Intro and My First Month in (Mild Tinnitus)...

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by amillar1993, Sep 10, 2019.

    1. amillar1993

      amillar1993 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      *Long post warning*

      Yo yo yo,

      25-year-old dude here from the UK just beginning my 5th week of tinnitus.

      So, the story so far...

      I've always been conscious of getting tinnitus, not to the point of paranoia, but I was mindful at concerts and wearing ear plugs (especially when going to see bands like Dinosaur Jr, good lord those guys are loud), but as I'm sure most of us have I've probably done things like a bit of sanding/drilling without even thinking about ear protection, or had my headphones up a little too loud at some points.

      I've also always had exceptional hearing.

      So when did I notice it?
      One night whilst in my workshop (soldering, not doing anything loud), I had the fan on & was watching something on Netflix on the iPad. I heard what I thought was a buzzing/ringing from the fan (or like those noises that certain adaptors make when plugged in), it was only when I checked for those things and then pressed against my ear that I realised the noise was in my head.

      Immediately I went into panic mode.

      I don't really know what 'kickstarted' my tinnitus, because within a short period of about 2 months several things happened that could all be contributing factors, including:
      • Trying out a vegetarian diet (that I'd been following for about 5-6 weeks and have since stopped) and not really doing it all that well, to the point where I think there maybe some kind of deficiency.
      • Starting a new job in London the 2 weeks before (I've only worked locally before so it was a bit of a stressful time figuring out how the transition was going to go).
      • Just coming out the other side of picking up a load of freelance work and an increased time spent doing work on my side business on top of my full time job, which had me up until late multiple nights in a row for over a month, 1am was not an unusual time for me to finish, this left me feeling understandably fatigued.
      • Going to the first rehearsal with a new band I'd joined (guitarist) the week before (and didn't have ear protection for), we played loud, but not blisteringly loud, no more than what you'd hear at a regular pub gig on a Friday night every week, nor do I recall any ringing immediately after the event. I continued weekly rehearsals up until last week with ear protection, which hasn't made anything worse, but after last week (which I'll get to in a second) I've put things on hold, for both the tinnitus' sake and my own anxiety.
      • I've also suffered with generalised anxiety, low self-esteem, bouts of depression and always managed to find something to stress myself out about since being a teenager, which I believe are the results from being bullied as a teenager for being slightly 'overweight' which led to suffering with anorexia/bulimia for the best part of 5 years.

      So, there above you have a plethora of possible contributory factors...

      The first 3 weeks I actually didn't pay much attention, the initial panic when I first discovered it went down pretty quickly because there was a bit of a flu/virus floating about our house and I thought that could be contributing to it since my nose/throat/chest were also affected. And apart from anything else it was actually something I couldn't really hear 90% of the time, only if I was sat in a completely silent room or if I covered my ears to block all external sound.

      However, the 4th week was a real struggle. For whatever reason my anxiety decided to get the better of me, leading to a couple of full-on breakdowns/panic attacks. Which obviously left me fixating on the tinnitus, starting that infamous vicious cycle. It was during this week that I started to notice hyperacusis too, I'm not sure if it was always there since the tinnitus started or if I was just so fixated on everything I heard being 'the noise' that it heightened the other symptoms.

      I went to the docs, where they initially referred me to the nurse practitioner, who was absolutely useless. She saw me for a total of 5 minutes, took a cursory glance in my ears to check for an ear wax build up (of which there wasn't any) before searching up tinnitus & hyperacusis and saying 'oh you probably have this, sorry I can't be of more help'. Classic NHS.

      I didn't think this was good enough, I thought surely we should try and find out a possible cause, because a posse cause could lead to a possible solution. So I rebooked and went to see my actual GP. Who has referred me to an ENT at the hospital, of which I'm still awaiting a date for.

      I decided to pay for a private ENT consultation to speed things up slightly, which I went to on Saturday. He was somewhat reassuring in that after I explained the loudness (or lack thereof) of the noise and other symptoms, that my tinnitus is highly likely to be temporary and should dissipate on it's own after a while. He did a couple of tests on my hearing for a burst ear drum and any hearing loss, all of which pointed to nothing being wrong and that I have well above average hearing for a 25-year-old male. He also prescribed some Betahistine which is usually for vertigo in patients with Meniere's disease, I'm only on the 3rd day of taking this so I can't really draw any conclusions yet, he did say it may not help but was worth trying as I had also been noticing an increased number of headrushes and wobbly legs during those 4 weeks. Which again could be contributed to a deficiency of some kind/anaemia etc.

      I have since come to realise it is actually fairly common to have 3-6 month bouts of tinnitus that just goes away. I'm hoping that may well be the case here. As and when the NHS referral comes through I'll likely still go to this just for a second opinion, the doc did say it could even be something like a benign tumour in the neck/ear area. Unlikely I think but I'm not going to rule it out without even checking.

      I'm in a much better place this week after reading some of the success stories on here.

      The 'good' news...

      Over these weeks, it doesn't ever really seem to have gotten any worse.

      Compared to some of the stories I've read, my tinnitus appears to be very mild. Which is another thing that gives me hope it has a higher chance of going away and/or me just getting use to it to the point that it may as well be gone. There's almost a 0% chance of me hearing it outside of the house, almost any kind of ambient noise is enough to drown it out (i.e. the distant motorway, a mild breeze, my idling car engine etc), which is good because it means that a good 80-90% of my day I know I won't hear it, even being in a very standard quiet office environment like mine is enough, although that hasn't stopped me thinking about it, which I'm trying to work on...easier said than done when you're a generally anxious person to begin with.

      I've been masking the noise at night as I find that is really the only time its noticeable, a fan/the TV is more than enough to drown it out. Obviously if I roll on my side and my ear is on the pillow its there, but it is by no means deafeningly loud, there's never been a point where its drowning out external sound. The hyperacusis also seems to be improving on last week.

      What am I attempting to do to help?

      • I've stopped the band stuff for now, not only to avoid being exposed to loud environments but because I can't really get into the right mood to do it at the moment. When I think about it, I've only actually been away from that source of loud noise for just over a week (we had 4 rehearsals and a gig in a pub over the 5 weeks so far), so I'm hoping to maybe see a difference in the coming weeks as I think if that first practice was the main initiating factor, that continuing to go to the rehearsals, even with ear protection, could have been 'maintaining' it.
      • Being very cautious of the level of my headphones, barely turning them past a quarter volume. I've found even that is enough to remove the tinnitus completely when I've got music on. Music is actually one of the most helpful things I've found.
      • Trying to avoid unnecessarily loud situations, that could aggravate it. I'm not actively going out wearing earplugs everywhere as I think that will only make things more sensitive to the H when I take them off.
      • Taking B12, Zinc, Iron & Omega 3 supplements, and beginning to eat meat again for the last 4-5 days, this is kind of my long-shot but aside from the tinnitus I've generally been feeling rough/fatigued and am super pale at the moment, so it seems to be helping overall, whether it'll help the tinnitus is yet to be established.
      • Generally trying to chill out more, if one silver lining can be taken from this whole experience so far its that I'm trying to take more time out to spend with my wonderful fiancé and our 8 month old. She has been an absolute rock for me during this period and its made me realise how much I like family time, I'd been in a rut of working non-stop for months and it seems to be gradually lowering my stress levels.
      • Thinking back to a few years ago when I had some pretty serious knee reconstruction surgery, I completely destroyed my ACL and meniscus cartilage, was in a locked leg brace for six weeks and took a good 9-12 months to recover and build back up the atrophied leg. The feelings I had then were frighteningly similar to how I felt last week, I remember thinking I'd never be happy again and that my leg was permanently ruined. But just over 2 years later, whilst my knee still gives me a bit of stiffness every now and then, I'm able to walk, run and leg press 280kg for reps, which is more than I could do before. The point being that even if my tinnitus stays exactly as it is now and doesn't improve at all, I think its manageable pretty easily, but I think generally from what I've seen, mild tinnitus does tend to improve with time and the right precautions/mindset.

      I'll try and be somewhat active on here and post updates, maybe weekly, who knows. I'll have to see what kind of mood I'm in as and when it comes. I'm sure there will still be down days, but I'm fairly hopeful things will improve over the next few months, worst case scenario I just sleep with the fan on for the rest of my life...:rolleyes:
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    2. Phendran

      Phendran Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Welcome to the fleet.

      We hope you will stay with us and raise awareness.
    3. AUTHOR

      amillar1993 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      So, quick update...

      Over the last 2-3 days I've noticed some improvements:

      • The baffling/fullness in my ear seems to have stopped, I maybe get a few minutes of it first thing in the morning but I think that may just be from me getting up/moving about & getting my blood flowing. I don't appear to get it during the entire day like I was previously.
      • Hyperacusis also seems to have gone with it, louder sounds don't seem to be 'distorting' anymore as they were before. I mainly noticed this at the gym, the clanging of a barbell hitting the rack would usually have set it off but it doesn't seem to be anymore. If anything I think I'm just more aware of the sounds around me now, previously I think it wouldn't have even registered.
      • Tinnitus seems to have dropped in volume, it was always very low to begin with but it seems to have still dropped a bit (or maybe my attitude to it is just getting better), if I fully cover my ears it seems to be just a bit louder than the level of the normal blood flowing/whooshing noises you'd hear anyway. In a quiet room the sound of my own breathing is usually enough to cover it up. It may well be the case that I've had some level of T for a little while and this little spike has brought it to the forefront of my mind.
      One thing I have noticed is that my 'bad' ear seems to click/pop and 'fill out' more when I chew, swallow or blow my nose. For as long as I can remember I've always had an issue with having a blocked nose (mostly in the nostril on the same side as my 'bad' ear), this is especially noticeable when I eat, sometimes I get a mucus build up in my throat too after eating. I've tried decongestant sprays and tablets, they don't really seem to do much. I'd never really given it much thought but I'll bring that up with the NHS ENT when I see them as it could suggest a ETD of some sort, maybe there's a build up of something in there somewhere.

      The last thing I've noticed, which seems to correlate with the hyperacusis & baffling going down/away, is an intermittent, mild stabbing pain/tickling in my ear. Its not particularly painful, more just something I've noticed. I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing, or whether I was just not noticing it before because the hyperacusis & baffling were more prevalent.

      Overall it seems like things are improving from a few weeks ago.
    4. AUTHOR

      amillar1993 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Oh I forgot to add, I had a couple of episodes of fleeting T last week, basically 3 days in a row for about 10 seconds. But haven't had any of that since then, it was a weird sensation that seemed to be related to the build up of pressure/fullness I was feeling. The last time it happened I knew it was coming because I could feel my ear 'filling up'.

      But in any case thats all gone.
    5. LostOutWest
      Not amused

      LostOutWest Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hi there - reading your posts and hoping you’re feeling better. I’m on week three of Tinnitus with a fairly similar situation / pattern as you. Was wondering how you were doing? I hope you’re improving.
    6. basma

      basma Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      One month
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Really likes reading your story and very interesting too ... hopefully you will get better and it's just a phase due to stress etc. Mine is mild too ... I seem to hear it only when in my bedroom lying down (I wake up with ringing that goes away as soon as I stand up and start moving my neck) which makes me semi convinced it related to my neck and sleeping position in addition to allergies (hay fever)
    7. Deniseh

      Deniseh Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      July 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Possibly b12/folic acid deficiency and GERD
      Hi amillar1993

      Just reading your post and cannot believe how similar your symptoms are to mine, the lightheaded ness, the ET popping and the ear fullness.

      I have also been researching acid reflux/GERD/LPR causing ETD which I think may be causing my symptoms.

      Have you also noticed a build up of pressure in your head when your ear blocks?, mine starts in my left (the bad ear) and can go right up to my nose and down my neck as well, so annoying and also make me lightheaded.

      Hope everything keeps getting better for you, keep us posted
    8. Digital Doc

      Digital Doc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise induced
      Sounds like mostly a delayed spike from the rehearsal with the band set this off, along with some life stressors, like the new job.

      Be sure to continue to protect your ears from noise exposure.

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