I Woke Up to Ringing in the Ears — ENT Thinks I Have Stress-Induced Tinnitus

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by WarrenV9, Jul 1, 2021.

    1. WarrenV9

      WarrenV9 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hi all. My tinnitus case is fairly recent. On the 1st of June this year (2021) I woke up with a high pitched ringing in both ears. I was unable to go back to sleep so I woke up slightly earlier than usual. It then faded and I thought nothing of it. However, on the 2nd of June, I woke up with the same ringing but this time it did not fade. I panicked and called my GP. I then went to get examined but there were no signs of anything abnormal apart from a build up of earwax. So two days later, I went to a private clinic to get the wax removed. However, this made no difference at all to the tinnitus.

      So I called NHS 111 (the non emergency helpline in the UK). I eventually got through to an ENT doctor who said my symptoms sounded like a bacterial middle ear infection and I should take some antibiotics to clear it up. I only had some slight ear pain and no discharge. But regardless, I took the medication and halfway through the course, the ringing got slightly less louder and was only audible in the evenings and when lying down to sleep. I thought that the tinnitus would eventually go away. However, it persisted so I got referred to an ENT doctor to be examined. In the meantime, my tinnitus was fairly manageable until this past Sunday (the 27th) where I woke up with louder ringing noise mostly in my left ear.

      Since then, it persists on and off throughout the day. It is significantly worse in the night time. I went to see the ENT doctor yesterday and he said there's no signs of infection and he thinks it's stress induced tinnitus. He said he had this himself in the past and it might just go away eventually like it did for him. I also did a private hearing test and had normal results.

      I'm quite sceptical about the ENT doctor's diagnosis because I was not aware of any significant stress in my life that could cause something like this. I had some anxiety during the pandemic but was definitely feeling much much better about life just before the tinnitus started. I mentioned to the ENT doctor that I thought it might be somatic and he simply said "it could be". I'm going to see my osteopath for any treatments like cranial osteopathy which could help.

      I'm just wondering, has anyone experienced tinnitus in the same way? I have no hearing loss, no severe physical issues, no significant mental health issues and probably didn't even have a middle ear infection to begin with. I'm quite afraid of the possibility that this will last forever. At the same time, I haven't read about anyone who didn't have at least one known cause of long term tinnitus!

      Any other advice would be appreciated!
       
    2. MOLKO1972
      Fine

      MOLKO1972 Member

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hi WarrenV9,
      I am new to this forum and came across your post. My story is pretty similar to yours. I woke up on 21st May of this year to a ringing noise in my left ear. I'd been suffering with a migraine for the past 2 days and didn't really take much notice of the ringing. The migraine finally went on the 3rd day (same day I woke up with the ringing). I still didn't really take much notice of the ringing until it kept me awake on the 4th night of having it. It wasn't pleasant. I rang my GP the next morning and managed to get a telephone appointment. My GP said to give it at least 10 days and if I was still experiencing symptoms, then to give the surgery a call back. After 10 days and not much sleep, I called my GP again. I managed to get an appointment that day. My GP said I had slight discharge in my ear and prescribed an antibiotic spray to take for 7 days. Took the spray for 7 days and still had the ringing. Made another appointment with my GP and he then prescribed Beconase in case I had a blocked Eustachian tube and also referred me to ENT. In the meantime I had booked an Audiology appointment to rule out any hearing loss. Went to the appointment and hearing loss was ruled out, but suggested I had congestion. I'm too scared to take anything else because I know a lot of medication can make T worse. The Audiologist suggested I stopped taking the Beconase because that can make it worse. I also went to see my chiropractor, as I do suffer with my upper back, shoulders and neck, but he wasn't really much help.

      I have been told that to get an appointment with ENT could take up to 18 weeks on the NHS, but I have since booked a private appointment for next week, as I just don't want to wait that long. I have found that my T seems to be reactive to any kind of noise, so if the TV is on it gets louder. If I am in a quiet room, then my T seems quieter. I have since noticed I have slight ringing in my right ear now. My left has 2 sounds, which is ringing and hissing. Both quite annoying.

      I'm finding I just have to take each day as it comes and cope the best I can. I don't really know what has caused it, as my GP never suggested I had an ear infection, but just slight discharge. I've not been around any loud noises or have any hearing loss. I had the migraine, but my GP seemed to dismiss that. It's quite frustrating.

      I can't really offer much advice I'm afraid, as this is as new to me as it is you.
       
    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      WarrenV9

      WarrenV9 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hi @MOLKO1972, thanks for sharing! That is also quite a unique story. It could be that your potential ear infection is taking a while to clear up. Going private is probably the best idea. I was lucky to get an appointment so early.

      I assumed that I might have had signs of infection but the GP and ENT doctor didn't see anything. I never had any discharge even when it started, just a bit of ear pain and pressure feeling which I think was just related to slight hay fever. Never had any severe symptoms.
       
    4. Leila
      Assassinator

      Leila Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      1 chiropractic treatment, 2 and 3 no cause
      The question is whether there actually is such a thing as stress induced tinnitus. I've got tinnitus for quite some time by now and the one thing I, unfortunately, have come to learn over the years is that there is very little modern medicine can do when it comes to tinnitus.

      Since you are still in the early stages it is a good thing that you're getting professional help so that any underlying issues may be excluded. Once this has been done there isn't much your doctors will be able to offer you when it comes to relief. What helped in my case was a WNG, but it was quite the battle to even be allowed to give them a try.

      As for advice I would suggest you to protect your hearing and stay away from loud noises, but that is something you've probably been doing all along already. If you are a fan of in-ear headphones, try doing without them because they have been reported to cause tinnitus / make it worse. If you haven't found it yet, try mynoise.net and see if there is a noise that might be able to mask your tinnitus (and that doesn't get on your nerves too much). There are also web pages that will allow you to measure your tinnitus in frequency and loudness so that you have a more objective idea where your tinnitus is on the "tinnitus scale". This is also important if you are planning to masking a try without the aid of an audiologist because you ought to make sure that the masking sound doesn't totally mask your tinnitus because this might make things worse. What also helps me is staying active since hings like going for walks and working on projects that need my complete attention somehow seems to dampen my tinnitus.
      The tips I gave to @WarrenV9 may also be applied to reactive tinnitus. You may also want to keep an eye on the things you eat and drink. My tinnitus e.g. gets an extra kick out of red wine and all kinds of instant stuff, but that's easy to avoid once you've noticed the pattern. I haven't found a good solution to external noises yet. My WNGs are a big help but them in addition to my tinnitus noises also make me rather deaf so I have to take them out while driving or if I want to have a conversation or watch a movie or listen to music. The last two I tend to do with foam plugs which helps with the reactiveness but literally puts a damper on things.
      I know that certain medication can make your tinnitus more reactive but since I've never had a negative reaction myself you will have to look / ask around some more. I'm sure you will quickly find somebody willing to offer you some advice.

      I hope this helps a little because I remember how hard it was in the beginning to live without silence.

      Leila
       
    5. MOLKO1972
      Fine

      MOLKO1972 Member

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hi @Leila,
      Thank you for the advice. Could you give me a bit more information on the WNGs please :)
       
    6. Leila
      Assassinator

      Leila Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      1 chiropractic treatment, 2 and 3 no cause
      Hi there @MOLKO1972,

      Of course, I can tell you a bit about my white noise generators. The ones I’m using double as hearing aids with their tinnitus function turned on and their hearing function turned off. Many hearing aids, oftentimes even the cheaper ones, come with this tinnitus function, so you don’t have to invest in the most expensive model if your hearing is unaffected.

      The selection of masking noises isn’t all that big and, because the hearing aids have been designed with a different purpose in mind, some of the noises, especially the more melodic and lower frequency ones, have some kind of a “rasp” to them because the amplifiers weren’t meant for output in this range. The problem is known but the market is too small to invest money into fixing it, at least according to my audiologist.

      It took quite some time to find a masking noise I could live with, especially because I have three tinnitus noises. While the WNG is capable of playing different masking noises (not sure how many, but two I know for sure) simultaneously, it depends on you tinnitus noise(s) whether this one is an option for you or not. In my case it wasn’t because one of my noises is very high frequency and unmaskable because any attempt at masking just made it worse. Even from the noise I picked in the end my audiologist had to filter out everything that came close to that one tinnitus noise in frequency.

      Here in Germany ENTs are very reluctant to even suggest the use of WNGs because according to them most tinnitus sufferer can’t get used to them. They are in so far right that the getting used part has been a challenge, indeed, but I’m glad I insisted and kept on using them because they’ve made quite a difference to me.

      That’s all I can think of at the moment. If you have more questions, feel free to ask.

      Leila

      PS: I’ve read a couple of times that a Bluetooth device will get the job done as well, but since I’ve never tried it myself I can’t advice you on the pros and / or cons.
       
    7. RugbyAdam

      RugbyAdam Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      This sounds exactly like my experience for the last 9 months.

      In August last year I went through a stressful redundancy process at work, with threat of losing my job. I survived but the extreme stress left me with a shrill ringing in ears.

      I saw an ENT privately and he said it was a mixture of stress plus tension in jaw. He recommended a physio who specialises in neck and singing work. He did massages on side of my face / back of head and released the tension over 10 sessions.

      The physio managed to remove the tension and simultaneously I reduced stress at work. Both meant the tinnitus went down to a very low level and I could not hear it.

      I was happy but got a bit complacent. I got into bad habits and tinnitus has come back a bit with work stress. So I am now destressing and may need more physio.

      My advice, lots of destressing techniques because I think this relates to blood pressure: long walks, magnesium, high potassium diet and take a holiday. Also check tension in neck and jaw, which happens during stress.

      Best of luck.
       
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    8. Gandalf

      Gandalf Member

      Location:
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      It's interesting that the physiotherapist helped reduce your tinnitus in that manner. I know that my tinnitus changes in pitch (especially in my right ear) when I contort my jaw. I mentioned this to my ENT but he glossed over it and didn't see the relevance. I've always avoided chiropractors (I'm afraid they'll do something to make matters worse), but physiotherapy and massage seem like a smart move.
       
    9. Vassili
      Balanced

      Vassili Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise-induced
      Hello!

      If your tinnitus might be stress-induced, go to a psychiatrist.
       
    10. CDNThailand

      CDNThailand Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/17/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      MP3, Stress, TMJ
      Try non ototoxic solutions, like NAC, Magnesium, Zinc, Curcumin etc... but don't do anything chemical. If you stick to natural stuff, there is nothing to lose.
       
    11. hopes

      hopes Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Stress induced tinnitus is bullshit imho.

      Everytime something wrong happens in the body and that docs have no clue about what is going on they say it's stress induced.

      Did you go to a concert or did you have a dental appointment before having tinnitus (dental cleaning too)? Also do you often use headphones or earbuds?
       
      • Like Like x 1
      • Agree Agree x 1
    12. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      WarrenV9

      WarrenV9 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thanks, currently trying a few supplements to see if it makes a difference!
       
    13. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      WarrenV9

      WarrenV9 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Yeah it's shocking that they get away with this!

      No, I wasn't at any concerts or any loud environments before the tinnitus started. I was using earbuds a lot during the day when working but was never any issue before. I stopped using those since it started though.
       
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