Hello! Tinnitus for Three Weeks: No History of Loud Noise Exposure — Doctor Diagnosed Ear Infection

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by anark, Dec 7, 2020.

    1. anark
      Anime

      anark Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      16/11/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hello everyone!

      I'm a 19-year-old male, and over the past three weeks or so, I've been experiencing mild tinnitus in my left ear.

      I stumbled on this forum, and I figured I would make a post and see where things go! :)

      To cut a long story short, ever since 16th November (Monday morning) I've been hearing a ringing in my left ear throughout the day. I think many people here would classify it as mild, as I can only hear it in quiet rooms/when I try to sleep. I don't have a history of loud noise exposure, since I haven't ever been to a concert or a club (I'm quite a boring person haha.) - and in terms of headphone usage, I haven't used them in months.

      When I first noticed it, I was quite anxious about it since I have a tendency to overthink these things, which led me to booking an appointment with my university's GP (I live in the UK.) After a short consultation on the 19th of November (3 days after onset) I was informed I have an ear infection in the ringing ear, and was given an ear spray for it.

      I used the ear spray for a week and a few days and noticed a dramatic improvement in the volume of the ringing, and since then, it has faded down over the passing days and weeks. (It's been about 3 weeks so far.)

      It remains mostly quiet throughout the day, though occasionally rises in volume briefly before settling down - and in terms of sleep, I've mostly been listening to music before bed to calm my anxiety down, and thankfully I can still sleep in silence, and I've been able to keep myself pretty distracted throughout the day to avoid noticing it all the time.

      I know it's still rather early on in terms of traditional timescales, but I wanted to ask if anyone knew the likelihood of the ringing fading away with time? I know that ears can take a long time to heal, so I'm not expecting instant results.

      Thank you for reading this far, I would greatly appreciate any responses. :)
       
      • Hug Hug x 2
    2. ajc

      ajc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2002; spike 2009; worse 2017-18
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music - noise damage
      If your tinnitus has improved from after you got the treatment for the ear infection, it can for sure improve even more in the coming weeks. Be VERY happy it's mild already.
       
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    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      anark
      Anime

      anark Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      16/11/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thank you for responding! It has improved greatly after going through the treatment for the ear infection, so I'm hopeful it'll improve even more over the next few weeks - as you've said. I'm incredibly thankful it hasn't been incredibly disruptive, even if it has been a little concerning. :)

      I'll be having another appointment with a local GP soon, since I've returned home for the holidays.

      Would you recommend that I still have a checkup for my ear?
       
    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      anark
      Anime

      anark Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      16/11/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Is it possible that inflammation/swelling of the ear canal from an outer ear infection can cause tinnitus?

      That's the only thing I could think of in terms of a cause - and that seems probable given the antibiotic ear spray I was given after I visited my GP after onset helped considerably.

      I'm doing my best to be hopeful! :)
       
    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      anark
      Anime

      anark Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      16/11/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hey everyone!

      I've posted on here before regarding my tinnitus, and I'm making this post just to clear the air with some queries I'm having.

      I've had tinnitus for about 4 weeks now, localised only to my left ear. After onset it was quite disruptive, but still mild on all accounts - I could hear it when walking around my campus, and in silent rooms. After having a checkup with my doctor, she discovered an ear infection and after treatment, the volume has reduced to the point where I don't hear it outside, and the volume of the ringing is faint indoors, though still noticeable.

      I had some questions regarding a few things, mostly:
      • I know no-one can be certain when it will go away, but does having it for a month make chances of full recovery less likely?
      • I don't have any history of exposure to loud noises, or using ototoxic medications, so is it possible that an outer ear infection could have caused my tinnitus? (My doctor said my ear canal was swollen/inflamed.)
      • What would all of you suggest for breaking the habit of monitoring it? I'm thankful that it hasn't really stopped me from doing things during the day, and I'm living my life as normal - but sometimes I can't help but notice it when it's quiet, or when I'm trying to sleep. I keep fixating on waiting for it to go away.
      Thanks for reading this far, I appreciate any advice! :)
       
    6. ajc

      ajc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2002; spike 2009; worse 2017-18
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music - noise damage
      Less likely. Acute tinnitus often goes away in a few days to a few weeks. But improvement can be seen up to a year or even longer. Your chances of a full recovery are just less as time goes on.
      Yes it could have caused it.
      First: Stop visiting ALL TINNITUS websites.
      Second: Don't stay in quiet. If you're in a quiet room, put on some background noises.
      Third: NEVER plug your ears to monitor it.

      You have willpower. Use it.
       
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    7. Benjaminbb

      Benjaminbb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      November 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown - possibly TMJ
      I would suggest first of all not to think about it as much of a bad thing, you will honestly forget it's there once you stop listening for it because its luckily so minor. Whether it stays or goes doesn't actually matter due to the fact it is so faint. Don't worry that it has been a month, anything could happen. Beyond your infection you won't really be able to find an explanation which is also fine. It's actually super easy to live with something so mild.

      I am like you and have had anxiety through my life worrying about it. I used to hear a slight beeping in one ear when I was 20 if I listened to it, I worried about it in quiet places for no reason and honestly barely thought about it for 10 years. It's all about our anxiety when it's not debilitatingly loud!

      Breaking the habit basically means breaking the fear, so that's why I mentioned the above. Other than that you should absolutely go live your life and see people, have fun, watch movies etc. Once you realise it has no effect on you, you'll forget about it and potentially it will be completely gone in a few more months, at least from your consciousness.

      For the sake of it, I'll also mention using ear plugs if you do ever go to loud events, because why not? It makes it less likely you'll ever have to come back here!
       
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    8. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      anark
      Anime

      anark Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      16/11/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @ajc Thank you for your advice. I'll continue doing the best that I can to ignore things and push on.
       
    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      anark
      Anime

      anark Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      16/11/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Update: My doctor's appointment got delayed again, I'm going to try and get an appointment through private healthcare.

      After nearly 4 weeks of tinnitus and some improvements, I'm thankful for it being faint and un-intrusive, but I'm still incredibly anxious. I'm worried that not getting things checked out quickly will make this last forever, and that thought still scares me to my core. It scares me more than the actual tinnitus itself.
       
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    10. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      anark
      Anime

      anark Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      16/11/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hello everyone!

      I've posted on here before regarding my experience with tinnitus, and I've been limiting my time on here since I found that staying on the forum wasn't productive in my journey with this. However, I've popped on to make a post asking a few questions as I'm now around 6 weeks in.

      I don't have a history of loud noise exposure, or any ototoxic medicine use, and in terms of headphone usage, I hadn't used them until purchasing a pair recently for college, and throughout my first semester, I used them infrequently and at low volumes. In addition, I've never been to a concert or any loud environments such as clubs.

      When I first noticed my tinnitus, I booked a doctor's appointment where I was diagnosed with an outer ear infection and given treatment for it. After using the treatment (an ear spray) for a week, I noticed improvements in the days following - and since then, my tinnitus has faded down to a level where I'm sure it's improving. (Noticeable in the mornings, when waking up, and in the evenings, when going to sleep - but relatively unheard during the day.)

      I've been experiencing moments of silence, where it goes away entirely, even with my ears plugged, only for it to come back randomly.

      My questions are the following:
      • Is there any explanation for these long moments of silence? Could it be a sign of healing?
      • Are my chances of recovery lessened because I've had tinnitus for 6 weeks?
      • In regards to my ear infection - how long does it normally take for ear infection related tinnitus to subside? I've been to multiple GPs and they've all been confident this is temporary.
      Many thanks.
       
    11. Drachen
      Wishful

      Drachen Member

      Location:
      United States
      Tinnitus Since:
      December 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Currently unknown; awaiting evaluation
      I can definitely sympathize with this position. I am currently one week in yet I am still periodically struck with fear about the potential of it continuing on for longer. Not sure if I would characterize mine as mild or moderate (though it does seem to be in "both ears" or centralized in the head).

      Sleep has been particularly challenging for me, which might have to do with any number of reasons, even beyond this symptom. How have you managed to hold up in this respect?
       
    12. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      anark
      Anime

      anark Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      16/11/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hello there!

      In my case, the fear of this continuing has come in waves for me. When it initially started I was living in student dorms, and it caused me a fair amount of distress - but I didn't focus on it that much because of classes. Mine is localised to my left ear, and has improved a lot since onset, though I find myself focusing on it more often because I'm at home with my parents for the holidays.

      Funnily enough, sleep hasn't been challenging for me, I'm still able to sleep perfectly fine. At this point, much of the original stress has dissolved, and now I'm simply waiting it out.
       
    13. Drachen
      Wishful

      Drachen Member

      Location:
      United States
      Tinnitus Since:
      December 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Currently unknown; awaiting evaluation
      Thanks for replying!
      I have to wonder how much of this is key to moving along. I was unfortunately already dealing with issues of insomnia for months (years?) before this began, though things have considerably gone into overdrive since. I am glad to hear this is not a problem for you.

      In general, you seem to be doing very well after a few weeks. I hope you only improve from here!
       
    14. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      anark
      Anime

      anark Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      16/11/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I've had experience with insomnia before, and I absolutely know how bad it can be - I truly hope things improve for you soon!

      And yes, I'm thankful that things seem to be going well after all of this started - I've had a few doctor's appointments and they've told me multiple times that it's just due to the infection and it will go away. I'm just doing my best to keep faith.
       
    15. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      anark
      Anime

      anark Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      16/11/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Update: I've been experiencing 1.5/10 volume tinnitus for the past few days now. I'm able to mask it with the sound of my heater, or a fan running.

      This has remained consistent throughout the day, remaining extremely quiet from morning to night. I'm confident that this means I'm on the road to recovery; which I'm hoping will mean a full recovery from this experience.

      A question I wanted to ask was: If (and I'm confident it will given the downward trend over the past few weeks) it goes away, how would I best protect my ears in future?
       
      • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
    16. Drachen
      Wishful

      Drachen Member

      Location:
      United States
      Tinnitus Since:
      December 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Currently unknown; awaiting evaluation
      I don't think there's much you can do to avoid an infection like you got before, though you certainly don't want to be sticking things in your ears. If you use earplugs or earbuds, you would do well to make sure they are clean before applying them.

      I've seen several people advise to just stay away from headphones in general, which may be a good idea if you can handle it.

      In general, it seems like a good idea to carry some form of ear protection with you wherever you go, as this is a loud world. You might find yourself in situations where you need some sort of protection.

      As your case seemingly wasn't noise-induced, it's hard to tell if your ears are compromised in any way, so you might have better tolerances. It's still best to avoid loud sounds if you can.
       
    17. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      anark
      Anime

      anark Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      16/11/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thanks for replying!

      In regards to the advice about headphones, I've seen that advice reciprocated in many posts here, I wasn't a long-time user of headphones, as I had just started using them maybe a few weeks before onset. I've since stopped using them and won't be going back.

      I'll be sure to find some way to carry around earplugs for protection in-case I happen to be around any loud noises and such. In my case, even though it's going down tremendously (currently I can barely hear it!) I'm still anxious about the future, and I don't think that'll dissipate until it goes away completely haha.

      Best of luck with your own situation!
       
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    18. Ken219
      Frustrated

      Ken219 Member

      Location:
      New York Area
      Tinnitus Since:
      Summer of 1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure?
      @anark Have you had a hearing test? If not, you might want to get a baseline audiogram. G-d bless. Stop monitoring it.
       
    19. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      anark
      Anime

      anark Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      16/11/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I haven't had a hearing test yet, but I'll consider it. Thank you!

      I'm doing my best to stop monitoring it, though it's a bit difficult not to track any improvements or differences.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    20. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      anark
      Anime

      anark Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      16/11/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I just wanted to ask, is 7 weeks with tinnitus still acute?

      My tinnitus started on the 16th of November, so it's been tinnitus weeks total, and 5 weeks since I finished the treatment for my outer ear infection.

      I have no history of noise exposure (only bought headphones a few months ago, never used them consistently and at loud volumes and I've never been to a concert or any nightclubs.) and my doctor diagnosed the ear infection four days after the ringing started. Since finishing the treatment, my ringing has decreased and now I'd class it as a 1.5/2 out of 10 (only heard in quiet rooms, masked by most external noises.)

      Understandably, my case is a lot more mild than many others on here, but I wanted to get some insight regardless. I know no-one can tell me what will truly happen in the future, but I wanted to see if anyone on here has had experiences with ear infection tinnitus going away?
       
    21. Drachen
      Wishful

      Drachen Member

      Location:
      United States
      Tinnitus Since:
      December 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Currently unknown; awaiting evaluation
      You will commonly see in medical sources that the acute period is estimated at most 6 months, but this has been contested by other sources both official and anecdotal. I think this point was just randomly decided for insurance and/or treatment purposes.

      I've seen many state that a temporary period may last anywhere from a day to 2 years, so there's really no way in telling.

      As for the infection part, there may be others who can more accurately answer your question, but I think as with any potential "cause", it could be temporary or chronic. No way to know for sure until time passes.
       
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    22. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      anark
      Anime

      anark Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      16/11/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I'm starting to panic again and my anxiety is rising. I don't know what's wrong, I thought I was handling this well...

      It's been about 7 weeks now, and I've noticed it's faded down a lot, and I'm also having some moments occasionally where I feel like I don't hear it at all - but it always comes back.

      I'm trying my best not to think about it but I'm crumbling right now, I don't want to even think about this being permanent, I don't know how it even could be - all of this started with just an outer ear infection.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    23. Drachen
      Wishful

      Drachen Member

      Location:
      United States
      Tinnitus Since:
      December 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Currently unknown; awaiting evaluation
      From what I've gathered here on the forum, if you are having instances where it fades or reduces in intensity, then that is a good thing. It may not have dissipated for good, but variability seems to indicate progress of some sort. Either way, the fact that it is lower for periods of time is something you should cherish.

      Of course, that is easier said than done. I know that. You will just have to take the victories, however big or small, piece by piece as the days progress.

      I'm not sure if this applies to your situation, but when the sound comes back or returns to a noticeable extent, perhaps you should try and chart what happened before within a few hours to see if there might be any consistent factors? If you can determine preventable triggers, that might help will you remaining in periods of quiet.
       
    24. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      anark
      Anime

      anark Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      16/11/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thank you for responding.

      I can definitely say the baseline itself has gotten lower over time. I remember it being very noticeable when it first started, but now, even though I do hear it - it registers as a slight ringing noise. I'd say it's consistently pretty faint. I'm putting all my hope into the fact that it's been on a downward trend since onset, but I still find myself being anxious about things.

      I do cherish the moments where I feel like it isn't there, but it's always met with some suspicion. I'm trying to break my habit of plugging my ears to check it, or walking into quiet areas to analyse it. That's something I've found very difficult to do as it seems I can't just get on with my day without thinking about it at all.

      I haven't noticed any particular factors that are consistent to when it comes back, or when it goes away - I've just noticed that it tends to go away after I take my first shower, and comes back without any indication.
       
    25. Drachen
      Wishful

      Drachen Member

      Location:
      United States
      Tinnitus Since:
      December 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Currently unknown; awaiting evaluation
      Improvements, especially when they are to your baseline, are (almost?) universally considered to be a good sign. It remaining at such a low volume tends to indicate that it will either stay that low or it will disappear. Complications from infections, from what I've read, tend to dissipate altogether. This is not a given, but it is a trend. Once the underlying causes of tinnitus are treated, the tinnitus itself has no reason to stay.
      I know exactly what you mean here. On Christmas, I had about an hour or so where I felt as if my symptom was gone for good. I was managing to watch videos and such without having it present as a problem. I got so excited, perhaps too excited, because that then turned into distrust. The same suspicion you have felt came over me, and I found myself trying to validate that it was gone rather than enjoy my lack of trouble.

      As you might expect, at some point I was able to both hear and experience it again back to my notable quality. I am still wondering if I somehow brought it back through my obsessive behavior.

      This is a physiological condition, but there are psychological aspects that need to be addressed as well. If you truly feel as if your baseline has been dropping, then it is probably a good idea to start detoxing your mind. Again, this is something easier said than done. It is something we as humans can process and understand to be true, yet when it comes time to act that certain way, other factors impede our progress. It is really damn hard for many of us to just ignore some unpleasant phantom noise that doesn't seem to go away.
      I've noticed that showers tend to result in temporary release for many people, though there are some who say it's also temporarily spiked. There are a few reasons you might be seeing improvements, such as the water effectively masking your sound for a period and calming you down, residual inhibition from it matching the frequency for a bit, or just the water and steam having its effect on your body.

      If you aren't noticing anything specific spiking in general, that may be a good thing. Then again, it's hard to predict spikes.

      At any rate, as @Bill Bauer is more a veteran in this regard, he might be able to further assuage some of your concerns due to his studied research of how it has affected those here on the site. I wish there was more I could say, but in many ways I am also struggling the same. The frustration over the whole situation. The distress over the persistence. The uncertainty of your future. I get it. All of it.
       
    26. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      anark
      Anime

      anark Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      16/11/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Can someone help me?

      I've had tinnitus for 7 weeks. It's mild (only heard in quiet rooms/at night) but it's still causing me a lot of anxiety.

      It started after an outer ear infection and began fading after initially treating it. Over the past few days, it feels like its fading more and becoming softer, however I'm still finding it hard to deal with.

      I've tried to see a doctor about it following the initial treatment but I'm unable to get my ear checked again because of COVID-19 restrictions. I'm worried that not acting fast enough will make it permanent.
       
    27. ajc

      ajc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2002; spike 2009; worse 2017-18
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music - noise damage
      What are you really looking for?

      How do you think ANYONE could POSSIBLY help you ANY MORE than you've ALREADY been HELPED?

      Have you acknowledged the excellent helpful responses by @Drachen above?

      It seems you're expecting too much. Nobody can take your tinnitus away. Time may heal it, or it may not. You just need to accept your fate and hope for the best. Even if your tinnitus doesn't go away, you're one lucky person to have it so mild that it's only heard in quiet or at night.
       
    28. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      anark
      Anime

      anark Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      16/11/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I don't understand why you have to be so ruthless? I haven't done anything to aggravate you.

      I appreciate all the support I've been given so far, and I'm not ungrateful. I'm trying to control my anxiety but I'm scared because I've never experienced this before.
       
    29. ajc

      ajc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2002; spike 2009; worse 2017-18
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music - noise damage
      I'm sorry, it's just slightly aggravating when you've received so much good advice, and there's literally nothing more any of us can do to stop your anxiety.

      My best advice: consider looking at telehealth psychologists or therapists who are well experienced in anxiety, and know something about tinnitus distress. You can have therapy sessions on Skype or Zoom or whatever platforms they use.

      Do you monitor your tinnitus frequently? "Is it now louder?" "Has it changed?"
      Do you plug your ears to monitor your tinnitus?

      If you answered yes to either, please, engage in therapy with a professional. They can help with this.
       
    30. Tanni
      Volatile

      Tanni Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      October 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ???
      Anark, sorry about the above. It's normal to be scared and anxious about tinnitus when you first get it. That outburst was nothing to do with you. This is a support forum, so feel free to vent whenever you are feeling panicked or upset.

      I have been where you are as I also suffer from anxiety. It sounds like your tinnitus is improving lots; you are making excellent progress. It's normal to experience setbacks both in the tinnitus itself and how well you are coping with it, so don't panic or be hard on yourself if you're going through a tough time.

      There is no time limit on when tinnitus can improve and it can often take months, so don't worry about arbitrary labels like 'acute' and 'chronic'. They don't mean anything. There is nothing that you need to rush out and do in order to help your tinnitus or prevent it from becoming permanent - doctors don't yet have a treatment or a cure to offer us - so don't panic about having to see a doctor immediately.

      If you can, try to limit yourself to the Success Stories section of this forum, as I think this could really help your anxiety at this time. Talking therapy could also be really helpful for you, as ajc suggests.

      I know that you want us to reassure you that it will go away and we can't promise that, but what I can tell you is that it is very likely it will either go away, improve significantly or cease to be a problem - you will not stay in this heightened state of anxiety forever. It just takes time.
       
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