Ear Fullness — Is It Psychosomatic?

Discussion in 'Support' started by KJ718, Jul 1, 2022.

    1. KJ718

      KJ718 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2002
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Diving accident
      So, like many of us, I tend to get this fullness in one ear whenever exposed to startlingly loud sounds. It's usually the ear closest to the sound. Left ear tends to develop tinnitus along with it or I become more aware of it.

      Common triggers are a slamming doors, dishes breaking and now, around the holiday, fireworks. A week ago, neighbors 4 houses down set off huge firecrackers. About 40 m/120 ft away while I was standing outside. Sure enough, ear has been feeling full since. At that distance, a 150 dB firecracker should be about 128 dB, tops, - not enough for instant damage, but tell that to my ear.

      The thing is, this has happened in the past and it usually doesn't go away until I see an ENT. Then it miraculously goes away even though the doctor doesn't do much of anything, but reassures me that my hearing and ear are fine. I'm starting to think my ears tense up when startled by a loud sound, and anxiety keeps them that way, until I know everything is ok and my hearing is fine.

      Any ideas how to calm the ears down? Not to think about it doesn't really work. I try that, but then whenever I stop noticing the fullness I'm like wait, is it gone, and then it's right back.
       
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    2. Brian Newman

      Brian Newman Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shooting/loud noise
      It could be your middle ear muscles, tensor tympani, or stapedius. If they get damaged, they can cause middle ear inflammation, and fullness, and pain for some. Some people have found that anxiety can make it worse or trigger the response sometimes. My ears are royally broken and I have just about every ear condition you can think of. Sometimes if I anticipate a loud noise and I don’t have earplugs in, my ears will flutter or I will feel pulling.

      Try lots of Magnesium, that helps some people. I would recommend, if you’re getting it from loud noise, to throw on some earmuffs or cover your ears if you’re going to be around fireworks, they can still cause lots of damage even if they’re higher up. Yes not as bad as right next to you. Better than damaging your ears.

      Try to work on anxiety if you have it, and do your best to set it off as little as possible so it can heal.
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
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    3. Aleph

      Aleph Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Yes, I think it is psychosomatic. But it also has to do with the particularities of the tensor tympani. When they are tensed up, they don’t relax immediately. It is like they are swollen or “erected”. That is at least the impression we have.

      So, when you stop noticing the fullness, you keep checking and thinking in a certain way about it. So your mind is still absorbed by the problem. The experience when you go to the ENT doctor says a lot, and it is not miraculous, it is just the way this issue works.
       
    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      KJ718

      KJ718 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2002
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Diving accident
      Thanks for sharing. I think you've hit the nail on the head. Merely checking whether the feeling is still there brings it back. It's a never-ending cycle. And stressing over it makes it worse.
       
    5. Aleph

      Aleph Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Oh... so it is the same for you. But you were about to find out by yourself. I realized there was a psychosomatic component since the beginning, in 2015. But then I learnt about hyperacusis and got scared. Then I began to hear a soft tinnitus and I got depressed. Only after a year I realized how this works.

      And my ears are not 100% well. Most of the time, they are normal. But if there are harsh and loud sounds somewhere, I could have “spasms” in the left ear. In a situation like that, I could use an earplug to reduce the high frequencies. Actually, I was sensible to those sounds before my acoustic shock.
       
    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      KJ718

      KJ718 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2002
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Diving accident
      Yes. I have the same experience as you. Some sounds are now unbearably loud to me. Putting dishes in the sink, people pushing metal chairs at a restaurant, even some beeps and sounds on TV shows can sound incredibly loud. And if something really startles me, then I get that spasm, fullness, and tinnitus.

      Hopefully it will go away eventually. The last true acoustic shock was someone kissing me on my left ear, accidentally, back in March. Since then, both ears have been acting up even though hearing tests are normal.

      I hope you feel better too!
       
    7. Aleph

      Aleph Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @KJ718, I am OK now. It is not an issue for me, I never think about it. Except in certain situations, but I don’t suffer because I know how to deal with it. For example, if I go to a demonstration on the street, with tens of car horns, and a lot of people shouting and hitting kitchen pans, at some point I might be more comfortable with earplugs.

      I suffered only the first year, 2015. And not because it took one year to recover, but because the information I got was not enough to solve the issue. Doctors were useless and they gave me toxic and useless drugs. There was some information on the Internet that helped, like Myriam Westcott about acoustic shocks, some of the advice against overprotection... But then I realized that “hyperacusis” was nothing or just a consequence, the problem was this mysterious TTTS.

      How are your spasms? Mine seem like a rapid movement of the Tensor tympani, with a swooshing sound. I think the movement might be similar than when we yawn, but this one is much more rapid. This could happen for example after being a while in a situation like the aforementioned demonstration, with a lot of harsh sounds.

      Yes, you will be OK eventually. I can’t give you any advice apart from what I wrote on the page, unless you ask me a specific question.

      An acoustic shock from a kiss? An “accidental” kiss? Wow, that must have been a very strong kiss.
       
    8. ShaunR

      ShaunR Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      June 2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Concert + Motorbike
      I'm almost 100% sure it's psychosomatic and involving the middle ear muscles which in turn irritate the trigeminal Nerve.

      Like you, if I hear a door slam etc, or anything I perceive as dangerously loud (even though it isn't), the ear closest to the sound becomes full and my face and jaw become tight.

      I've been like this for 20 years now and each time it happens I'm convinced I've damaged my hearing. However, over a week or maybe a month I stop thinking about it and return to normal. I just realise one day the weirdness has gone lol.

      I'm actually suffering with it now after a school bell going off. In fact I came back to Tinnitus Talk to find some answers like I do every time. It's comforting to hear I'm not alone, but saddening other people suffer with this too.

      Cheers,
      Shaun.
       
    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      KJ718

      KJ718 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2002
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Diving accident
      That’s exactly my experience! But it’s comforting to hear others are dealing with the same issue and that it’s really nothing to worry about. I’ve finally gotten over the fireworks and ears seemed fine. Now someone popped a soda can next to me and we’re back to square one. Hopefully I’ll forget about it soon and you do too!

      @Aleph - it was just a smack on my cheek that accidentally landed straight on my ear canal. It’s hard to describe the spasms. I hear this slowly pulsating tinnitus that comes and goes and fades in and out. It sounds a bit like the high pitch whine some phone chargers or power bricks give off. And the ear feels staticky.
       
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