saying the most she would do is prescribe anti-inflammatory medicine (even though she established that my ears weren't inflamed or anything). The sensitivity is still the same and the tinnitus is still increased. I truly believe the syringing did this further damage. I also regret not letting this new GP not know about my tinnitus prior and that I felt like she was syringing too hard. I'm holding out for this hearing test and ENT appointment, but my hope is fluctuating the more I read up on tinnitus and hyperacusis...

      My main question is, is it possible that the audiologist's hearing test could worsen my condition/s? For example, increase loudness of tinnitus/make ears even more sensitive. If so... I might have to pass on it, I don't know. Not sure what the test involves, unfortunately, but I'm very afraid of anything and everything that has the possibility because I don't think I'll be able handle any more of this torture.
      • Hug Hug x 1
    2. MBH

      MBH Member

      Upstate NY
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Overloaded stress
      Sorry you are going thru this, but it is very real. It is also very mean and it varies. Read what the other posters have said on Tinnitus Talk and you can also find out what other people have tried and done.

      You have to move forward and not think of the what ifs or the past. Just work on how you are going to be happy again.
      • Hug Hug x 1
    3. annV

      annV Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown - possibly hereditary
      It can't make your conditions worse.
      • Agree Agree x 1
    4. ajc

      ajc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2002; spike 2009; worse 2017-18
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music - noise damage
      I don't think audiological tests can make tinnitus worse :)

      At least not a normal basic hearing test!

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