I Just Don’t Know What the Cause of My Tinnitus Is?

Discussion in 'Support' started by HarryG20, Nov 30, 2021.

    1. HarryG20
      Sad

      HarryG20 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      22/10/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Possibly early hydrops/ Ménière’s Disease
      Hi, I’m new here, I’m Harry, 20 years old and I developed tinnitus in only my left earn over 1.5 months ago. It came out of nowhere. I have no idea what caused it but it has caused me a lot of distress due to the thought of probably having this for life at only 20 years old.

      I have used headphones for years but not at max volume, for gaming and music. I tracked my loudness level of using my AirPods via the headphone health app on iPhone and had no headphone alerts, my average listening level was 78 dB for the year, I think I’m a safe listener. I’ve been to one concert and two nightclubs, that’s it.

      I also accidentally slapped my left ear which is where the tinnitus is a few months ago, not hard, ear drum didn’t rupture, thought there was a bug near my ear.

      Had a bad cold over a month ago that really affects my ears. My ears feel full often and the ringing is only in my left ear. I don’t feel like I’ve lost my hearing, it’s unilateral tinnitus that I’ve got. It’s got better twice, then got worse again, and that is where I’m at now. I also get loads of popping and clicking sensations in both ears.

      I’m seeing an ENT in 2 months but I just don’t know what’s caused this? Any ideas?

      I’m very stressed and anxious, it’s been a fair amount of time and it hasn’t gone away. I also get a sensation of pressure in my head and headaches on the right side.
       
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    2. Stacken77
      Wishful

      Stacken77 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise (likely headphones & cars), Acoustic trauma did me in
      Hi @HarryG20,

      Sorry to hear about your onset of tinnitus.
      Of course, we cannot say for sure what caused your tinnitus, but I'd still lean towards hearing damage. I personally believe pretty much any case of tinnitus is due to hearing damage. Using headphones or AirPods can definitely damage hearing, I've lost 10 dB in my left ear around 4-6 kHz which is most likely due to my teenage years of computer gaming. The thing with headphones and AirPods is that it can be hard to estimate their actual loudness, especially when there's environmental sounds. I raised my volume many times when traveling by bus, not realizing that the volume might have been damaging.

      So in my opinion, I think that you're dealing with noise induced tinnitus. Therefore I'd advise you to take care of your ears greatly in the future; completely avoid concerts and very loud venues, use ear plugs or muffs in loud or even moderately loud environments, but not in environments with mild noises. Remember that e.g. traffic noise can be very loud momentarily, and many, myself included, would not walk along a city street without earplugs. It's all just recommendation, but do keep in mind that our society is way too loud, and our ears are really just built for nature sound and conversation, slightly above 70 dB.
      I can really understand that, but rest assured that if you take care of your ears, I think you'll be fine, habituate and reach a lot of your goals, exactly like the majority of tinnitus sufferers do. We're everywhere; working, raising families, doing all kind of stuff.

      Read up on the forum on topics like supplements, what to do when going to the dentist, and other scenarios. You'll need to be able to plan a few things ahead to manage this condition most efficiently.

      Best regards,
      Stacken
       
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    3. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Hi @HarryG20.

      Welcome to the forum.

      The information you have given leads me to believe your tinnitus is noise induced and caused by listening to audio through headphones at too high a volume. I realize that you may not agree with me and that is fine. However, my conclusions are based on many years experience with this type of tinnitus so please bear with me.

      Although many things can cause tinnitus the most common is exposure to loud noise. Typically, it is listening to audio through headphones, earbuds or headsets at too high a volume without realizing it. Other forms of exposure to loud noise can cause it too. Working in a noisy environment, attending venues where loud music is played or engaging in a sport such as firing a gun on a shooting range. By far the main cause of this type of tinnitus is due to listening to audio through headphones at too high a volume and for long durations. The clicking and popping sound you describe is another indication of noise induced tinnitus. You may also be sensitive to sound, which is something that is linked to this type of tinnitus.

      My advice is not to use any type of headphones even at low volume. Start using sound enrichment during the day and especially at night. More information about this is in my posts. Please click on the links below and read them: New to tinnitus what to do? Tinnitus, A Personal View. Please go to my started threads and read the posts: The Habituation Process, Will My Tinnitus Get Worse? Tinnitus and the Negative Mindset, Acquiring a Positive Mindset.

      Tinnitus can be stressful in the early stages which you are in but this usually improves with time. More information about this in my posts, along with suggestions to help manage it.

      Hope you start to feel better soon.
      All the best

      Michael

      New to Tinnitus, What to Do? | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
      Tinnitus, A Personal View | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
       
    4. Flet
      Alienated

      Flet Member

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      But what is it exactly about using headphones/buds at low volumes (below 65 dB) that makes it worse? How is that different from being in a room full of people that rates 65 dB or listening to music from speakers that is at 65 dB?
       
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    5. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Good question and my belief is this: the ear canal is just over an inch long at 26mm. The sound waves generated from a headphone, earbud or headset can only go in one direction towards the eardrum. Sound generated from speakers in a room is dispersed over a wide area. Granted, sound will be reflected off walls, ceiling and the floor. If these sounds are too loud they can still irritate the auditory system that could cause a spike. It is something one has to be mindful of, as a spike might not reduce but in fact increase the tinnitus to a new permanent level.

      The exact reason why people with noise induced tinnitus, risk making their tinnitus worse by using headphones, earbuds, headsets, AirPods, noise cancelling and bone conduction headphones, even at low volume, may never be fully understood. I have reached this conclusion having corresponded with many people that have successfully habituated to noise induced tinnitus, returned to using headphones at low volume, and found their tinnitus increased. The evidence is overwhelming. As I have always said, some people with noise induced tinnitus use headphones without any problems. However, things can change and the tinnitus can suddenly become worse.

      Michael
       
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    6. AliasM
      Depressed

      AliasM Member

      Location:
      Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      September 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Botched lumbar puncture, CSF leak.
      Pressure in the head with headaches is really key information here. Raises red flags for me. It is how mine started and I think you should get that checked out.
       
    7. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      HarryG20
      Sad

      HarryG20 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      22/10/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Possibly early hydrops/ Ménière’s Disease
      Thanks for the responses, I’m quite surprised that I’ve got noise induced damage at my age when I know of people who have had way more exposure to higher levels over longer periods of time and have no tinnitus. My parents for example, avid nightclubbers for years yet at 50 they have no tinnitus. I never blasted headphones, was probably at 75-85 dB max for years. Not for eight hours a day, you can listen to 85 dB for 8 hours a day and this is something I have not done. This would show as a 4 kHz notch on an audiogram, would it not?

      I feel as though I’m developing Ménière’s disease as this is only in one ear, headphones go on both ears not one so why is my left affected snd not my right? I’ve had on and off aural fullness for months and now the tinnitus. I had both ears microsuctioned a few months ago and with both ears clean of wax, I felt my left ear couldn’t hear as well, had a hearing test and my left actually tested better than my right, I think I’ve got Ménière’s, I know it.

      Whatever has caused this, I’m deeply distressed and upset as I’m only just turned 20 years old a week ago.
       
    8. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      You might have Meniere's or another underlying medical condition within your auditory system that is causing the tinnitus. This is something an ENT doctor will be able to determine when you are examined, as this is their area of expertise. However, the information in your post is a strong indication you have noise induced tinnitus.

      Noise induced tinnitus is not always bilateral so a person can perceive it only one ear. In any case the brain has only one auditory centre. Although it is the ear that is affected the tinnitus noise is coming from the brain. Regarding your parents regularly attending nightclubs and not affected by tinnitus, as so many people do is not unusual. The ear although a sensitive and delicate organ is able to recover quite quickly from exposure to loud noise. The danger with headphones, earbuds and headsets, is the close proximity of the speaker/diaphragm that rests on or in the ear and generating strong sound waves in an ear canal that is just 26mm long. You may think sound levels of 70 dB from headphones cannot cause tinnitus but I assure you they can and at much lower volumes for some people.

      It is not just the sound levels but duration of exposure to sound that a person is subjected to, without giving sufficient time for the ears to recover. Over the years many people that work in call centres and wear headsets have contacted me complaining of tinnitus. Try not to read up too much information online about tinnitus as this can cause stress. Read the information in the posts that I have given you and make an appointment to see and ENT doctor.

      Michael
       
    9. Stacken77
      Wishful

      Stacken77 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise (likely headphones & cars), Acoustic trauma did me in
      There are those, like my father who's a hunter, who seemingly can blast their ears with firearms without hearing protection, and without the slightest tinnitus. It's simply a matter of luck; some develop tinnitus very easily, while others can be completely deaf and not have it. I personally believe it lies in predisposition, how our brains are wired and reacts to hearing loss, i.e. loss of auditory input.
      I'm curious just how you can estimate the 75-85 dB figure? Just holding a dB meter against a headphone or AirPod isn't accurate.
      The 85 dB for 8 hours is an outdated figure. There are people developing tinnitus for lower things than that, for shorter duration. I believe I developed tinnitus after a 90 dB compressor for 15 minutes. That shouldn't have been damaging, but it was.

      Here's the bottom line; some damages hearing more easily than others, it's just genetic predisposition, but I believe anyone who has ever lived in our society for a year or two has definitely damaged their hearing. Before the industrialization, we didn't hear traffic or listened to music in headphones; there were, for the most part, only nature sound and conversation, which peaks in the 60-70 dB range. Our ears are simply not built for our 70+ dB society, and just walking down a highly trafficked road can damage your hearing, not by a lot, but because the damage is cumulative, by the years, you'll have gained some hearing loss. I listened to music throughout my teenage years in earbuds, I gamed with my friends in headphones, and these were damaging levels.

      When people say that they've always taken care of their ears, and listened reasonably using headphones or earbuds; sorry, I won't believe them one bit.
      Have you taken an audiogram? I do have a dip around 4-6 kHz, which I assume is the culprit behind my tinnitus, but do keep in mind that an audiogram isn't a precise measurement of hearing. Usually they only test up to 8 kHz, but we hear up to 20 kHz, so the highest frequencies goes untested. There's also "hidden hearing loss", that don't show up on an audiogram, but is equally as important.
      My tinnitus is clearly noise induced, but, after my acoustic trauma my tinnitus were unilateral, i.e. I only had it in my right ear. After two months or so, I had it in my left too. But; because yours is unilateral, it can be worth having checked out by an ENT, just to rule out Ménière. Just be careful so that they don't do any loud hearing tests on you, you can search the forum for more about that.

      Best regards,
      Stacken
       
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    10. Damocles
      No Mood

      Damocles Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear Infection
      My man @Stacken77, throwing down the FACTS™, as per usual.
       
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    11. Stacken77
      Wishful

      Stacken77 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise (likely headphones & cars), Acoustic trauma did me in
      It takes a certain kind of people to handle THE FACTS®, @Damocles. :cool:
       
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    12. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      HarryG20
      Sad

      HarryG20 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      22/10/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Possibly early hydrops/ Ménière’s Disease
      I guess I’m being naive, I’m still going to see an ENT, just to see if it is Ménière’s.

      Yeah, you guys are right. If I’m being honest I have used headphones for years, listening to music and gaming, daily for hours at a time for years. I do feel like my hearing isn’t as good as it used to be. Before this came on I went to a nightclub and I think this just finished my ears off and has caused some damage that is now tinnitus. Shocked it’s happened when I’m this young. I used to be into HiFi as well so I would have my speakers turned up all the time.

      I guess I got what I deserved, although I never was told of the risks, it’s my fault nonetheless.

      You are all right, I do have noise induced hearing loss, I was too afraid to accept it as I know it’s permanent, but it is noise induced.
       
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    13. Artem
      Frustrated

      Artem Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      vaccine + acoustic trauma
      Hey! Is there any hope for us?
       
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    14. Stacken77
      Wishful

      Stacken77 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise (likely headphones & cars), Acoustic trauma did me in
      Sounds good. Having it checked out is always a good initial call, even if the tests might not be as revealing.
      Just so you know; tinnitus isn't necessarily the end to music. I actually invested in a nice HiFi-setup post-tinnitus. There's nothing wrong with listening with speakers on reasonable, low level, like 50 dB. It might not give the same "kick" as loud music do, but it can still very much be enjoyable.
      Nobody in this world deserves tinnitus.
      Don't be too hard on yourself. Start working towards acceptance. Try to find ways to go about your life as normally as can be (with hearing protection), and with time I think you'll start to feel better. Your tinnitus may be here to stay, but if you take care of your ears, it may get milder in the coming months.

      I think you'll be fine, and do great things.

      Best regards,
      Stacken
       
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    15. Stacken77
      Wishful

      Stacken77 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise (likely headphones & cars), Acoustic trauma did me in
      Depends on what we mean by 'hope'.

      If it means to regain power, freedom and peace in our life: then, yes, absolutely! But in terms of complete remission of tinnitus; that's more unlikely.
       
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    16. Damocles
      No Mood

      Damocles Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear Infection
      Oh there's hope.

      We just have to wait for our leader to arrive to take us on our journey of ascension. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

      Meg joins a cult - Family Guy
       
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    17. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      That is the first part of the healing process Harry, to admit that you have been listening to audio too loud through headphones. I was just the same when I got tinnitus 25 years ago but eventually had to admit that it was my fault. When I was seen at ENT, the doctor asked what do I think caused the tinnitus? I dithered and used every excuse under the sun. He then asked if I used headphones and I said yes, quite a lot but not too loud a volume. A whimsical smile crept across his face and he said: "Come on, admit it you've been listening to music too loud". I had to agree.

      Michael
       
    18. Damocles
      No Mood

      Damocles Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear Infection
      Seriously though @Artem, an effective treatment could make itself known at anytime, we just have no way of predicting when that might be.

      In the meantime (as @Stacken77 has already said) our "hope" lies in our brain's (remarkable) ability to adapt.

      Please don't worry, there are hundreds of people on this forum that were struggling (just like yourself) who are living proof of how you can stabilise, and live a fulfilling life despite this illness, until that day arrives.
       
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    19. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      HarryG20
      Sad

      HarryG20 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      22/10/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Possibly early hydrops/ Ménière’s Disease
      Aural fullness has been really bad all day and the ringing has got really awful, loudest it’s been.

      What’s causing this? What do I do? Worse when I lie down. All in my left ear feeling very blocked, now my right feels blocked and is starting to ring. My left is popping and crackling like mad, there is no wax but I feel like there is something deep inside.

      Please help.
       
    20. russiancarl

      russiancarl Member

      Hi Harry, hope you are doing well.

      I see a lot of people here commenting on your headphone usage being the cause of your problems. Which could certainly be true. But you also mentioned a cold that left your ears feeling weird after. This could easily be the cause as well.

      If you search around the forum you will see a lot of folks who got tinnitus after a cold that perhaps caused some Eustachian tube dysfunction. ETD can definitely cause crackling in your ear and a feeling of fullness. The good news is that it often resolves over time, perhaps a few months. You can try opening them up by taking long hot showers, or breathing in steam for 10 minutes at a time a few times per day. Just something to investigate.

      Hopefully you can get to an ENT soon and they can make a real diagnosis after a hearing test and exam.

      Until then, try and stay as strong as you can. Tinnitus for vast majority of people improves and diminishes over time. The first few months are the hardest but do your best to be kind to yourself and try to leave some sounds on at all time. Best of luck.
       
    21. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      HarryG20
      Sad

      HarryG20 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      22/10/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Possibly early hydrops/ Ménière’s Disease
      I think I’ve got Ménière’s/hydrops or a brain problem. The fullness is getting worse, it’s now constant. Sometimes the tinnitus is audible, sometimes I can barely hear it, this changes every few hours. I’m getting worse headaches when bending over, and shooting pains all over the back of my head.

      I don’t know what to do?
       
    22. DimLeb

      DimLeb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      14/03/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Idiopathic Cochleopathy Or Maybe Loud Music
      @HarryG20, I believe Meniere's or hydrops would have specific episodes and even hearing loss and balance issues that would come and go.

      It seems really weird to me that they set your ENT appointment 2 months away. Is there any way to speed that up? At least they could do an audiogram to see for any hearing loss patterns.

      I can't really help you more, as I myself am on the same boat not knowing the cause and what not. I hope the new year brings you relief!
       
    23. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      HarryG20
      Sad

      HarryG20 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      22/10/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Possibly early hydrops/ Ménière’s Disease
      @DimLeb, I had an ENT appointment a month ago. They tested my hearing and said it was ok. I had a 30 dB loss at 250 Hz in my good ear! However, my pressure tests came back fine. My low frequencies for my bad ear were worse than my high frequencies, 10-15 dB. My highs were much better. My hearing has got worse in my left ear, everything sounds very tinny. I did my own hearing test and my lows in my left ear are at 20-25 dB. The congestion in the ear happens all the time but the hearing loss and tinnitus is fluctuating. I have not experienced any vertigo yet fortunately, however I have been suffering from some pretty constant dizziness since then.

      I think I’ve got Ménière’s developing. Right at the start of the 20-50 age range, I’m 20 years old, just turned 1.5 months ago. I get my MRI results back soon. I’m now hearing tinnitus in my right ear as well now.
       
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