Does Anyone Experience Occasional Muffled Hearing with Tinnitus Spikes?

Discussion in 'Support' started by 12stepCornelius, Jul 2, 2020.

    1. 12stepCornelius

      12stepCornelius Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I have had tinnitus and what I assume is hyperacusis (ear pain/ear drums seem to convulse at certain sounds) for 5 years now, and while the first year was a rollercoaster of ups and downs, anxiety, fear, depression, ENTs, audiologists, etc., I've gotten to habituate and usually it doesn't bother me anymore. It likely occurred from noise exposure (played in bands/target shooting/hunting) but my hearing from the audiologists was found to be within the normal range. I rarely notice it most days. Except for when a spike occurs out of nowhere and my hearing in the affected ear seems to muffle and feel full. Also, sounds out of the affected ear seem much less clear. I close off the affected ear and tap my nails on a surface and it sounds like a "tap". I close the relatively good ear, where the tinnitus initially originated from, and leave the affected ear open and the sound is a "thud". So there's a definite loss of clarity. This has also caused a new sense of sound sensitivity where noises like a faucet running or certain fans blowing can exacerbate the tinnitus. It can get pretty scary as it is disorientating.

      But often the sensation subsides after a number of hours, sometimes even minutes, or with sleep and then the ringing returns to my baseline volume, along with the ear fullness dissipating and all seems well enough again. Well, today I'm sitting here in the early evening having had a spike in the middle of the previous night that awoke me from my sleep, which I didn't let bother me too much and promptly fell back asleep. However upon waking, there's the damn "full ear" sensation and sound sensitivity again. But now, it's been over 8 hours and there's been no change.

      I'm having to sit in a quiet room away from family and noise, because noise has become largely uncomfortable and causes my hearing to dampen and the tinnitus to spike in response. It's worrisome how long it's lasting. I'm really hoping it clears up on it's own at some point before my bedtime, otherwise I'm praying for resolution come the next morning, which sometimes occurs if this sort of thing happens at night. In the meantime, I'm trying not to stress too much as I've had plenty of that with COVID-19, financial concerns, and a freshly pulled back muscle from weightlifting. So I'm waiting it out for the night and just taking a walk on the treadmill, having a glass of whiskey to calm the nerves and forget about the seemingly damaged ear.

      Has anyone else experienced the muffling sensation and noise sensitivity with a spike? I'm worrying that something more serious may now be going on, like a permanent reduction in hearing.
       
    2. Elinor
      No Mood

      Elinor Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2006
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure and barotrauma
      Yes, I get the exact same type of spikes. They started occasionally, but are now happening daily. Most of the time only lasting a few seconds to minutes and sometimes for hours. In the beginning it would really freak me out. It's still unpleasant, but I usually manage now.

      There's an article here that explains how this happens.
      https://zidbits.com/2013/02/what-causes-spontaneous-ringing-in-our-ears/

      I do however suspect a link between GERD and frequency of these attacks in my own case.
       
    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      12stepCornelius

      12stepCornelius Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thanks for the info. Today, I'm more or less back to normal. My T is still slightly elevated, though I can deal with that, as I've gotten pretty good at reacting neutrally to the ringing. It's just background noise to me as long as it remains at a certain frequency.

      That's sounds scary getting the spikes every day. Any idea why that might be happening? I get a random spike maybe once or twice every month or two, so it's usually never a huge deal. The muffling phenomenon rarely happens and hasn't in quite a while, so it was alarming to have my otherwise controlled T roar back with a vengeance.

      I don't have GERD, but do have some rather obvious TMJ issues that have been acting up like crazy lately what with all the stressors in the world right now. I also likely have a disfunction of my tensor tympani system which I have almost all the symptoms of a syndrome related to that reflex disorder. I suspect that may be the cause of my occasional muffled hearing issues.

      After 20 hours of dealing with the ear fullness and what felt like impending deafness, I decompressed with a few glasses of whiskey and by the second one, the fullness and muffling began to dissipate, so I imagine it has to be related to good old fashioned stress and muscle inflammation which I'm assuming the 90 proof rye took care of. The next morning, my head was a little worse for the wear, but at least the spike and hearing issues were all but gone.
       
    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      12stepCornelius

      12stepCornelius Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      So in this thread I posted almost a year ago to the day about a similar issue.

      I'd suffered a middle-of-the-night spike in tinnitus accompanied by a sense of fullness in the affected ear. Long story short, I slept through it, woke up, still there, and spent the entire day crippled with anxiety, fear, and uncertainty as my ear felt truly damaged, yet there was no inciting acoustic trauma to cause the spike and fullness. It just occurred on its own in my sleep. The only thing I ever use in a room with me as noise is a box fan six feet away that is set to its lowest speed and therefore lowest volume.

      So that incident cleared up by the end of the night when I decided on some much needed stress relief and therefore drank a few whiskies wherein the aural fullness seemed to melt away. So 'go whiskey', I guess.

      However, I'm in the same situation again, a year later. Only this time, I'm extra concerned as I was exposed to a loud noise last night. I'd been putting away dishes after dinner and was holding a plate with a knife on it over the sink. The knife fell off the plate and into the sink where it's handle contacted another plate just right, to where it made a loud, high-pitched impact, which I instantly felt in the now affected ear. The noise felt like it punched me right in the eardrum and there was a very faint, yet sharp pain with it, along with a quick ringing reverberation from the sound. People across the room from me also commented that it was loud, so I don't believe it was just me, though I imagine with my condition it was extra loud.

      So I was a bit worried afterward as it was a pretty visceral reaction from my ear to the noise and I'd noticed I was feeling some very slight, almost imperceivable pricks of the pain within my ear, but nothing major. The main concern soon after the noise incident was that while watching TV, I noticed that my affected ear wasn't much wanting to full register some sound frequencies within the music on the TV. Like my other ear was fine, but some frequencies were seeming to quickly drop out in my affected ear. But it only happened a few times, and I just tried to ignore it thinking that a simple eating utensil falling into a sink shouldn't damage my hearing.

      I was then pretty much fine going to sleep until I woke at 3am with a good T spike going and feeling as though a cotton ball was lodged in my ear. Thinking about how I'd experienced the acoustic trauma the night before, I started panicking and never got to sleep until hours later where I awoke to still have the increased tinnitus and aural fullness, slightly better, but still there, and once I got up and began exposing myself to usual everyday sounds, the fullness and tinnitus increases in reaction. Any 'Shh' kind of sound exacerbates the full sensation in my ear, along with running water, and fans. And doing something like tapping on a desk with a pen, I can feel my ear physically reacting to such a minor sound, like feeling the sound physically hitting my ear drum.

      Sorry for the essay, I'm just trying to get everything out as I continue to panic a bit, and fight back the suicidal thoughts. For now, I'm going to give it a day and try and avoid my noisy household as much as possible, wearing an earplug in the ear when necessary. Maybe try some whiskey again tonight!

      TL;DR - Dropped a knife on a plate. Woke up with bad T spike and 'cotton ball ear'. Ear now highly sensitive to percussive sounds and certain frequencies. Textbook harmless tinnitus spike caused by noise or should I be worried?
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    5. Tweedleman
      Depressed

      Tweedleman Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      2001
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown/Noise
      Sounds like it could be muscular related. I would be surprised if the plate dropping actually did enough cochlear damage to be solely responsible for this.

      Try massaging the whole area around the effected ear, and press inwards (slowly but firmly) with your fingers to try and sense if there's any knotted muscles, or anything that feels out of the ordinary compared to your good side. If you strike pain/inflamation, it's probably indeed muscular related.

      I had muscular inflamation persist for over a year until I clued in to it and started exercises and massage routines to iron it out. The stuffy cotton ear feeling is completely gone for me now. My masseter muscle was a big culprit, it was all tensed up and actually bulging outwards a little.

      This should give you an idea of how interconnected your head and facial muscles actually are:

      tmp57137_thumb2_thumb.jpg

      I'm no expert, but I believe they all have a role in dampening loud noise, sometimes going into overdrive. Obviously, the tensor tympani in particular. And for whatever reason, inflamation of these muscles seems to affect the auditory system (canal/middle ear/cochlea) in some people.

      It's possible the alcohol is having an anti anxiolytic effect on your nervous system and the effected muscles, responsible for the relief.

      Hope this helps you, good luck!
       
      • Friendly Friendly x 1
    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      12stepCornelius

      12stepCornelius Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thanks. I do have TMJ pretty badly and have not been able to go in to get started on treatments for it as my current insurance sucks. I get bad headaches regularly each month related to my popping jaw and muscle issues. The ear that's giving me trouble now is always the one to spike like this. The ear where my tinnitus initially started usually stays rather stable over the past 6 years I've been living with this. It's also the side where most of my TMJ woes originate from. The only thing I know about my spiky ear is that its been clicking a lot over the past week. Mostly when doing a vigorous walk, going up/down stairs, anything that causes my cranium to shake around a bit.

      I would guess the whole knife and plate noise incident to be the cause of this spike, maybe some type of aggravation of something in that ear, but its just odd that the spike started many hours later after the noise, though I suppose that wouldn't be impossible to occur.

      Now that the day has drawn on, I've been noticing some improvement here and there with the stuffy ear feeling, though the tinnitus is still spiked, though nothing that I can't handle. The blocked ear sensation is what really worries me. I'm hoping that it continues to improve or that I make a 100% recovery after a good night's rest.
       
      • Hug Hug x 2
    7. Exit

      Exit Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      Hey fellow sufferer!

      I wasn't in shape to read the whole thread, but to answer your question in the thread title: yes.

      It’s very worrying for me too. A bunch of others here that I’ve seen experience the same.

      For me the worry wasn’t worth the time. I find that having a thick hood on my head and / or getting sound in from just one side of my head will trigger the muffling along with a spike in tinnitus.

      I have not seen worsening in the weeks where I’ve had these awful going deaf experiences.

      Best regards.
       
      • Friendly Friendly x 1
    8. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      12stepCornelius

      12stepCornelius Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      UPDATE:

      I just wanted to share that it's day 2 of my big spike and I'm getting back to normal. The tinnitus is still a bit reactive, but nothing crazy and seems to be continuing to calm down and the muffled, and the full feeling in my ear seems to be gone for good.

      The whole ear still feels somewhat sensitive, its hard to explain, so I'm going to try to remain in a quiet environment for the next couple of days to let things fully settle. I have family coming in over the weekend who I haven't seen in over a year due to COVID-19 so I'm just glad that it looks like I'll have my sanity and peace of mind back in time for that.
       
Loading...

Share This Page