Hyperacusis and Tinnitus from Toxin Exposure and Maybe Benzos?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Shizune, Aug 9, 2020.

    1. Shizune
      Terrified

      Shizune Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      H: 6/2020 T: 7/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Chemical exposure, made worse with benzo withdrawal
      Hi all,

      I've been suffering from hyperacusis for almost 2 months now, and recently developed tinnitus.

      My story is very confusing and I would love to get some insight.

      Early June, I had exposure to a toxic aerosol, which carries the risk of CNS/PNS and auditory organ damage. My problems were just breathing at first, though my inner ears had a slight burning sensation, along with things sounding lower pitched. I was so preoccupied with the breathing issue that I didn't acknowledge the hearing issue much until it was too late. About 2-3 weeks after the incident I did notice that people with loud voices seemed a bit more annoying, but I didn't notice it developing into anything worse until the end of the month/beginning of July.

      Since mid-June I've had trouble sleeping. I had to find a psychiatrist quickly, and they gave me Hydroxizine and Klonopin to sleep better. It worked wonders... except now I have been off the Klonopin for a few days, my hyperacusis is at its absolute worst. I also began developing tinnitus as of 7/21. I can't tell if it was from further hearing damage or from the meds. I'm seeing so many horror stories now about benzos and hyperacusis and tinnitus. For reference, I had been taking 0.5 mg twice a day for about a month.

      I've been bouncing around doctors, and so far not many have taken me seriously about this and dismiss it as purely psychological. Most appointments I bring my toxicology safety sheet of the chemical and it's completely ignored.

      I've been to two audiologists so far. The first claimed that H due to toxin exposure had a better recovery chance than acoustic injury, felt I'd bounce back by August (lol), and wouldn't give me any sort of TRT until I got some sort of brain scan to prove damage (the neurologist I saw after did not believe in my condition and refused to treat me). Second disputed the first's claim, was willing to start TRT with me after insurance got sorted, but also gave the usual "don't overprotect, desensitize" advice and to not read stuff on the internet. Oddly enough, didn't give me any sort of LDL test, just a basic hearing test, in which I tested normal. Also said that my hearing most likely wasn't damaged and won't get worse... and yet it has. I'm a bit skeptical, but I want to try TRT because I'm desperate.

      These last few weeks I've been trying to get outside to "expose". I still drive. I keep my Bose noise cancelling headphones on me at all times in case I run into any motorcycles or planes just to be safe. I try to stay in hotels when I can. But now I'm suspecting that every bit of sound has been damaging me this whole time. The onset was over the course of a few weeks vs a few days that I see normally for those with acoustic injuries, so naturally I kept listening to music, feeling fine, etc. I also felt like I was "cured" for a few days and got too cocky, and ended up doing loud, music-related activities for 2 hours. Was back to being sensitive within days after.

      My tinnitus is more prominent in my left ear, mostly a light droning noise in the presence of other noises, along with a more mild cicada-like sound.

      My hyperacusis does cause ear fullness and burning at times but more than anything it gives me a "shock" feeling in the left side of my brain. I've had left side of body tingling, predominantly in my head, a week since my incident. I don't really have the "stabbing pain in ear" most folks seem to have. My tolerances to certain sounds has decreased over the weeks and today it's the worst it's ever been. I can't tell if it's from benzo withdrawal

      I'm very new to all this, any sort of insight is appreciated. I'm sorry for the info-dump, but I don't see many stories like mine, and I don't even know if TRT will help. I'm still fairly young and I feel like my life is practically over.
       
      • Hug Hug x 3
    2. Aaron91

      Aaron91 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2007
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music/headphones/concerts
      Really sorry to hear about your story.

      Your case does sound very unique and what intrigues me is this left side tingling you’re describing. Have you noticed any kind of droopiness/paralysis on the left side of your face or perhaps some recent asymmetry between the two sides?
       
    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Shizune
      Terrified

      Shizune Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      H: 6/2020 T: 7/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Chemical exposure, made worse with benzo withdrawal
      Thank you.

      Nope. I can smile and no drooping. But in terms of feeling and temperature detection, left is very much different from the right.

      When this first happened and I went to the ER, I was told that left side of body neuropathy or whatever you wanna call it indicates some sort of brain stem issue. Since the neurologist I saw was so dismissive, I have no idea if this could be a possibility, or if I would need to have other issues on top of what I already have for it to be legitimate.
       
    4. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced

      HI @Shizune

      I am not familiar with hyperacusis being caused by exposure to toxins. My understanding is that this condition is usually associated with people that have been exposed to loud noise and develop tinnitus. Therefore, my advice may or may not be of help to you since it is for people with noise induced tinnitus. I see that your hyperacusis started in July of this year and you also have tinnitus.

      Since you are in the very early stages of hyperacusis and tinnitus my advice is not to start any long term treatment such as TRT or CBT and I explain the reasons in my articles in the links below under TRT and when should it be started.

      My ENT doctor prescribed me Klonopin/Clonazepam in 2010 and said: It can help some people and is sometimes prescribed to those with severe tinnitus which mine was. She advised only to take it when the tinnitus was severe and not too often. The reason being it can lead to dependency and can have unpleasant side effects. In addition to this it will become less effective when taken often so more of the drug needs to be taken which isn't advisable. On average I took it about every 4 to 6 weeks for one to two days and stopped. It would reduce my severe tinnitus to complete silence or a more manageable level over 12hrs. The dose prescribed was 2x 0.5mg tablets. Fortunately I haven't had a problem with Klonopin and still take it when the need arises.

      Try to stop going from doctor to doctor and stay with one ENT and your GP. At some stage you may find help with an Audiologist that specialises in tinnitus and hyperacusis management but I suggest to take things slowly at the moment.
      Exposing yourself to loud music wasn't a good idea and you have learned this. I advise that you don't use any kind of headphones and listen to audio through them even at low volume. Try not to over protect your ears too much as this can cause problems that are explained in the post below titled: Hyperacusis, As I see it. I also advise to stop reading up on tinnitus and hyperacusis online as this can cause anxiety and stress. Try and take things easy and allow everything to calm down.

      Please click on the links below and take your time and read my articles thoroughly and without skimming.

      All the best
      Michael

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/new-to-tinnitus-what-to-do.12558/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/hyperacusis-as-i-see-it.19174/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/tinnitus-a-personal-view.18668/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/the-habituation-process.20767/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/what-is-trt-and-when-should-it-be-started.19024/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/what-happens-in-trt-sessions.18195/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/acquiring-a-positive-mindset.23969/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/tinnitus-and-the-negative-mindset.23705/
       
    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Shizune
      Terrified

      Shizune Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      H: 6/2020 T: 7/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Chemical exposure, made worse with benzo withdrawal
      Unfortunately not many doctors have listened or believed me so far, my GP included. She did a blood test on me to test for B12 deficiency and that's it. Since I'm in the US, care has been very hard to come by due to covid.

      The last audiologist I saw is actually one who is trained in TRT. I didn't feel fully satisfied when I went to her but she is, sadly, the only option in my state. I am still waiting on a response to see if the devices are covered with my shitty insurance.

      I'm still waiting on other doctors simply because I have other issues since my incident. So far I've seen pulmonologists, and I'm waiting on a neurologist.

      Yeah I got way too cocky. I have put music on the back burner, though last week I did listen to it for a little.

      When you say don't use headphones, do my Bose earbuds that deliver noise cancellation count as this? Haven't listened to any music through them.

      So it looks like you're saying it should be started after 6 months? With the logic being, it may get better in 6 months (unless I misread you)? The severity of my case has increased exponentially in just 1.5 months. I have no idea if it's possible for me to bounce back and I'm not sure if I want to wait that long to find out what's to come. My T right now is annoying but manageable, my H is much more of an issue. But I don't know how that will increase.

      I've been browsing a bit but so far it seems like the only person with a case somewhat similar to mine is @Zugzug. Just in terms of non-acoustic injury. But I'm sure from week 1 after my exposure, my ears were already damaged (hence the burning) and I just didn't care or notice anything, went about my life while focusing on the other issues I had (breathing, lack of sleep), and shot myself in the foot.

      I will continue to read your posts. If you happen to find any other resources or info for situations like mine please let me know. Thank you.
       
    6. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      @Shizune

      You are welcome Shizune.

      I am going to give you some advice and if you choose to listen I think it will help and if you don't that is your choice. Please slow down and start to take things easy because tinnitus is something that cannot be rushed. I advise you not to start TRT or CBT treatment for tinnitus because I don't think it is right for you at this time as it's far too early. The fact that you have said you have other issues in your life makes what I have said more relevant: Do not start TRT or CBT especially when you have other things in your life that need to be addressed.

      I advise you not to play any form of music through headphones, earphones, earbuds, Noise cancelling earbuds etc. Do not listen to any music or speech audio through these devices even at low volume, as you risk making your tinnitus worse.

      Take your time and read my articles and try to stop going to doctors for now. Talk to your GP if you are feeling stressed.

      Take care
      Michael
       
    7. Zugzug

      Zugzug Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease; Sjogren's Syndrome
      It sounds like you are fairly new. Here are my thoughts:

      1) Fears of overprotection are over hyped. The reason for this is that most doctors fraudulently believe that moderate noises (that would not damage a healthy person) cannot worsen someone with pre-existing hyperacusis. This is not true. Everyone who has hyperacusis knows this. I once experienced a huge and obvious setback from listening to music at 45 dB for a few hours. It was obvious. I am still dealing with this incident and have new tones from it.

      Over protection is just a way for the literature to create a victim blaming culture. No one wants to over protect. Hence, why you had your set back from "getting cocky." This is normal. Under protection is normal and really should be the emphasis on what to look for.

      2) True hyperacusis is so rare that it's unlikely you are going to find a story that sounds just like yours. It's tough stuff, as I haven't found a single story that resembles mine. I totally understand why how frustrating it is to not have any answers.

      3) Do not use headphones unless you have irrefutable evidence that it doesn't worsen you. I made this mistake. This also falls into the victim-blaming mentality.

      You will find, perhaps to the point where you will become numb to it, that hyperacusis has a culture of victim blaming. The originator of TRT, Jastreboff, is a professional victim blamer. You just have to watch some YouTube videos to see that.

      I have never seen an ENT know more about hyperacusis than a regular on Tinnitus Talk. That's not to say you should ignore your doctor, especially if they raise serious medical concerns, but there's a lot of dogma on this condition. I believe ENTs victim blame because they can't break it to the patient that they can't fix them.

      The most important thing is to listen to your body. Just because I had a setback from 45 dB doesn't mean you will. I believe hyperacusis patients should always be trying to understand their own bodies. There are no simple rules on what over protection is. But most ENTs lean on the side of "that's impossible," when the patient knows full well what happened.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    8. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Shizune
      Terrified

      Shizune Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      H: 6/2020 T: 7/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Chemical exposure, made worse with benzo withdrawal
      Honestly, my H is more of an issue than my T. Even so, is rushing a bad idea? I'm sure I'll regret saying this later *knock on wood* but if my T increases but H diminishes, it's ok with me. I don't see that happening though, just from everyone's personal accounts.

      I am not sure how to tackle my other issues since they would most likely involve an MRI (which means, worse H for me). That said, I was already on a pretty long waiting list for the neurologist so I still intend to see them this August. After that though, I am not so sure. I'd been on the phone with my GP for the most of June in tears and nothing has been done (not like much can be). Currently trying to find a new one but no idea where to start, especially if I keep running into people who don't believe in H.

      Even so, I will try to relax, or try to find anything to do. I had to leave my job because of this (primarily the breathing issue) and I can't imagine finding work now. Was also going to work on getting my degree this fall. Life really has a way of throwing curveballs at you...
       
    9. Zugzug

      Zugzug Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease; Sjogren's Syndrome
      Just to be 100% clear, in case my post above was too anti-doctor, I am only recommending that you question doctors on the over/under protection problem. By all means, they can help more than people like me with medical problems.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    10. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      @Shizune

      It doesn't matter whether it is your tinnitus or hyperacusis or both that is causing you problems at moment, my advice is slow right down and take things easy. Once you read my articles and it's better if you print them everything will come clear to you what I am saying. Tinnitus and Hyperacusis affect our mental and emotional wellbeing. You are at the very start of this process so everything is new to you. The last thing you want do is to start treatment for them or do anything rash, such as going from doctor to doctor, this is the wrong thing to do. I recommend you talk to your GP if you are stressed and something maybe prescribed to help relax you. Try to stop reading information online just take things easy for now.

      All the best
      Michael
       
    11. Zugzug

      Zugzug Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease; Sjogren's Syndrome
      I have lost my entire life. I am currently taking immunosuppressants to see if I can find a path forward. All I know is that this illness has humbled me beyond belief. I will not be taking any risks with sounds unless it is crystal clear that I have nothing to worry about. I don't even care if the phonophobia gets worse. I would rather have a relatively non-disabled life with phonophobia than be stuck in a chair, earmuffs in, unable to move, with my ears roaring.

      The days when I could go for walks with earmuffs ready at all times were much better than where I am now.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    12. Thuan

      Thuan Member

      Location:
      California
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear infection
      If you've broken your arm while playing sports, then healing requires that person desist from any form of moderate physical activity with their arm. Obviously for us with ear issues, this means avoid moderate or loud noises, including music. Worsening your wound, in this case with sound, isn't going to help. Give your ears a break for a few months and see if it recovers.

      Unfortunately, there is no cure for tinnitus or hyperacusis...However, some people here have recovered or their tinnitus lowered in volume over the months or years. It's really just depends on how you take care of yourself during recovery. Eat healthy with good nutrition and vitamins to give yourself the best possible path to healing.
       

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