My Experience with Eustachian Tube Blockage/ETD Related Tinnitus — It Gets Better

Discussion in 'Success Stories' started by beetjuice, May 12, 2022.

    1. beetjuice

      beetjuice Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      March or April 2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise or ear infection
      Hi everyone,

      I would like to share my experience with tinnitus, as when I googled my issues I came across many people in a similar situation on Tinnitus Talk, which helped me a lot. Hopefully this post can help others on here, and those who come here through Google (like me).

      Around end of March I was doing an inspection at work. It is typically a noisy environment but I tend to work in the office. I was not wearing hearing protection because the area was quiet as nothing was running. Well, at some point there was a loud sound, something like compressed air being released. Luckily I wasn't near the source, it was further away. I didn't think much of it at the time, it made me turn my head but I had no symptoms. I was even with a coworker and she doesn't recall the sound when I asked her a few days later. Well basically when I was driving home that day several hours later, my ear started feeling sore. The next day it was very sore and I was very sensitive to loud noises. A couple days later the soreness was gone but my ear felt really clogged aka ear fullness. I had an audiogram done at work and it was identical to my baseline from 2 years ago, so good news is no hearing loss.

      Ear fullness was strong and lasted all week so I went to my family doctor. She said to take anti histamines and prescribed Mometasone nasal steroid spray. Here is the weird thing, when I took that spray 2x in each nostril, I got crazy ringing in both ears. I pretty much stopped taking it after because it freaked me and ringing would not go away, but went down a bit after 3 days. The weird thing is I don't see why the nasal spray would cause this. I told my family doctor and she said to keep taking it, it will help, but when I took it my ears felt itchy and ringing came back, so I stopped after 3 days.

      Well, ringing persisted for another week and I was freaking out. I normally protect my ears wherever I go, including concerts and fireworks shows, and always wear hearing protection (except that one stupid time). I went to the ER and the doctor said my ear looked inflamed and I had an ear infection so he prescribed a week course of antibiotics. Also said to take nasal decongestant (Pseudoephedrine). I also started taking the nasal spray again. This time using it properly - shaking well and spraying towards the Eustachian tube. I think before I didn't shake and sprayed up into my sinuses. Perhaps I doused my sinuses with a really high concentration of the nasal spray? Now when I take it I am fine with no spike in tinnitus.

      Interesting point is the family doctor said ear looked normal. There's really 3 things that could have happened - 1) I used a Neti pot the day prior out of desperation, perhaps some water got into my ear, which caused the infection? 2) The doctor missed it, it also happened to my mother in law with the same doctor whose ears were a lot worse, even bleeding out. She went to the ER a week later at they said she had an infection... 3) Fluid in my ear from the noise/barotrauma at work could have then lead to development of an infection.

      The tinnitus was pretty loud during this time, I couldn't even watch TV without hearing it. Couldn't sit in a quiet room, I needed to have music playing pretty loudly. Nights were bad, often kept me up until 3 am every day. I got really depressed because I value silence and now I felt like I will never hear silence again. My work suffered as I spent all day googling about tinnitus, and I would plug my ears hundreds of times a day to see where the sound is coming from or if it is all in my head.

      The tinnitus is interesting, it sound like air escaping/hissing. Felt it more in my head than in my ears (I have had ringing in my ears recently very briefly due to pressure changes in the atmosphere, which were very obviously coming from the ear - my wife gets this too). Mostly more noticeable from the right side (bad side), but sometimes I felt like it was coming from the left as well. The funny thing that kept me from losing my sanity is it is a sound I have always had, just much more amplified. When I had a cold, when I was lightheaded, when ears pop on the plane, when I'd press my hands hard against my ears, I would temporarily have a hissing sound, but would not notice it during day to day. Most people I spoke to seem to have a very low level sound when it is quiet. Not sure if many people have low level tinnitus, or if it is due to our brains doing something funny. I have come across some interesting posts where people discuss this sound.

      After the antibiotics I went to see my doctor and she said to continue the nasal spray and take antihistamines (the pseudo can raise blood pressure so she said best to avoid, although I found it helped me a lot during the infection). She also said to go see an audiologist to do another hearing test and tympanogram. Ear was feeling much less full at this time, but when I do Valsalva, my bad ear doesn't move as much as my good ear.

      Hearing test was normal. Tympanogram was almost normal - good ear was perfect, bad ear had a slight curve instead of a straight point. Audiologist said this means there is likely a little bit of fluid left inside the inner ear, and just needs time to drain it out. She said this fluid can amplify any noises we already had by much larger. She said good news is because this is not a new sound, but something I have experienced before, it is not a cause for concern. Also unlikely the noise itself caused nerve damage since hearing is fine, but the fluid in the ears causing pressure and amplifying existing sounds.

      So, that is my story for the past 6 weeks, how am I doing now? This week is the first week where I feel much better! For the past few days I have not noticed the tinnitus at all when not in a quiet room, like at work or when outside doing yardwork. When I am in a quiet space, most of the time it is not bothering me, I am able to ignore it - no longer need to play music when eating dinner. Only when I remember about it, I may focus on it, but then I forget about it pretty quick. When it first started, it was about an 8/10. Then it lingered at around a 4/10, which was still loud enough to give me anxiety. Now I would put it around a 0.5/10. The only annoying part is I still can't wear headphones to listen to podcasts - my bad ear feels a little "off" and the tinnitus is more noticeable probably due to all external sound being cut off.

      If your tinnitus is from a blocked Eustachian tube, I have had several professionals tell me - it takes a lot of time. It can take a few months for the fluid to fully drain and the inflammation to go away. My bad ear still does not feel perfect - as I mentioned when I do Valsalva, my good ear's eardrum moves freely, but my bad ear's eardrum moves a little bit. It also can feel a tiny bit sore sometimes. However, the ear fullness has gone down significantly, as has the tinnitus, so I am confident I will go back to normal, even if it takes a couple more months.

      Here is what I found helps a lot:
      • Nasal steroid spray - do it properly! If it spikes your tinnitus you may have sprayed your sinuses and not towards the Eustachian tube. Need to spray perpendicular and towards Eustachian tube, not upwards.

      • Antihistamine or nasal decongestant to help reduce inflammation and drain Eustachian tube.

      • Steam inhalation - boil some water, pour into a big bowl, put face over it an drape towel to trap steam, inhale through nose exhale through mouth. Don't be too close to burn yourself. I used to do it 3x a day, I stopped now but I should probably do it at least 1x per day. It helps drain the gunk in your nose.

      • Do some heavy exercise that make you sweat, which just like the above helps move crap out of your sinuses. I have a crap knee but there are tons of low impact HIIT exercises you can do for 20 minutes that get your sweating.

      • Focus on the improvements in your situation rather than persistence of noise. If you feel depressed/anxious, speak to your loved ones. I feel closer to my family now because I spoke to my mother on the phone everyday for a whole month, before would talk once a week. I also spoke to my wife whenever I felt hopeless and it helped too.

      • Practice good sleep hygiene - the days I couldn't sleep, my body was really hot and my perception of my tinnitus was much greater. You need to ensure your body is cooled down which helps get you into sleeping mode. I avoid hot baths not right before bed, I will take lukewarm showers. Also, white noise machine on the bedside helps a lot.
      Hope this helps for those with Eustachian Tube Dysfunction, I am doing much better after 6 weeks, it is a slow grind but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
       
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    2. jjflyman

      jjflyman Member

      Location:
      Michigan, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise (Concert)
      Great story. I also had Eustachian Tube swelling, plugging. I found this device helped me a lot.

      It's called a "Eustachi".

      It's available on Amazon.com or Walmart.com for around $60. It gave me great relieve from the plugged feeling.
       
    3. Lchops

      Lchops Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      MRI
      Thank you for posting this. Very helpful. I developed tinnitus 5 weeks ago after a lumbar MRI scan. Not only was the machine loud but the music in headphones was too, and stupid me figured it’s only 10 minutes. First I started with hissing in the ears. Then a few days later I had clicking, crackling and on and off muffled hearing in my right ear when I swallow, yawn and talk. I believe this is ETD but I cannot understand why I developed ETD after this loud noise exposure. Anyone might understand the science here? It’s enough dealing with the tinnitus.
       
    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      beetjuice

      beetjuice Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      March or April 2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise or ear infection
      I think ETD may develop from noise as a barotrauma. Noise is sound pressure and if too much pressure happens or is concentrated at your ears then perhaps it can lead to ETD.
       
    5. Lchops

      Lchops Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      MRI
      Thanks for your response. I feel like I’m just going around in circles. My GP prescribed Flonase but I’m so hesitant in trying it as I’ve seen so many posts on here making their tinnitus worse. I’m glad things have cleared up for you though.
       
    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      beetjuice

      beetjuice Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      March or April 2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise or ear infection
      I thought Flonase made it worse, but I have been taking it for around 2 months now and it seems to have no effect, or is helping me. I think the first spike I experienced was probably because I didn't shake it well, and shot it straight up into my sinus instead of perpendicular into my Eustachian tube.

      Also I want to provide some insight as I went to a conference last week, and I noticed my bad ear had more pressure/noise compared to when I was at home. I think this is due to a few factors:
      • I do not think it was the flying itself, because I purchased ear planes that I wore during take off and landing. It seems to help a lot, I recommend them to anyone flying.

      • I ate out everyday, and restaurant food is high in sodium + lots of it was unhealthy stuff like deep fried food, which raised blood pressure and probably caused an increase in pressure/noise. My blood pressure is pretty sensitive to this kind of food so I am not surprised.

      • I drank copious amounts of alcohol, which can also spike blood pressure.
      So yeah, avoid junk food and alcohol if you can, which can worsen symptoms due to the increase in blood pressure.
       
      • Like Like x 2
    7. Lchops

      Lchops Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      MRI
      I am happy to hear you managed well on the plane rides. This honestly scares me. I’m a sales rep and I have to eventually get back on the plane and start flying. So would you say the ear planes helped you?

      I know how hard it is when you travel and we’re stuck with eating so much unhealthy foods. You have a good point that it certainly doesn’t help our situation.
       
    8. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      beetjuice

      beetjuice Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      March or April 2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise or ear infection
      I think it helped a lot, I felt no pressure change in my ear.

      May I ask what your tinnitus sounds like? For me it was an amplification of my existing, low level hissing I've always had throughout my life.

      Small update - I was getting better but got a flu/cold (negative COVID-19 rapid test) and it clogged my ear up again, however no increase in tinnitus. I also stopped taking antihistamines and the nasal spray as it was causing me nosebleeds, and didn't feel like it was helping much. I still had a tiny bit of pressure in my ear, and my doctor will book my an appointment with an ENT so hopefully they can advise on how to get it back to normal.

      I also notice when I move my jaw forward it causes an amplification in my bad ear but not my good ear, not sure if this is TMJ related.
       
    9. Albapv

      Albapv Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure. Maybe flu, maybe neck
      I've started with Nasonex because of the pressure feeling and the pop I can hear in my ears. I hope it helps. I'll let you know!
       
    10. Lchops

      Lchops Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      MRI
      Good for you to stop the steroid sprays if you think they aren’t making any difference.

      I’m going to try Flonase a little longer but so far it’s not providing any relief. My tinnitus is like a hissing/white noise sound. What annoys me more is all the clicking, popping and crackling in my ears which I believe is due to ETD and as you mentioned, I must’ve got it after my loud MRI.

      You should go for TMJD physio. I have started this last week to rule absolutely everything out. Let’s keep each other posted. I got an earlier appointment with my ENT on the 29th of June. I will let you know what he says.
       
    11. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      beetjuice

      beetjuice Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      March or April 2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise or ear infection
      Hi all, so I saw an ENT yesterday, they did more hearing tests, tympanogram, and he also stuck a camera through my nose deep in and looked at my Eustachian tube. Based on all the tests and his camera, he said I do not have ETD. He said right side of my jaw was somewhat tight, and also my right side has a deviated septum. He said I can do surgery if I want, but I never had issues related to this so I would rather avoid it as he said it wouldn't do anything for my ear. @Albapv let me know in another thread the exercises she does for TMJD, so I will try those out to see how things go.

      Funny thing is, I was feeling 100% better last week. However, I had a vendor come in to my workplace demonstrate a product which uses compressed air. At the end of the demo, he released the air, which was quite loud, and my ear started hurting and feeling sticky again... The ENT couldn't really say why this ear is so sensitive as everything looked normal. He said to come back only if I want the surgery, or if my hearing worsens.

      So learning points for me:

      * I do not have ETD, do not need to take nasal spray.
      * I should do massages/stretches for TMJ related issues.
      * Getting better is totally possible, but for whatever reason my ear is sensitive and I guess I'll be prone to repeat incidents.
      * I guess I have a deviated septum but couldn't find any link between that and tinnitus.

      Good luck everyone! Based on all the success stories I've read here, the main healer is time.
       
    12. kmiki

      kmiki Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      other symptoms, not tinnitus
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma
      @beetjuice, thanks so much for your story. Mine is similar. Have you had any progress in the last few months?
       
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