Long-Term Tinnitus Recently Worse (Or Am I Imagining Things?)

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Clerkp, Nov 3, 2021.

    1. Clerkp

      Clerkp Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2000
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Music
      Hi all,

      New to the forum. 46-year-old male. Have had tinnitus as long as I can remember... likely noise induced. Too many rock concerts and too much loud music as a teenager. Since about 30, I have been very careful to protect my ears. Almost no concerts and if I do, I wear earplugs. I do listen to headphones but keep the volume low.

      For the most part, I've lived my life free from much bother. Historically, I sleep with a fan running very low and a TV on. This has been enough for me to cope without much fuss. Never been a great sleeper but I never chalked tinnitus up to the cause.

      About 6 weeks ago, I started waking in the middle of the night to what I am perceiving to be very loud tinnitus. It seems to be screaming at night. I am fairly certain it is in fact louder. What I am not certain about is whether anything has changed historically or perhaps I have gotten fixated on it. In any event, it is absolutely making it very hard for me to sleep.

      I can't chalk it up to anything in particular. I did try Propecia (Finasteride, took about 10 pills) and quit because I worried that it might be affecting my tinnitus I've been off of it for 2 weeks. I am constantly under stress during the day but no real change there. My blood pressure is a bit high but always has been.

      I went through a very rough 2 weeks of little to no sleep. I have adjusted somewhat but making my fan louder and adding a white noise machine and taking Melatonin. My tinnitus is very high pitched and hard to mask - I need rain sounds or something like that. When I go to sleep in this environment, I typically cannot hear my tinnitus at bedtime unless I focus on it. When I wake up 2 hours later, it's very apparent to my ears. In the morning, it seems to quiet down within 30 minutes or so. During the day, it doesn't really bother me much and seems to return to "baseline". At times, I forget it's even there. I tried the Bose SleepBuds but plugging my ears makes the tinnitus louder so I have to increase the volume. I am concerned about long term use of earbuds overnight even at low volume and I generally do not enjoy the sensation of earbuds.

      Just trying to make sense of all of this. Is it possible for it to in fact be louder at night, every night? And if so, why? And why am I noticing this now after 20 plus years? I am coping better but wish it would go back to the way it was even though I'm not hopeful it will. Sometimes I think it has gone back to baseline but then night comes... so strange. If anything, I would think nighttime would calm things down.

      If I were to gauge tinnitus at night I would put it at a 5 or 6 with 10 being a reference point for an evening after a concert (where ears will scream for a day or so). Before bed a 3 or 4.

      Anyway, any observations would be appreciated. Thanks!
       
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    2. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Clerkp

      Clerkp Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2000
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Music
      I always assumed my tinnitus was noise induced. My hearing tested within normal limits - it's even "good". In particular, my high frequency up to 8 kHz tests were strong. Only a slight dip at 500 Hz. The ENT was confident that if my tinnitus was noise induced, the hearing test would reveal high frequency hearing loss. Am I correct that this is not correct? And that I still could very well have noise induced tinnitus even if my hearing is normal up to 8 kHz? I just want to make sure I understand the facts.

      BTW, @Michael Leigh, the ENT was adamant that low volume headphone use was safe. I probed quite a bit on this. Just sharing the data point.
       
    3. kingsfan
      Haunting

      kingsfan Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Coolifornia
      Tinnitus Since:
      9-17-20 / 10-20-20 / 3-31-21 / 5-23-21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      turning everything up to 11
      Almost a month and no one has replied to you.

      A quick Google search brought up that Propecia can affect GABA receptors. Your brain may need some time to adjust after stopping the medication. I would discuss it with your doctor. Maybe tapering slowly off of it would be better than stopping cold turkey.
       
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    4. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      I have covered this numerous of times in this forum. ENT doctors are physicians, not tinnitus specialists. They treat underlying medical conditions within the auditory system that cause tinnitus and there are many. However, they do not treat tinnitus. Most of them know very little about tinnitus because this is not their area of expertise.

      Your ENT doctor is telling you what you want to hear. If you want to use headphones then do so. If your tinnitus becomes worse and it can each time you use any type of headphones, your doctor might not be able to help you. Many people in this forum that have noise induced tinnitus, as I do, share my opinion on headphones. I have advised you to type headphones in the search box at the top of this page and read the posts.

      Since you and others prefer to listen to doctors because they are medically qualified but have no long term experience living with noise induced tinnitus, and the potential risk one is taking using headphones then please go ahead.

      I wish you well.
      Michael
       
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    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Clerkp

      Clerkp Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2000
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Music
      I didn’t say I agreed or disagreed and I don’t think they have any reason to tell me what I “want” to hear. They are doctors.

      I said I was sharing the information as a data point for others. My more pertinent question was really whether they were correct that my tinnitus is likely not noise induced based on my hearing test.
       
    6. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      I disagree with your ENT doctor. My hearing test revealed my hearing is better than normal and yet I have noise induced tinnitus.
       
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    7. Flet
      Alienated

      Flet Member

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @Clerkp, your story sounds so much like my intro post. I too am 46, and have had tinnitus since I was 20/21. It really bothered me at the beginning, but somewhere over the last 25 years I guess I habituated (there was no internet and information to access, so all these terms are new to me NOW, even though I've had this forever). But suddenly this past April 2021, it got louder, and even again in September. Now I've been all consumed with my tinnitus because it feels like it's something brand new. I feel for you.
       
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    8. DaveFromChicago

      DaveFromChicago Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Headcold/Flu
      To Clerkp:

      Ignore Michael Leigh.

      I do not know what is so very troublingly wrong with him, but for years with truly astounding obnoxiousness and insufferable pigheadedness he has picked quarrels with anyone who even slightly disagrees with him even when his advice is just plain wrong and at times counterproductive.

      Can you believe that he is indignant about how anyone of us might "prefer to listen to Doctors because they are Medically Qualified" instead of him? (who possesses no credentials whatsoever).

      As I remarked, just completely forget about his commentary and be your own Best Doctor.

      I long ago learned not to become aggravated by feeding into his inappropriately provocative remarks.
       
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    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
      To @DaveFromChicago:

      I agree that Michael isn't the ultimate authority on tinnitus truth, but he do have some good pieces of advice.
      Doctors don't know anything more than us regarding tinnitus, even if they're "Medically Qualified". The medical field is still in the stone age with regards to tinnitus. I therefore value the advice from those who's had long first hand experience with the condition a lot higher than that of a doctor whose advice relies on outdated information.

      Stacken
       
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    10. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Clerkp

      Clerkp Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2000
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Music
      Well, as my tinnitus is getting better, I somehow have developed a new issue. In my right ear, starting about 3 days ago, I started getting a few slight pop or clicking sound. It is involuntary and happens fairly consistently and randomly. It is not loud. It is very quiet. It sounds like my ears are trying to pop. It ebbs and flows and has stopped for a while from time to time. It's only been 3 days so I have some hope it will subside. However, even though it is not loud it is really bothersome particularly at night. On the bright side, it takes my focus of my tinnitus on the downside, it is every bit as bothersome because I can't seem to stop it.

      I was at the ENT yesterday for my tinnitus. They suggested I give it a couple of weeks and prescribed nasal steroids. Perhaps to see if this has to do with my tubes. I took the spray last night and things seemed to improve but it's back today. The ENT mentioned myoclonus as a possibility. Can't get a second appointment for 6 weeks.

      Seems like I can't win. This just appeared out of nowhere. Any ideas? Thanks.
       
    11. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Clerkp

      Clerkp Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2000
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Music
      As a follow up, my sound is more like a "click" or "pop" sometimes it's associated with an ear pop. Am I correct that myoclonus presents as more of a "thump" than a click?
       
    12. kingsfan
      Haunting

      kingsfan Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Coolifornia
      Tinnitus Since:
      9-17-20 / 10-20-20 / 3-31-21 / 5-23-21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      turning everything up to 11
      Does the popping happen randomly or does it react to sound?
       
    13. DaveFromChicago

      DaveFromChicago Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Headcold/Flu
      To Stacken77:

      Michael Leigh has frequently commented that there is no danger in getting microsuction when too-many-to-count responders have reported that they either got tinnitus from this procedure or had it noticeably aggravated. His advice is not just ill-advised but pernicious and very potentially damaging.

      What about all of the serious ENT researchers like Dr. Rauschecker? Are you serious that they know less than Michael Leigh?

      I'm amazed that you would defend someone who seems to take a quite perverse enjoyment in deliberately irritating people just to get a rise out of them.

      If I were you, kestokas, kingsfan or Damocles, I would take a good long look at myself in the mirror and consider what such a defense regarding Michael Leigh's behavior says about you.
       
    14. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Clerkp

      Clerkp Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2000
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Music
      It is completely random. And it is ever so quiet. Just a very soft click almost. No trigger than I can tell but my ear has been "popping" more than usual. It doesn't seem to fit the bill of myoclonus and feels more like a tube issue. It's terribly annoying.
       
    15. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Clerkp

      Clerkp Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2000
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Music
      I agree with you to a point. However, Michael's advice about headphones is based on an unidentified list of anecdotal reports that some people have reported worsening tinnitus as a result of continued use of headphones at low volumes. There is no discussion of whether other factors could have resulted in increased tinnitus. As we all know here, anything from stress, to diet, to loud noise to medication can increase tinnitus. So without any science to back it up, it feels very speculative. Doesn't mean it isn't true but doesn't mean it is. I think Michael's advice - to be ultra conservative - is sound. Certainly, not using headphones at all eliminates ALL risk that headphones could worsen tinnitus. I'm still following his advice by the way but I'm not gonna lie - I do miss my headphones even at low volumes. I also think Michael gives his advice out of genuine concern for others here.
       
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    16. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Clerkp

      Clerkp Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2000
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Music
      Thanks - FWIW, I am getting more used to this pretty fast. That and I think it has improved. But for this new annoying click, I think i'd be close to back to normal with my tinnitus.
       
    17. Damocles
      No Mood

      Damocles Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otitis media
      lol @DaveFromChicago, I am not defending @Michael Leigh (by awarding @Stacken77's post a "winner").

      I am simply concurring with @Stacken77 that we are pretty much the experts on our own condition here.

      Regarding @Michael Leigh? Well, my feelings are mixed.

      I agree with him about the headphones, and just find this particular thread to be nothing short of a disgrace: Since We're Supposed to Stop Using Headphones, Can You Play Music and Podcasts Through Hearing Aids? | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum

      How anyone can argue the case for headphones at the point they've ended up here, is.... there's actually no word in existence to describe it... not in any thesaurus; not in the English language; not in any language anywhere.

      His self-written e-book thread and tireless peddling of TRT is quite amusing, although not so much when an actual newcomer falls for it. But he's been browbeaten so much over those now, that anyone who spends 10 minutes looking through the forum will see what a scam it all is.

      I personally haven't seen him recommending micro-suction, but agree with you, that if he is, then that is extremely irresponsible. But again, 10 minutes looking through the forum on this topic should be enough to dissuade anyone just joining us from ever considering such a procedure.

      Anyway, apologies @DaveFromChicago. You've obviously taken my "laughter reactions" to a lot of your posts recently as some form of subtle mocking and/or disagreement, which is entirely not the case. On the contrary, I actually very much enjoy your posts and just tend to find them genuinely funny.
       
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    18. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      The clicking and popping sound you describe @Clerkp is sometimes linked to noise induced tinnitus. I am saying sometimes not definitely. If it is associated with noise trauma it will eventually go away. I know it can be annoying. Continue using low level sound enrichment.

      Michael
       
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    19. 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
      To @DaveFromChicago:
      I fully agree that microsuction is a very dangerous procedure, and that very piece of advice is not good advice. That's why I wrote;

      Of course, there are exceptions, but there's quite a few "Medically qualified" doctors who have put users on this site through: microsuction, ear irrigation, MRI scans, ART-tests, prescribe ototoxic medications, e.t.c. when a) all those things don't do anything to help us, and b) can make us a lot worse. The experience of a long term sufferer, or better yet, the collective experience on this forum, surpasses any "medically qualified" doctor by a long shot. I think that's a given.
      Again, I didn't defend everything that Michael has ever written. I simply noted to you that not all the advice is bad. If you really think all advice that Michael has shared is bad advice, then I think you're a bit biased, just because you dislike Michael.
      Do you get a kick out of constantly slandering Michael? Why can't you treat his advice objectively, rather than resort to emotion?

      Again, I don't defend everything that Michael has ever written, or his behavior. I simply noted that not all advice is bad advice.

      Wishing you well,
      Stacken
       
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    20. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Clerkp

      Clerkp Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2000
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Music
      Thanks. It started out of nowhere. I haven't been exposed to any loud lately. It feels like my ear drum is moving a bit.
       
    21. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
    22. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Clerkp

      Clerkp Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2000
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Music
    23. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      It happened a lot when I first got tinnitus 25 years ago and gradually went away. It has returned only for brief periods over the years and something that I've got used to but not a matter of concern. Your tinnitus will change a lot similar to riding a rollercoaster. Try not to be too alarmed and just ride it out. My advice again is to keep away from headphones but the choice is yours. Be mindful of being exposed to loud sounds. Wearing the best hearing protection is no guarantee you are safe. By all means listen to music through speakers at a comfortable level and I believe you will be fine.
       
    24. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Clerkp

      Clerkp Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2000
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Music
      Thanks. Even though I am associating this with a physical sound (i.e. objective tinnitus) you think that is what I am experiencing? I appreciate the reassurance. It's annoying as hell. No headphones.
       
    25. Brian P

      Brian P Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ménière’s disease
      Michael has a point with the headphones. When I hear kids blasting them I want to rip them out of their ears. They don’t know what they are going to do to themselves!
       
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    26. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Yes I do. Give it time for your ears to settle down and use low level sound enrichment.
       
    27. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      My views and opinions on microsuction I don't believe are irresponsible and ask that you peruse my post history, which will read the same as I am about to say here about this procedure.

      I have had microsuction 3 times with no ill effects and my tinnitus can reach severe levels. It must be performed correctly by a skilled healthcare professional preferably in a hospital ENT clinic. Prior to having the wax removed, olive oil/eardrops must be administered 3x a day to each ear for 10 days to thoroughly soften the wax for easy removal, as failure to do this can result in problems. A worsening of the tinnitus or causing tinnitus to develop in a person that previous didn't have it.

      I would never have microsuction outside of a hospital ENT department, as I don't think these walk-in clinics that advertise micro-suction on the Internet are considerate enough in carrying out this procedure carefully, or properly advising a patient to use olive oil/eardrops in the manner described above.

      Over the years people have contacted me by telephone, email and at forums, complaining of a worsening of tinnitus or developing tinnitus after having microsuction, ear irrigation and manual removal of earwax by curette. A lot of these people (not all) were not advised to apply ear oil in the manner I have described above. When having microsuction some were told to use ear oil for just 2 or 3 days and in many instances told it wasn't necessary to soften the wax, which is wrong and inept. Not surprisingly the places performing microsuction were at high street clinics and not in a hospital environment.

      On many occasions people have told me the person doing the microsuction was rough and it felt like they was in a hurry to get it over with ready for the next person, neither were they told to apply olive oil/eardrops 3 times a day to each ear.

      This procedure must be done with care and consideration and by a skilled healthcare professional and preferably in ENT. My consultant removed impacted wax using microsuction twice and I had no problems and didn't feel any discomfort. Her Registrar done it on the third occasion and everything went smoothly and with no problems. On each occasion I applied eardrops 3 times a day to each ear for 10 days before having the wax removed.

      I have had ear irrigation 3 times to remove wax at my GP surgery and had no problems. On each occasion I applied eardrops for 10 days before having the wax removed.

      My consultant is a highly respected Audiovestibular Physician. I asked her which is the best method of earwax removal. She said microsuction but insisted it must be performed correctly and with due care and attention to the patient. Ear oil should be applied to each ear 3 x a day for 10 days before having the wax removed.

      Michael
       
    28. Flet
      Alienated

      Flet Member

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      This is what I want to understand better.

      For now, let's put the earbud thing aside for a moment please.

      How can we listen to music through speakers in a safe way? What kind of volume. Perhaps expand on what you call "comfortable".
      I am an avid music fan, and not listening to music is practically killing me to my core as that is my absolute, no word of a lie, #1 hobby (maybe more of a lifestyle).
       
    29. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Clerkp

      Clerkp Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2000
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Music
      Is there a reason microsuction is preferable to manual? I just had this done and I asked for a manual clean. The reason I ask is this slight popping almost feels like wet earwax so I am wondering whether a manual clean left some behind. That said, I've never had popping before so it's conjecture. I'm heading to a different ENT tomorrow to discuss. I have had microscution before but I'm somewhat reluctant to do it as my spike is currently heading in the right direction. Also, I hate putting any liquid in my ears. The sensation of a full ear makes me crazy.

      No ENT has ever suggested oil drops before a cleaning. What do you think the drops do?
       
    30. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      I understand how you feel because I am an Audiophile and have two HI-FI systems. Please read my post: Does Your Hi-Fi System Sing? | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
      With a good music system you will be able to enjoy listening to music until your heart is content. You will quickly put the thought of headphones and earbuds behind you because they can never recreate a three dimensional soundstage like a good HI-FI, whether it is full scale or miniature like the Bose wave music system. You really have to hear the Bose, as it will astound you. I have it and it served me extremely well when I was unable to listen to my HI-FI for two years, due to my second noise trauma.

      Wave® music system IV (bose.co.uk)

      Trust your ears, they will let you know when you are listening at a comfortable volume. A good music system doesn't have to be turned up loud to enjoy music.
       
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