I Don't Even Know What to Name This...

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by mintbaby, Mar 2, 2016.

    1. mintbaby

      mintbaby Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hearing Loss (probably)
      My name is Ashley. Here's my story! I am 27 years old, raised in the good state of North Carolina. Throughout my childhood I had many ear infections, had tubes inserted twice when I was at a young age. Everything was normal until around 6-7 years ago when I had an ear infection in my right ear (I call it my "bad ear") and I went to an Urgent Care doctor (BIG MISTAKE) and they said I had wax in my ear. They did some irrigation, which actually worsened the hearing but I was treated for an infection after that as well so I waited, and waited for the hearing to get better. Well, nope. It was conductive hearing loss and I had a small perforation in my eardrum so my ENT thought that repairing that would help (a tympanoplasty). So, we did, even though the doctor said the perforation was probably too small to be causing that significant amount of hearing loss anyway. Long story short, after waiting, the hearing still didn't return. My ENT referred me to a specialist at UNC Chapel Hill, Dr. Oliver Adunka, and after meeting with him a few times we decided that exploratory surgery was needed to determine the cause of the hearing loss. When they went in they found that my "ear bones" had been badly decayed due to all the infections I'd had all my life they suppose. They replaced the bones with a titanium piece that would serve as those bones. The healing process was long and I was very scared, because they stuff all this stuff in your ears (behind and in front of the ear drum) that causes hearing loss, so at first I was freaking out every day... waiting for the hearing to come back. Well, hearing did come back somewhat but it was GREATLY muffled, and it felt like it did (if not worse) before the procedure, so the doctor said he'd have to adjust the piece (which we will call a TORP-Total Ossicular Replacement Prosthesis) and maybe make it a bit longer. So, in for another surgery, another long wait and apparently some of my hearing was restored (I didn't really notice because it was very gradual). My "bad ear" hearing is below normal, by how much I can't remember. I think it's probably better I don't know numbers. So, a few years after the surgery I had some vertigo and the cause was never identified. Went to vestibular therapy, and all of that seems okay now. So, fast foward several years to about 4 weeks ago. I went to Ohio, got the flu and then an ear infection, and then bam... my "good ear" makes a tiny pop (it was a dull pop, like when you yawn and sometimes you can feel your eustachian tubes opening and closing, or atleast I can) and my hearing is lowered! I freaked out. I shook my head, I popped my ears over and over trying to get it to come back to normal (as a kid with eustachian tube dysfuction, I was always told to pop my ears so that's my thing) but to no avail. I went to bed early, hoping I'd wake up with it all back to normal. (I had been to two Urgent Cares there, one told me I had the flu the first time, the second one gave me antibiotics for an ear infection). No, nothing, still a full feeling and hearing loss. Another few days and we are back in VA (where I currently live) and I go to the ENT, get prescribed some prednisone, anti viral meds, and some ear drops. Well, a few days later and I am back at the ENT for a hearing test which does show that I do have hearing loss in my "good ear". The hearing had improved since the last visit, but it was not back to what it had been before the "pop". They also determined it was sensorineural hearing loss in the "good ear", which is usually damage to the inner ear hairs and is harder to correct (I do have hope that they will be able to one day!). So, now here I sit, trying to stay positive. I have intermittent ringing in both ears, but I don't know if it's caused by my anxiety, or by my constant popping and aggravation of the ear drums. I have an aural fullness in both ears, but different pressures. My "good ear" which is now the "okay ear" is a lighter pressure, almost feels like sometimes the ear drum is bulging OUTWARDS and my "bad ear" feels like the ear drum keeps falling INWARDS. Everytime I pop my "bad ear" the pressure is somewhat relieved, and I can hear a TINY bit better, but whenever I move my jaw or head (so, within a few seconds or minutes), it's as if the eardrum falls back into its original place, making the fullness come back and the improved hearing disappear. So, here's to constantly popping that ear all day. (Yes, I've learned how to pop each ear separately somehow). Needless to say, I've been researching everything and anything on the internet. Meneire's disease, tensor tympany syndrome, Clarity-1 trials, Amanda James, tinnitus, ETD, and much more. I am currently unemployed so I have a lot of time on my hands to look at things, and worry about them. Every day is a struggle for me lately. I fear that I have become clinically depressed. Aside from dealing with ear issues, I deal with OCD, anxiety, trichotillomania, and depression already. The situation has really flared up my panic attacks, I cry every day uncontrollably. I am starting to cry as I write this. I read the post about learning how to recognize your T and to respond to your reaction to it, instead of the T itself. I feel that that would work well for T, but I wonder if it will work for "aural fullness". Often times, the only time I feel comfort is when I cover my ears with my hands so that I feel there's a "reason" for the pressure inside my ears. Sometimes I will put cotton balls in my ears, too. I can also feel my eustachian tube opening and closing in my "good ear" when I swallow. The list just goes on and on, and I am just so angry that advancements haven't been made faster where the inner ear is concerned. I've narrowed my recent ear problems down to about a million different things... TMJ, neck pain (sleeping wrong), to anxiety and beyond. I really just want ANSWERS and I am TIRED of knowing NOTHING. Please, if you have any of these issues... respond to this post, I am very active and will respond. The good news is, in 4 months my husband and I will be moving to Newport, RI... very close to Mass Eye and Ear. I'll be seeing someone there and getting the help I need. I have an ENT appointment on Friday for another hearing test, and we'll see what we do from there. As for my mental state, I have an appointment Thursday with a psychologist who specializes in T, even though honestly the aural fullness and hearing loss bother me most right now. Thanks for reading my novel.
    2. Alue
      No Mood

      Alue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      I'm not sure what to name that either, but I'm sorry to hear about all you've been through.
      I can't really comment on all your hearing issues, but the fact that your tinnitus is intermittent instead of constant might not be a bad thing. Are you sure that constantly popping your ears isn't exasserbating things?
      • Agree Agree x 1
    3. Cheza

      Cheza Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barking dogs/stress
      I have the same concern as @Alue. Not sure that popping your ears is a good thing.
      Could be both. Try to stop researching tinnitus so much, and spend your time meditating instead. It's hard to do, I know, in your circumstances, but much better for your physical, emotional and mental health than what you're doing now. You can meditate and let yourself daydream about Rhode Island and your new place and starting a new life.

      Four months can go by pretty fast. Take it easy on yourself, and wait for real answers when you see a qualified physician in Rhode Island.

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