First Time Poster, Long Time Reader: Need Help with Spikes!

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by kokoro, Aug 27, 2014.

    1. kokoro

      kokoro Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Hi there, everyone.

      I've actually been reading from this (very helpful) forum since March. I tried to resist making an account (for fear of focussing too much on my own tinnitus) but have reached a point tonight where I really feel the need to reach out for some answers/support. I realise my post will be very long so I understand if you can't be bothered reading it... just putting my feelings out there will be therapeutic I'm sure!

      Firstly, I'm a 22 year old guy, and I can't pinpoint exactly what has given me tinnitus. In February this year, I went swimming in the surf down by the beach with friends, and when we left I had the sensation of water in my left ear (and the ringing I would come to know as tinnitus). I figured it was very likely water in my ear, and tried in vain for the next couple of days to shake the water out - but the blocked feeling remained. After a week of this phantom sound and feeling clogged, I went to my GP who said he couldn't see anything in my ear and there didn't seem to be any water in there. He said I *probably* have tinnitus and that it'd probably fade away in time.

      For the next month, I got on with my life and this slight hum in my left ear. I wasn't hugely concerned about it and had reached a point where it was mostly just a side consideration ("oh that's still there" sorta thing.) But one night at a party at the end of March, there was the most INSANELY loud music - and after that night, the ringing in my left ear shot through the ROOF and was no longer ignorable. I spent the next four days after the party in a state of absolute emotional meltdown. I couldn't eat or sleep for any of these four days. It took all my strength to get myself to my psychologist's office crying and breaking down. I have always struggled with anxiety but I had never been in such a drastic, terrible way as that point. He recommended me to a voluntary health clinic in my area (they have everything from rehab, to mental health, to physical recuperation) - where I could be treated for my anxiety while I get my sleep and eating back on track. I admitted myself later that day and was given Valium to deal with my anxiety attacks.

      I ended up staying at the health clinic (my choice) for three weeks - during in which I was seeing an audiologist and an ENT to try to uncover what to do about my ear. I had an MRI and no physical concerns were found in my ear/head - but two respective hearing tests both revealed hearing loss in the higher frequencies on my left ear. I took a round of steroids for ten days which the ENT thought could reverse some of the hearing loss, but there was no change. After scouring through every pamphlet that my GP, ENT and audiologist could give me - and reading thread after thread on this website - I was starting to better understand the reality that I could be permanently stuck with tinnitus.

      The clinic itself had a resident psychiatrist who dealt personally with me. He was overall uninterested about my tinnitus - focussing solely on my emotional health. He started me on Paxil (anti-depressant) in the long-term to deal with sleep and anxiety problems, while also prescribing Valium as required in the advent of anxiety attacks. I took Temazepam to sleep. I read up about these drugs and their effects, and I knew that Paxil was making me worse than better - I had a dark reaction to that drug, and when I tried to explain this to the psychiatrist, he tried convincing me that I therefore needed to take MORE. I stopped taking the Paxil and the temazepam after three weeks, and I am glad that I did. I immediately had withdrawal (don't know which drug caused this) for about 5 days, sweats and all, and then it seemed to relax. When I came home, I began the uphill journey of tackling my tinnitus and my routine alone. I was given a sole prescription of Valium to take as needed - for sleep or anxiety - and that's been my battle for the past four months.

      I have been out of action for a long time, taking each day as it comes. I am constantly trying to avoid any possible aggravating factors like caffeine or loud events, and find myself monitoring the sound levels of wherever I am to protect my ear. Over the past few months, I have slowly reached a point where my tinnitus (though always present) is not always commanding my attention - and if it does, I don't freak out like before. I have had little ups and downs of sound level with my tinnitus since that point, but mostly it's been phases of slight spikes before returning to a more manageable level (maybe a 2 or a 3 out of 10). I have tried to be sparing with Valium, taking only when needed to sleep (in the very early weeks) or when I was having an anxiety attack about the tinnitus. I am afraid of becoming addicted to this medication, so I am trying to resist the urge nowadays to take it.

      Last weekend, I worked at my Dad's dog shop. I knew it'd be noisy so I came prepared. However, even with both ear plugs and ear muffs on, the noise of the industrial blowdriers has set my tinnitus back into a big spike - the biggest step back since the clinic - and I have spent the last week at home depressed about it. Unlike the first big spike, I am not totally freaking out - which is a drastic improvement for me. I haven't even taken Valium for the past week which is again, a good step for me. But nonetheless I am very down about this regression, and I feel like I need to start diving back into the research about tinnitus to try and calm this incessant ringing in my ear... if not eliminating it, then at least habituating it back down to a manageable level.

      I want to be smarter about my habituation. I've been reading up about all the medicines and vitamins and extracts and treatments that people say can potentially help, but I'm overwhelmed at the sheer volume of (incomplete) information out there about tinnitus relief. There are so many things that could potentially be aggravating my tinnitus - or have caused my tinnitus - that I don't know where to start. To this day I don't know what caused my tinnitus or the hearing loss specifically. It could be an inner ear infection from the sea water... neck trauma from being knocked around in the surf... acoustic trauma from the loud party... jaw or neck related issues (TMJ)... aggravated affects from any of the medicines I took while in the clinic... or any mix of the above. How can I even begin to make an action plan when I am dealing with such an indistinguishable symptom?

      So, here are my questions:

      * what brings on a spike for you?
      * what do you do to deal with or relieve a spike? (medicine/nutrition etc.?)
      * how do you keep yourself from freaking out when having a spike? (emotionally)
      * what foods do you avoid/recommend for tinnitus?
      * what are the REAL treatment options?
      * is there any credibility to stuff like hyperbaric oxygen, gingko biloba, TMJ treatment, hearing maskers etc.?
      * of those treatment options, where should I even start?
      * how long did/does it take you to properly habituate? do you ever have spikes?

      I understand that chasing treatments is never going to promote habituation - but I also feel like I can't just sit back and accept that "this is something I have to deal with" when, ultimately, I don't know with certainty that I DO have to deal with it. Maybe some of these options could help me? I feel like I can't habituate until I know that it's really something I *can't* relieve somehow. I'm very depressed right now and just need some answers/support from people that have experience or knowledge where I don't. I feel so pathetic bringing this stuff up all the time with my family and friends - who sympathise, but don't understand the sheer intrusiveness and suffering of it all.

      Hopefully one day we all reach habituation - or a CURE!

      Thanks guys.

      (if you don't want to read the whole post, my main questions are in italic dot points above)
    2. Jay M

      Jay M Member

      South Carolina, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1. Varies. Mostly happens unexpectedly.
      2. Nothing. Wait it out by ignoring.
      3. Realized its a powerless noise.
      4. For me mainly reduced salt intake at each meal. >800mg sodium.
      5. Time, nutrition and rest. Read up on retigabine thread here on TT.
      6. This is a personal journey so one thing works for one but not another.
      7. Diet. Blood work and get tested for allergies too.
      8. Still getting used to it. Yes. Short ones.
    3. Teri

      Teri Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      *what brings on a spike for you?
      Exertion, Speaker system, Loud noise, Noisy restaurants, Meneires attack
      * what do you do to deal with or relieve a spike? (medicine/nutrition etc.?)
      * how do you keep yourself from freaking out when having a spike? (emotionally)
      Doctor prescribed Xanix
      * what foods do you avoid/recommend for tinnitus?
      No coffee, No Alchohol, Less Salt,
      * what are the REAL treatment options?
      I have been working with a therapist with CBT
      * is there any credibility to stuff like hyperbaric oxygen, gingko biloba, TMJ treatment, hearing maskers etc.?
      Used hearing aid with masker (left ear...bad ear)m but turned them back in after trial hearing is up and
      down ..... the masker in the hearing aid was nice....but VERY expensive solution.

      * of those treatment options, where should I even start?
      Use I-pod with masking noise of your choice.
      * how long did/does it take you to properly habituate? do you ever have spikes?
      I have been doing fairy well with low, baseline T now for about a month...but my understanding
      with Meneires, I could have another attack and be back to square one.

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