Just Diagnosed Today

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by WendyE, Jan 20, 2015.

    1. WendyE

      WendyE Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Hi Everyone,

      I'm so glad to have found this forum. My heart goes out to everyone who is currently having difficulty coping with tinnitus. I'm hoping that in time I'll gradually habituate and find this easier to deal with.

      My tinnitus is very low pitched, a humming sound with occasional extreme pressure in my left ear, especially when sitting and lying down. It's unbearable at night unless masked with low pitched white noise such as a train or airplane. I can also stop the humming by putting a finger in the affected ear.

      My tinnitis started in mid December, about a month ago. I've been a full time care giver for my husband who has pancreatic cancer and cannot function at all on his own. He is extremely hard of hearing and blasts the TV. He hates to be alone so I spent 4 or 5 days sitting with him, holding my ears, using ear plugs, and trying to ignore the loud noise. Then the humming began. Humming, noises sounding much louder than normal, stuffiness in my ears. Sometimes I fell like I'm in an echo chamber and I constantly have to pop and clear my ears. At other times I only hear the humming. I've actually awakened several mornings without hearing the humming but it returned later in the day with a vengeance. Sometimes when walking my hearing is affected, especially in my left ear.

      When I'm out and about during the day, there are times when I don't notice the humming at all. It's much better out of the house. But unfortunately I can't get out that frequently.

      I've been to 2 ENTs. My hearing has been tested twice and is normal. The first doctor sent me home with Flonase and didn't actually diagnose tinnitus. Today the second doctor told me it was tinnitus and prescribed prednisone to be taken for 12 days, I'm assuming to reduce inflammation. I have to go back in two weeks for a follow up.

      I've been undergoing tremendous stress having to deal with tinnitus now, especially having to be strong for my husband. I feel extremely guilty even complaining about this knowing what he is going through.

      Any thoughts would be appreciated :)
      • Hug Hug x 4
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    2. RichL

      RichL Member Benefactor

      Palmerston North NZ
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      Hi Wendy, so sad to hear your predicament and my heart goes out to you and your husband.

      Sounds like it could have been brought on by stress,
      I would say if you have inflammation it might just be best to let it run it's course and try and stay away from noisy situations and reduce your stress and hopefully it may sort itself out.

      Most ENT's are useless, I would suggest if it doesn't resolve itself when the inflammation goes, your best bet is to see a proper Tinnitus specialist.

      When you are under stress your hearing is more susceptible to damage so they are finding out, I don't know how loud your husband had the TV, but I'm not sure that a TV has the ability to go up to an ear damaging level, but then again not knowing how loud it was, only you can answer that.

      Hope things improve for you, you have come to the right place anyway.:)

      Regards Rich
      • Like Like x 1
    3. AUTHOR

      WendyE Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Hi Rich,

      Thanks for the kind words.

      My ears have always been quite sensitive. I stopped going to concerts years ago because I found the noise unbearable while everyone else seemed to be enjoying the music and it didn't seem to bother them. Now most of my friends and relatives have at least some degree of hearing loss. In my husband's case he is almost totally deaf in one ear and has much reduced hearing in his other ear, so he really does turn the TV up almost all the way. I'm looking into getting him TV ears or some device so that he can turn up the sound for himself and I can listen to it at a normal volume.

      I'm not sure how to locate a Tinnitus specialist. I've searched the web and haven't found anyone in this area. There is an Audiology clinic that specializes in Tinnitus, but no doctors that I've been able to find. I live within 20 minutes from New York City. If anyone could recommend a doctor that would be a tremendous help.
      • Hug Hug x 1
    4. Kaelon

      Kaelon Member Benefactor

      Boston, Mass.
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Muscle Spasms
      Hi @WendyE,

      Firstly, I am so sorry to hear about your recent acquisition of Tinnitus. My heart truly goes out to you, as I know what you are going through in caring for an ill loved one; your husband is so fortunate to have such a caring and dedicated spouse, given the rough journey that he is on.

      Secondly, you should take solace in knowing that it's very early for you still and, the fact that you are able to stop Tinnitus by putting a finger in your ear, means that your condition is diagnosable and treatable, if not outright curable. Many low-level hums/roars are the result of so-called venous hums, a vascular condition that emerges in periods of high inflammation and stress. If you've had very sensitive ears in the past (like you mentioned), and have noticed fluttering sensations in your ears from time to time, you are more pre-disposed to these sorts of vascular aggravations.

      The prednisone should help you. I presume your doctor prescribed a traditional 12-day taper (starting at 50 or 60 mg for two days, and then dropping by 10 mg each day). It's important to stick to the taper exactly, so that your adrenal glands do not become dependent upon prednisone (though for such a short period of time and at this therapeutic dose, Addisonian crises or complications from prednisone are very, very remote). I took prednisone for my Eustachian Tube Dysfunction / Inflammation (the likely cause of my Tinnitus), and I noticed immediate relief within the first 48 hours. The prednisone will significantly suppress your immune system to halt the inflammation, which has likely built around the venous hum. This will give your body a chance to adjust and possibly resolve the venous hum (or similar condition); if it doesn't resolve it, it will give your brain the breathing room it needs to prepare for habituation.

      I've been dealing with Tinnitus now for 3 months, and it's a journey. Unbearable during the first ~60 days or so, but as I started to discover ways to reduce it (and learned that some sort of Eustachian Tube Dysfunction is to blame in my case), I was able to find relief. The fact that you (a) know how to stop it, and (b) can successfully mask the noise are all good signs that your condition will improve considerably. In most cases, Tinnitus fades or resolves within the first six months -- though there are no hard or fast rules for this. Whether through fading or habituation, most people overcome Tinnitus in the first year of having it.

      If inflammation is the root cause of your venous hum, you may wish to consider other anti-inflammatory regimens to help. This thread here is a good starting point, though your condition is most likely not directly related to Eustachian Tube inflammation -- the general anti-inflammatory rules herein can only help you.

      I will be keeping you and your husband in my thoughts. Welcome to Tinnitus Talk!
    5. billie48

      billie48 Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not sure
      Whatever the cause of the tinnitus, right now the problem is stress. Having T yourself plus caring for a love one with cancer is stressful for any one. So it is important to play a smart mental game with T because T feasts on stress and anxiety. I know it is easier than done, but staying calm and positive is the best way to manage your way forward. Take all the positives you can get, such as not having unbearable high pitch ringing like some member have, and that you already have time during the day not noticing T. These are the positives for a new T. The more you are positive, the less stress and the less T can bother you. Don't feel guilty about our rant because of T. Firstly, T is such a alien experience for people and so stress will build up when we can't seem to shake it off with whatever means. including medicines. We are just human. Secondly, when we are under the control of the limbic system, the fight or flight mode will cause us to feel worse about things. Such anxiety can generate symptoms of which feeling abnormal guilt can be a result. How do I know? Well, I have years of anxiety and panic disorder before T, and tell me about the monstrous guilty feelings during anxiety attacks. So try to relax and stay calm. Hope the ENT can help you, but as usual like others say, ENT normally can't do anything much for T unless it has a medical cause in the ears.
      • Like Like x 1
    6. BobDigi
      Kick ass

      BobDigi Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise
      Don't feel guilty because you are struggling to cope. Tinnitus is a very stressful problem in its early days. Just because people have bigger problems, doesn't make your problem any easier to deal with.
      And looking after someone with cancer, isn't as bad as having cancer, but it's still very stressful.
      Perhaps the stress your under, caused your tinnitus, but I doubt it. Especially as you can stop your t.
      The fact you can even stop your t, sounds like a good thing.
      I don't even try giving medical advise. But I can tell you right now is the hardest part of t. It gets a lot easier. I can't predict how long it will take, but you will get to a point where you deal with it a lot better.
      Try to refrain from using earplugs right now. Perhaps your husband could use headphones?
      Anyway, mask it at night if you have too (try a fan or another sound), stay as positive as you can, and hold on to the fact it may go. And if it does, it will only get easier.
      Good luck x
      • Agree Agree x 1
    7. SleeplessSoul

      SleeplessSoul Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Hi WendyE,

      I have very similar symptoms. I can put my finger in the affected ear and the hum stops. I have tried to figure out why too.

      I thought it may have been jaw strain as I am having issues there. Or, I had some fluid on there briefly but it left after taking Afrin. I too was prescribed Flonase by the second ENT, who said I had post nasal drip and stiff and rounded eardrum; and the first ENT wrote it off as muscular after mostly normal hearing test and "normal"' tymp test.
      Dealing with T and taking care of your husband must be extremely difficult to say the least and my heart goes out to you. You and your husband will be in my thoughts.
      Any ideas , thoughts or treatments that help would be so appreciated.

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