Intermittent Unilateral Tinnitus — Short Bursts of Static/Buzzing/Crackle with Silence in Between

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by jspeakman, Dec 29, 2021.

    1. jspeakman

      jspeakman Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2 weeks
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hi there.

      I would be very grateful for any advice on my tinnitus which started about 2 weeks ago. I have had it before about 2 years ago but it did go away after about a week. Both this and the time before in my left ear only.

      It is intermittent comprising about a 5 second burst of loud static/buzzing/crackle - a bit hard to describe exactly. Roughly 30 seconds of no noise between each burst apart from a single tick or click sounds. The sound is either spontaneous or can be triggered by running water, kettle boiling etc.

      Just wondered if anyone has similar and has found a way to deal with it as it is pretty maddening?

      I tried masking with other sounds on headphones with limited success as the masking sounds, e.g., music/white noise, tends to trigger it and it is pretty loud.

      Hearing is generally ok for my age (68).

      Local doctor checked ears and found no problem. I am hoping to book an Audiology assessment in New Year when the department opens.

      Just wondered if this was common and if someone has any tips?

      Thanks.
       
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    2. GeorgeLG
      Wishful

      GeorgeLG Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Leaf blower after yrs of rock guitar, constr & comp shooting
      Tinnitus affects about 20% of the population and for most it does not have a debilitating effect on their lives. In many cases it appears to be a feature of aging and probably associated with a lifetime of sound exposures and/or degeneration or an inflammatory process, similar to joint wear and arthritis. For others it can be the result of a trauma event like a loud noise exposure, an infection, an ototoxicity medication, or head trauma. There are also a number of nerve issues like TMJ and so forth.

      The usual advice is to give it time because many cases resolve on their own. The exception to this would be severe pain, hearing loss or evidence of a nasty infection which should involve immediate medical evaluation. If it does not resolve on its own then at some point you can go through the process of ruling out any treatable underlying condition by seeing an ENT, getting a hearing test, and possibly blood tests and scans. For the majority of people this will not produce any answers and the experience can be quite frustrating because most doctors are not very experienced in treating this condition. For a few an underlying cause is identified and might be treatable so it can be worth exploring.

      Protection from loud exposures and avoidance of toxic drugs and food triggers is the usual advice along with rest if noise trauma was the cause. Be careful not to overprotect because you can become more sensitive if you are reactive to sounds.

      Many people explore the vast subject of supplements and some report significant improvement which gets people's attention but the majority of people report no benefit. I believe that if you have deficiency then you will respond. There is a study which reports a 50% reduction in volume perception with B12 supplementation but only if you are deficient initially. Since we are all biomechanically different there are no consistent results and some trial and error is needed. Typical choices are NAC, turmeric, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, B12, lipoflavonoids, vitamin C, ... You will find threads here on the subject.

      Some resort to medications especially if there is severe sleep deprivation or anxiety or depression. These drugs have their place and can even be life saving but be careful because dependency can be devastating such as with benzos. I went through benzo withdrawal in the 90s and it was brutal. I eventually found other ways to cope. No judgement, just be careful. Same with alcohol, recreational drugs, etc.

      There is mounting evidence that our thoughts and emotions play a role in how this condition affects us and how we recover or adapt. The total impact on our lives is a combination of the perceived volume, type of sounds, and our emotional relationship with it. Some people are quite relaxed about the whole thing saying things like oh that, ya I hear it in a quiet room or there you are my old friend. Other people become quite obsessed about the whole situation monitoring, measuring, assigning volume numbers, labels to the sounds, going into quiet rooms to find it, etc. They get caught in a fear cycle and get consumed with what ifs and catastrophic thinking. There is a similar process described in chronic pain research with similar approaches to treatment. Many believe that the unaffected are mild cases and the heavily impacted are severe cases, in a physical sense.

      I believe that our emotions, our reaction to the sounds combine with the sounds to generate the total impact to our lives. Our conscience mind is involved in how severe our case is to us. The good news is that we have control over our emotions, our thoughts. Scientists are learning more everyday about our brains ability to rewire and work around neurological problems - neuroplacticity. This concept is on display in recovering stroke victims with permanent partial brain damage who later recover. Also, There are also multiple techniques for breaking the link between traumatic memories and physical suffering like with PTSD patients. Members here have reported significant improvements by following some of the many exercises to turn down the emotional intensity and start to ignore the sounds. Examples are CBT, mindfulness, somatic tracking, EMDR, ... A popular thread here teaches Back to Silence which is as good a start as any. Members here report significant improvement using this method.

      Be careful, this subject generates a lot of negative reactions, even anger and rage. Don’t let that deter you, this comes from people who are not ready to do this work. This is OK, they have their own journey but don’t let this hold you back from being able to enjoy your life. New ideas and change have been rejected since the beginning of mankind. We once thought the earth was flat and there are entire societies dedicated to keeping that theory alive. No offense intended to those who are members of the flat earth society but I am focusing on the documented science behind these concepts. The first scientists that suggested that the earth revolves around the sun were put on trial and sentenced to death. Sometimes new ideas are vigorously attacked because they make people very uncomfortable and challenge them to abandon sacred long standing assumptions. Others have deep need to hang on to their illness and resolving it would be like losing their identity their badge of honor. Knowledge and learning is power, not ignorance and rejection. I have found relief from multiple chronic health problems through my 6 decades by exploring my emotional relationship with my illnesses, including chronic pain and tinnitus.

      Use this excellent resource to gain knowledge and guidance for treatment but do not spend too much time going down the rabbit hole of desperation and negative stories as this will not help you and may make things worse. Read some success stories for encouragement and ignore the negative comments about people who have gotten better. If you come to believe that recovery is possible for you then you will improve.

      All the best,


      George
       
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    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      jspeakman

      jspeakman Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2 weeks
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thank you so much George - very inspiring and helpful. Hopefully this will go away as it did last time but I am fortunate to be a practising Buddhist which is really helpful in tackling this kind of change in a positive way.

      I would like to know if others have experience of the same kind of tinnitus and would be nice to know a) what might be the cause and b) whether it is treatable.

      Thanks again,
      Jeremy
       
    4. GeorgeLG
      Wishful

      GeorgeLG Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Leaf blower after yrs of rock guitar, constr & comp shooting
      You're welcome. Hopefully you find your freedom in the stillness.

      George
       
    5. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Hi @jspeakman.

      Although it reads on your profile cause of tinnitus unknown, more often than not something usually causes it. The most common cause is exposure to loud noise and typically, it is using headphones, earbuds, AirPods or headsets at too high a volume without realizing it. If you have been exposed to loud noise or go going to venues where loud music is played, or using any type of headphones that I have mentioned above, then this is the likely cause of your tinnitus.

      If the tinnitus is not noise related then it could be linked to an underlying medical condition within your auditory system, this also includes hearing loss. It is good that you are going to see an audiologist to get your hearing checked. If your tinnitus is noise induced, I do not recommend you listen to audio through headphones even at low volume, as there's a risk the tinnitus could be made worse.

      Use low level sound enrichment during the day and especially at night by using a sound machine. More about this is explained in the links below.

      All the best,
      Michael

      New to Tinnitus, What to Do? | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
      Tinnitus, A Personal View | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
       
    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      jspeakman

      jspeakman Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2 weeks
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Just wanted to thank people for their generous and very helpful contributions. Feeling much more positive, particularly as severity seems to be subsiding.

      Happy New Year!

      Jeremy
       
    7. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      jspeakman

      jspeakman Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2 weeks
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I wonder if I really do have tinnitus as such Initially it comprised regular 5 second bursts of static like noise repeated every 30 second, quite loud and only affecting my left ear.

      It has now subsided thankfully to about a 5 to 10 second bursts but only triggered by distinctive ambient noises eg boiling kettle, vacuum cleaner, car passing close by, radio etc... At other times hearing seems fine.

      Just wondered if this is really tinnitus or some specific hearing problem. Plan to see an audiologist anyway but would be grateful for comments.

      Many thanks and happy New Year.
       
    8. Forever hopeful
      Depressed

      Forever hopeful Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015 resolved, 4/20 L ear, increase 2/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2015,noise,2020-21 SNHL
      Interesting. So there’s a condition called sudden brief unilateral tapering tinnitus. But that basically happens when you get a very brief loud unilateral squealing or ringing that tapers over a period of seconds to minutes. I guess this afflicts a number of people both with and without chronic tinnitus.

      For me, recently I will get a mild ringing in my left ear that comes for a period of time and goes. It’s like an all dial tone of a phone. I hate it. It has happened twice over the last month. I have to say it’s really freaking me out.

      I had it for a few months last year as well following a dip in my hearing. After a long course of steroids, my hearing recovered and the noise resolved.

      I am going to see my ENT on Monday. I’m going to ask if it is normal that you can get tinnitus for a brief period and then have it stop.

      I will let you know what she says.
       
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