Hearing Distortion in One Ear

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Shoegaze, Mar 27, 2015.

tinnitus forum
    1. Shoegaze
      Grumpy

      Shoegaze Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      None?
      Hello all. First, I am pleased to see this forum exists! By sharing information, I am hoping we can all learn more about hearing problems and find solutions or at least continue the search for remedies/coping methods. About a week ago, I started experiencing high frequency distortion in my right ear only. It is triggered by certain high pitches or certain decibel levels. My own voice can do it too! I've also had very brief ringing in that ear that passes very quickly but doesn't seem to be caused by anything other than maybe stress over this! This was a sudden thing or at least seemed to be. It hasn't improved or gotten any worse over the past week or so since it started. I visited the ENT today and my hearing test was normal for a man my age (40). They couldn't see or detect any other problems in my ear. They gave me a low dose steroid treatment to try (the doctor wasn't convinced it would do anything). I am also having an MRI in a few weeks to rule out tumor/cyst (doctor also convinced he won't find anything). The only thing he did mention was that (pardon my lack of medical expertise) the inside of my cochlea where it detects higher frequencies is damaged or simply cannot process higher frequencies anymore? I was in a rock band for about 10 years and stood next to the cymbals for a lot of that time. I usually wore earplugs though. I was fairly careful about it. This distortion was not brought on by any recent traumatic event. I rarely ever subject my ears to anything damaging anymore. The doctor is convinced my problem is from years of abuse to my ears but it is strange to me that after about 5 or more years out of that environment, this suddenly manifests itself. I still have all my wisdom teeth but ENT was sure that couldn't be doing anything. I do have a problem with grinding my teeth. My left ear seems to be working perfectly fine too. I DO NOT experience vertigo/headaches/tinnitus (very mild if I do also I may have become strangely adept at tuning that part of the equation out?)/nausea/strange fluids in the ear or fullness of the ears. I cannot listen to music very loudly anymore and if I go into a crowded restaurant with tile walls and metal fixtures or any room WITHOUT a lot of sound deadening, it can become very hard to hear. What's funny is that I hardly notice it when I am in a carpeted room with low drop ceilings but put me next to a glass window in a room with tile floors or a small bathroom and it's just awful. I do not experience any pain - just the annoyance that nothing sounds good and the grating effect it has on my psyche. It's like the world's most highly pitched tambourine or dog whistle is playing in my ear whenever I hear certain frequencies at a certain volume. I don't feel like I really fit the profile for recruitment or hyperacusis (I could be wrong!). Any current thoughts on this issue would be greatly appreciated and let's stick together and help each other for all types of disorders!
       
      • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
    2. PaulBe

      PaulBe Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Cairns
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably sound, though never proven
      Your Post could have been written by me. They say damage from noise exposure (particularly with musicians) is cumulative, and not always situational. Basically, hair cells just slowly succumb, and symptoms start when your tipping point gets reached. Think of it as the rate of progressive cellular injury finally surpassing the rate of natural healing. Its kind of like an accelerated aging process inside your ears, but without time for adjustment.
       
    3. Shoegaze
      Grumpy

      Shoegaze Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      None?
      Thanks for the response. You have probably given me the best explanation for this problem I've heard yet! I had my MRI (I've heard techno bands that were less entertaining than that thing) and there was nothing to be seen (good news for everything else up there) but I was actually hoping for a smoking gun for the hearing problem. My ENT has no course of action for me. I'm seeing him in a month for a check-up. He's the one who suggested recruitment was the problem. I wonder if I am past the point of healing? Will it get worse? Will it get better? Will it come and go? Should I wear earplugs around anything that's louder than my own speaking voice to prevent any further damage? Does it really matter at this point since the damage has been done to that part of my hearing? Really wish I could pay the fine and just go home. I've yet to see any real success stories out there or any sensible course of action. I am willing to try anything. The body is an amazing self-correcting machine but in my heart of hearts I fear this is unsolvable. I liken it to losing a finger. Those don't grow back. I can cope with it but it sure is annoying and if you let it, it can really bring you down. But it's important to have perspective. The more we all talk and research and support each other, the better we will all feel and maybe more solutions to these hearing problems can be discovered! It's nice to know you are not alone. It does get tiresome trying to explain this to family members who just don't get it. Research, support, coping methods. Let's do this! The squeaky wheel gets the grease...just can you move the wheel further away...it's kinda hurting my ear.
       
    4. Shoegaze
      Grumpy

      Shoegaze Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      None?
      Well, I'm back. I'm just dropping in to keep myself updated and to keep a running log of what's happening with my hearing distortion in case this might help anyone else out there with the same symptoms. I've started taking lipo-flavonoids as per my ENT's suggestions. It's basically a super vitamin supplement that is supposed to increase blood flow to the brain area and advertises relief for "ringing or buzzing in the ears." The course calls for 6 pills a day for 3 months. I'll try anything. The strange part of my last visit to the ENT is that I asked him if he had ever had anyone else with these symptoms. He said "No." He thought it was strange that I don't have hearing loss yet I am having hearing problems. He really didn't know what was going on. This is rather strange. Now, I don't live in a large populated area but the office I go to is the biggest in the area and has at least 10 ENT on staff. None of them know what this is?!?! None of them have any advice?!?! How can this be?!! Also, I am a HUGE fan of music. I am a musician. I have read, followed, and obsessed over music and bands my entire life. I have never encountered a story where any famous musicians have brought this up as an occupational hazard. None of my friends have ever heard of this. My dentist had no idea what I was talking about. How is this possible?!?! The only place I have seen this problem described is on this page and other similar ones. But that's just a handful of folks who seem to be suffering from the same affliction. Is this really a rare condition? If it's caused by damage from loud music, then why don't the COUNTLESS band I've loved and listened to over the years complain of this particular condition? Yes, plenty of them complain of hearing loss and tinnitus but not the strange distortion I suffer from. Are many people suffering from this and it just goes unnoticed? I will admit that as music fan and musician I am very attuned to the condition of my ears but what about people who just think that what they are hearing is just what happens when it gets too loud?

      Here are things I've experienced after about 2 months of this: It seems worse in the morning. It may have in fact be lessening but I may just be getting used to it or tuning it out as anyone might do to just get on with their lives. Drinking lots of water seems to help? I've been taking Clariton too. I think it might be helping? Could be the placebo effect. I have had some ear fullness off and on but it doesn't last very long and I can go days or even weeks without it happening. I just keep thinking that if the cells are still there, why don't they get off their lazy butts and get back to work? You can heal from a muscle sprain or a broken bone surely with the right kind of treatment you can heal this. I've heard of musicians healing from tinnitus. Perhaps, I'm being impatient. Maybe it could heal. I just wonder if anyone out there has had a remission. I understand that if they did, they would no longer feel the need to keep up on a support site. They would just yell "Hallelujah!" and get on with their lives forgetting about it. Man, do I wish that would happen for me.
       
    5. Utopia

      Utopia Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1997, 5/23/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Concert, Hockey Game
      Shoegaze,

      I am so grateful to have found your posts! The condition I'm noticing sounds exactly the same! It's only been a few days since it cropped up and I haven't been to a doctor yet. I so want to be hopeful. Please let me know if you've found anything to be effective in reducing or eliminating the sound distortion. You mentioned flavonoids and Clariton (<-you mean this allergy med helped with the sound distortion/cymbals?).
       
      • Winner Winner x 1
    6. Shoegaze
      Grumpy

      Shoegaze Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      None?
      Well, It's been over a year and my condition is about the same. It may be lessening or perhaps I am getting used to it? I tried the Lipo Flavanoids for about 3 months and I don't think they did anything. Claritin (allergy medicine) didn't do much of anything either. This just may be genetic. Hearing problems do run in my family. I did suffer from earaches as a child and did have a rather severe ear infection about a year before my condition started which caused a stuffed up feeling in my ears. Antibiotics cleared that up very quickly. I'm really at a loss as to what I can do to remedy it. I guess I should be thankful it hasn't gotten worse. Thanks for your post Utopia and don't fret! There could be a solution out there for us! I've just learned to live with it. I love music but now I have to adjust the EQ to suit my ear. It helps but doesn't get rid of it. Like I say, I've learned to cope and I try to just count my blessings in other ways. I've yet to see another specialist. I should so I can get a second or third opinion. It's just frustrating when you go to the doctor and they just don't seem interested in solving a mystery. In America if you aren't bleeding out of your eyeballs and your head isn't spinning they just send you on your way.
       
    7. Arthur

      Arthur Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1995
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      Hi Shogaze, your problems sound very similar to mine... I'm a musician who developed tinnitus over 20 years ago. About 3 months ago I had an inner ear infection that resulted in sensonueral hearing loss in my right ear, during the infection my hearing came and went in my right ear. Unfortunately the doctor I saw assumed that the large amounts of wax in my ear were to blame for the hearing loss.Once the infection passed and the wax was cleared, the sounds in my right ear ( when above a certain volume threshold) became distorted and were accompanied with a high pitched tinnitus like 'squeal' . My own voice triggers this condition... I'm assuming this is recruitment but I'm not sure...My tinnitus has also increased to a uncomfortable level.

      I had a hearing test and found that my hearing in the right ear was damaged ( upper and lower frequencies are lost) the midrange is slightly above normal levels....
      I'm struggling to come to terms with this condition, and would appreciate any advise or thoughts...
      Cheers Arthur
       
    8. jtr

      jtr Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2000
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely loud music
      I'm experiencing something similar. Tinnitus off and on for maybe about 20 years, issues with wax buildup/blockage. Recently cleared a wax blockage and there is "kazoo" like distortion in my right ear. The thing is, I noticed it a few weeks ago and got freaked out, then it seemed to normalize, though my hearing was diminished because of the wax blockage. Now that I cleared the blockage the distortion is back. It seems like it might be a low frequency loss which appears to be a big Meniere's symptom. Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks.
       
    9. Shoegaze
      Grumpy

      Shoegaze Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      None?
      Hey guys,

      Just checking in. No real improvement in my condition for almost 2 years now. No worsening either. I still have the same slight tinnitus in my right ear. It's manageable. The distortion still occurs for certain volume levels and frequencies. It may have tapered off a bit since it first happened but then again as I have said earlier, I may be just trying to tune it out or ignore it the best I can without obsessing over it. Stress definitely makes it worse. In reference to ear wax, I have noticed that my afflicted ear does not produce nearly as much wax as my "good" ear. I rarely clean my ears anymore for fear or disturbing what I imagine is an already fragile area but when I do I notice that hardly any wax comes from the bad ear. A side effect? Parallel symptom? I don't know. I may have mentioned this before but like Arthur I too had an ear infection some time before my distortion occurred. I had very muffled hearing during the infection. Antibiotics cleared that up pretty quickly. I wonder if the infection triggered the distortion in hearing? Honestly, I'm chalking this up to aging, the fact that I stood in front of a drummer for ten years who loved his cymbals and I've been listening to loud music since I was a little guy with headphones. I had earaches as a child. Hearing loss runs on both sides of my family. But still, the distortion is a strange one. My hearing test showed no real loss of hearing. Hope everyone is coping. Remember that stress really makes it worse. I try to concentrate on the the things I can do with my ears instead of what I can't do. I listen to music quietly. I adjust my surroundings to cater to my need and I can function.
       
    10. Conrad Roeber

      Conrad Roeber Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2003
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Listening to loud music on a Walkman for teen years
      Last night I was at a wonderful concert performance of Verdi's Requiem - full choir and the brilliant Philarmonia orchestra - massive, wonderful sound - at the Royal Festival Hall. Very sadly, during the concert I noticed for the first time that I have terrible distortion in my ears at loud volumes. It sounds like speakers when they're being overloaded; the sound sort of crumbles when loud and completely loses its clarity.

      I've had tinnitus for years. High-pitched ringing in both ears. I've got used to it as, like the musician above, I considered it a bit like having your arm cut off.; it aint gonna grow back! It is very loud when all else is quiet (if I wake in the middle of the night, for example) and really distressing in those moments. But most of the time I don't notice it's there. I live in central London, which is a reassuringly noisy place and we have a noisy life (in a good way) which helps mask the problem. But the distortion I heard last night - which of course I now realise I've heard many times before but thought it was due to dodgy hifi speakers - was really quite distressing. I realise now that I'll never again hear loud music with crystal clarity. I guess that's my other arm cut off! Hey ho.

      But it is very reassuring to hear the other stories posted on here, so thank you very much for sharing your experiences.

      There is a treatment for tinnitus which is getting some notice here in London; a sort of therapy where you wear a device which plays very quiet notes that fluctuate either side of your tinnitus note and are meant to train your brain not to hear the original tinnitus note. It's calibrated to your specific tinnitus. I need to check where they are on outcomes (from a statistical point of view) because it's extremely expensive - around £5,000. I wasn't entirely convinced when I went to see them (and paid £180 for the privilege of a consultation).
       

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