Fluctuating Tinnitus — Possible Infection? Ciprodex Ear Drops Causing a Worsening?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by TinnOfTuna, Mar 22, 2021.

    1. TinnOfTuna

      TinnOfTuna Member

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hi there, first post from me, unfortunately. I had stumbled across Tinnitus Talk a few months back before I was affected by any of this.

      March 17, I was driving home after a normal day at work, no recent exposure to loud noise that I know of... and my right ear suddenly started ringing loudly, sounded like an old CRT TV changing channels, up and down quickly. This continued for about 36 hours, then silence.

      I had already made a Dr. appointment by then, so I went, hoping this was redundant. The doctor took a look in my ear and said, compared to my left ear (normal), my right ear was red and swollen, in her opinion, an infection: Acute otitis media. She prescribed me Ciprodex ear drops to take, which I did that day.

      The next day (March 19) I woke up and the ringing was back, just in the one ear. It woke me up after about 2 hours of sleep and I couldn't get back to sleep. It continued off and on throughout the day. I bought and began using a white noise machine.

      I continued using the Ciprodex ear drops as prescribed. Unfortunately the ringing would worsen in volume and would stick around near constantly from this point on. It got to the point where I would wake up after only one hour of sleep per night.

      And that's where I'm at today. I haven't slept in about 48 hours almost and feel like I'm going insane. It seems to get MUCH worse at night and while lying down. I have tried Melatonin and Diphenhydramine, no luck. I attended Urgent Care today and the doctor very quickly (too quickly) diagnosed me with early mastoiditis, after looking for about 2 minutes. He prescribed me, in his words, a "shotgun regimen" of antibiotics: AmoxClav (pretty sure same thing as Augmentin) 875 mg twice daily, also gave me Tylenol 3s and Zopiclone for sleeping.

      During my insomniac hours, I feverishly cruised these forums and other stuff online and have found that Augmentin has a bit of a bad reputation for causing permanent hearing loss and/or worsening tinnitus. So I haven't taken it yet as I don't trust it. I have continued to take the Ciprodex ear drops for now. My plan is to see my GP as soon as possible and perhaps request an Rx of regular Amoxicillin instead of the AmoxClav as it's less ototoxic.

      My background: diagnosis of ulcerative colitis in 2012, got put on Remicade around then, remission in 2013, still on Infliximab (got switched to Inflectra due to $) and still in remission.

      I'm wondering if any of you guys might have any advice for me as a general newbie. Any chance that whenever this infection (whatever it is) clears I might be lucky enough to hear silence again? Should I take the AmoxClav or Amoxicillin or neither? The sounds are constantly fluctuating second by second which makes it real hard to habituate to so I hope I can get some relief one way or another. I hope all of you can find relief somehow too. I know it can always be worse, but this is pretty terrible.

      Thank you and take care.
       
    2. VeryUnfortunate
      Stressed

      VeryUnfortunate Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Since you are still within the first week of tinnitus, it might be worth it to ask your doctor for a course of Prednisone steroids since it is one of the only effective treatment early on. You will need to take 60 mg for around 5 days along with a taper pack. I would do this ASAP because it is very time sensitive. It is important to note these steroids can have some side effects but I would say it is worth it. I would also try to see an ENT if possible because your doctor seems kind of clueless. I am also curious how you came across this website without having tinnitus if you don't mind.
       
    3. Brittany95
      Relaxed

      Brittany95 Member

      Location:
      Arizona
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Middle Ear Infection
      Hey there!

      As someone who is four months into tinnitus brought on by an ear infection, I understand what you're going through. The lack of sleep is one of the worst things about this, but things should get easier for you (easier said than done, I know). I would recommend sleeping as upright as you can, and if you are a side sleeper, do not sleep on your right side. Let your bad ear be free to hear the white noise machine and not be pressed against the pillow.

      You didn't mention if yours is reactive/hyperacusis or not, but I would try and avoid loud music/sounds in general for the time being. Don't try and drown out the noise and give your ears a break. I reduced listening to music in my car by about 50%, and that's been good at reducing the reactivity. Also, no listening to music with headphones/earbuds.

      My situation was a bit different than yours. I was prescribed amoxicillin at first, and felt like it did truly help lower the volume. However, after a few more weeks of ringing in my right ear I went to the ENT and he said "it should fade" and that was it. Then it started in my left ear two months later, and I went to the doctor and got AmoxClav, and was also told to try a saline spray and stay hydrated as it might be caused by allergies. It was a double ear infection at this point, so I think the original dose of amoxicillin didn't clear it all out.

      As I've been told on this site, ear infection-induced tinnitus may take months to clear up. I will say that I think the higher dose, the AmoxClav, helped the most at reducing the noise. I still have it, but it's definitely quieter now than it was. I do not regret taking it, and honestly wish I had been given the higher dosage to begin with. It may have spared me months of this torture had the infection been taken care of sooner.

      Of course, this is my particular case and things might be different with your ear. Just try and stay calm (again, easier said than done!), stay hydrated, lower the volume around you, and focus on the good.

      Brittany
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      TinnOfTuna

      TinnOfTuna Member

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thank you for the reply, I appreciate it. I saw my GP today and she still doesn't really know what the infection is... I didn't ask for Prednisone as I think that time is probably past and this is infection related. I did ask for Amoxicillin which I was given. I still have the AmoxClav but think I'll be keeping it on a shelf for now.
       
    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      TinnOfTuna

      TinnOfTuna Member

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hi Brittany, thank you so much for your reply. It really gives me comfort to hear from someone like yourself who seems to be in a pretty similar situation. Those are good suggestions with the white noise machine, etc. I am a first responder so can't reduce all noise (alarms, sirens, firearms, yelling people, radios, etc) but I guess I will just have to carry around some foam earplugs and use them if I got time to put them on and if it would be safe to do so.

      In terms of the AmoxClav, I am very happy it worked for you. It seems like even the less powerful Amoxicillin worked for you. I just got Amoxicillin today so have both at my disposal, out of concern for the stories posted here I will probably just try the Amoxicillin for now and see if that helps (hopefully doesn't mess with ulcerative colitis too much).

      You're right about the lack of sleep definitely being the worst thing. The Zopiclone did really seem to help last night so I'll stick with that for now. My gut tells me that this won't "go away" and I think it will probably gradually fade and I'll become habituated, like you seem to be doing.

      Again, truly, thank you for the reply. It makes me feel better to know there are caring people out there for support. My anxiety about this is easing day by day. Wish it would go back to silence, but we don't choose the hands we're dealt in this life I guess. I would like to message you again in a few months and see how you're doing if you're ok with that.

      Take care! And good luck.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    6. Brittany95
      Relaxed

      Brittany95 Member

      Location:
      Arizona
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Middle Ear Infection
      @TinnOfTuna, that's unfortunate that you are in such a noisy environment, but thank you for being a first responder! If you can wear just an earplug in the bad ear, that should help, but I understand you need to actually hear the alarms and radios.

      And that's kinda true about the lower dose of Amoxicillin. I took it mid-December and saw my regular doctor and an ENT at the end of December. Both said they saw no sign of infection, so I guess it did work. But the infection came back and got my left ear, which I have no idea how (other than perhaps using a q-tip? Don't ever use those!!). I've never had ear infections before so I don't know why it started all of a sudden.

      And you're right about not choosing the hand we are dealt with. At the beginning I kept thinking "why me?" and was just incredibly depressed about this (I'm still sad, but not constantly close to crying like before). Day by day it will get better and the annoyance of it will taper off. Someone here described it almost like a state of mourning, because we've lost something (silence), so it takes time to adjust. I would only recommend that, should you finish out the antibiotics and the ringing remains after a few weeks, do NOT just try and wait it out like I did. I would schedule follow ups with your doctor to make sure the ear infection stays gone. If it hadn't started in my left ear earlier this month, I wouldn't have gone to the doctor to discover that the infection was there in my right again. I have no idea how long it was there, and if I may have caused permanent damage by not having it treated sooner. Did you have any other symptoms of a middle ear infection other than the ringing? Because I didn't and that's why I never thought the infection was back, because the ringing was all I had to go on.

      And sure thing, message away whenever you would like! Good luck to you too! :)
       
    7. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      TinnOfTuna

      TinnOfTuna Member

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Oh man, I think we are in the same boat here... I used q-tips quite often too. Oops, lol. And just like you, I had no indication of anything except the ringing. I will definitely take your advice and make sure to follow up with my GP.

      That's very wise about the mourning silence, it's an accurate description of the feeling. It does feel like the five stages of grief. Thank you for writing this stuff. :)
       
    8. Brittany95
      Relaxed

      Brittany95 Member

      Location:
      Arizona
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Middle Ear Infection
      @TinnOfTuna, yeah, we may have both learned the hard way why the box says don't stick in your ear, lol! I know I won't be using them ever again. And good to hear. I hope whatever course you go with gets rid of the infection on the first go-around.

      Yeah, it really stuck with me when I read it. And not a problem bud! I hope things turn around for you quick! :)
       
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