Do Menthol Cough Drops Cause Tinnitus?

Discussion in 'Support' started by MisterMystery, Apr 1, 2015.

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    1. MisterMystery

      MisterMystery Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      I was sitting funny on Friday and aggravated my left-ear T for a day or two. I was leaning back in my recliner, but I was using my laptop, so my neck was slightly forward. My T went back to its normal level on Saturday. I then developed an infection or at least soreness at the "intersection" of my left ear and throat on Sunday.

      I've been sucking on Halls menthol cough drops since this morning. I probably took 15-20 of them between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. My left ear started ringing like crazy at 10:00 a.m., louder than ever before. I was again sitting funny in my recliner when I noticed this.

      Is the likely culprit of today's recent T spike the cough drops, my funny neck position, the possible ear infection, or just my anxiety? Is this huge increase in the T volume possibly permanent, regardless of the cause?
    2. Kaelon

      Kaelon Member Benefactor Team Tech Team Awareness Team Research

      Boston, Mass.
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Muscle Spasms
      No. Menthol drops do not inherently cause Tinnitus. In fact, for some people with blocked Eustachian tubes or with erosion caused by GERD/LPR, menthol drops are actually recommended as a way to alleviate that pressure and may actually help alleviate tinnitus if caused or aggravated by GERD/LPR.

      That said, you've taken a large number of cough drops and the sucking action is one of those behaviors for neck and jaw muscles that can lead to strain, neuromuscular inflammation, and an amplification of Tinnitus. Tinnitus of the neuromuscular inflammatory kind is generally caused or aggravated by chronic behaviors over many months - that also means that once Tinnitus has set in, it becomes very sensitive to change and minor adjustments can cause it to appear worse for no apparent reason. Hyperacusis, also, can set in pretty easily in situations like these.

      Neuromuscular inflammatory tinnitus is chronic, which means that it will routinely wax and wane with time and it may take long time for you to discover what your particular etiological triggers are. Physical therapy and behavioral modification therapy are the best approaches to take, but unfortunately, it's going to be a lot of trial and error, given just how unique everyone's inflammatory-based Tinnitus can be.

      To answer your other questions:

      • No, this doesn't sound permanent. Tinnitus spikes for neuromuscular inflammatory causes are rarely permanent, and almost always temporary that resolve in a couple of days.

      • Yes, because you discovered amplification of your Tinnitus while "sitting funny" in your chair, this poor posture was probably directly related to the neuromuscular strain being applied to your head, neck, shoulders, and jaw muscles -- all of which are connected.
      It may be easier said than done, but your best bet may be some disciplined exercise and well-measured rest over the next few days.

      Please let me know how it goes, and whether improved posture, better sleep, and decent exercise help alleviate your Tinnitus.
    3. MisterMystery

      MisterMystery Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Wow, thanks.

      By the way, I have a TMJ problem, and I was diagnosed with GERD two years ago, though until the last couple months, I was basically asymptomatic. I had the worst gas ever yesterday and this morning, so maybe GERD plays a role.

      Exercise most definitely seemed to help last time I had a big T spike, though that might've been a coincidence. I work out 1.5 to 2 hours per day, four days a week, so the progress I made could've been another coincidence.

      Thanks again.

    4. Sound Wave

      Sound Wave Member Benefactor Team Tech

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably headphones
      No they don't

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