My Experiences with Tinnitus and HBOT (Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy)

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Jinxy, Sep 25, 2016.

    1. Jinxy
      Moonlighting

      Jinxy Member

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced - Loud Headphones
      Greetings! ^^

      I'm a 20-year old guy from Finland who, among many other things, likes listening to music, watching anime, playing video games and enjoying atmospheric things. I've been lurking these forums for a bit over 4 months by now, and decided to finally join in order to share my experiences on T so far. I find it rather relieving to be able to talk about things especially with people who are suffering from the same ailments, and to get it off my chest.

      It all started on the 14th of May this year. I had just completed a job internship and was trying to enjoy my own free time doing whatever I felt like doing. However, I was agitated by my mother who was being very persistent in requesting help on some simple problem she had with her smartphone at the time, and without thinking, I maxed out the volume on my headphones for a few minutes in order to avoid listening to her voice for a while (which was a really stupid thing to do, biggest mistake of my life), after which I turned it back down. Everything continued normally until late evening when I noticed a slight ringing noise in my left ear, and there it was, Tinnitus.

      At the time the noise was relatively quiet medium-high tone ringing with regular 1-2 second pauses, and only in my left ear. I was confident it would probably go away in a day or two as I've had very short term random tinnitus before and it's always gone away on its own. This was not the case. Some more days passed and I started to get really anxious over it. I started to feel a slight swelling feeling in my left ear, and slight pain when wind blew in it while walking around outside. The first few weeks were especially horrible because I had to study for my college entrance exam and had trouble concentrating on reading with this constant ringing going on in my left ear (still pulled it off, thankfully).

      I suffered from some pretty bad depression until I visited a private doctor at about 2 weeks in. I was diagnosed with noise-induced tinnitus. However, there was no detectable hearing loss, and I was told it'd have a good chance to heal on its own because of it. I was also prescribed Betaserc (Betahistine) upon request after I was told that it has helped certain people with their tinnitus. Sadly it didn't seem to work for me even after about a month of continuous use.

      So after a month of being stuck in conscription and my tinnitus meanwhile remaining the same, I decided I'd give HBOT (Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy) a try. With a price tag of about 900€ for 5 treatment sessions (recommended minimum amount for tinnitus caused by noise exposure) I thought it was a small price to pay for possibly getting rid of something that could bother me for the rest of my life. It would also relieve me from likely remorse I could have afterwards for not going there while I still could (at the time it was my 8th week of tinnitus, while treatment is most effective during the first 6 weeks and least effective after 3 months from the onset).

      The treatment itself was fairly straightforward. I just had to climb in a large chamber with a few other patients, put on a mask to breathe in the 100% oxygen, and sit there for about 1½ hours while the air pressure inside was increased to the equivalent of about 10-11m of diving depth pressure. I mainly killed time by reading mystery novels. The hardest part was arguably the diving part, where I had to keep swallowing in order to keep my ears from locking up so they wouldn't start hurting because of the increasing pressure.

      Right after the treatment, my ears rang a bit louder than they usually would, which was apparently normal and it indeed only lasted for a couple days. I was told it'd take a while for any improvements to happen for my tinnitus. I was also told that it's not recommended to avoid loud noises on purpose as that will do nothing to help the recovery or avoid making it worse. Now it's been over 2 months since the treatment and I haven't really noticed a difference. However it does help a lot of people with their tinnitus, statistically speaking, so I'd recommend giving it a try if your tinnitus is recently acquired as long as it's economically viable. One thing it certainly did was take emotional stress off me as I had an easier time accepting it after basically doing all I could, so I'm very glad I did it in any case.

      I contacted the doctor who was in contact with me during the HBOT sessions and asked if it'd still be possible for my tinnitus to go away on its own even if the treatment didn't make a difference, to which he answered that it indeed can still go away on its own. So I still have some hopes of it going away in a year or so.

      I almost find it comical that all it took was a couple minutes of loud music and I'm stuck with a ringing noise in my ear possibly for the rest of my life, even though I've always been quite protective of my hearing besides this. I've been mainly dealing with it by engaging in active hobbies like playing more video games and listening to a lot of music and thus avoiding silence, which also makes it kinda hard to forget that I have it in the first place. Luckily it's quiet enough so that it doesn't make falling asleep harder for me and I can't hear it except in near silent environments like when going to sleep, waking up, wearing my headphones while not listening to anything or in the quiet office complex of my workplace (which is where it gets the most bothersome).
      At times the volume of the tinnitus seems a little bit louder and sometimes it bothers me more, sometimes less. The style of it also changes seemingly randomly. It started out with the mid-high ringing tone with regular pauses and right now it's mainly static-ish noise with also another type of tinnitus on top of it which sounds like a constant mid-high tone ringing noise, and gets louder in the evening when I get more tired. I plan on trying nape massage at some point to see if that has any effect on my tinnitus. I've heard that it might help relieve tinnitus to some extent, especially if the muscles are very stiff.

      So to summarize:
      • My tinnitus is noise-induced and caused by listening to music with headphones at maximum volume for a couple minutes.
      • I have no hearing loss. The tinnitus is only in my left ear. The volume and style of the tinnitus change a little bit by random every now and then, while being generally quiet. A bit louder when tired.
      • I don't experience trouble with falling asleep. However I do suffer from depression due to it every now and then. The first few weeks were horrible but I'm doing better now.
      • So far I have tried Betahistine and HBOT, as well as magnesium tabs, and ear wax removal. None of these have helped it physically but the first two have proven especially helpful to coping with it mentally.
      • I mainly deal with it by engaging in active hobbies and listening to music I like. Heavier music helps if I'm feeling really irritated.
      Regardless of everything, I went to the first music festival in my life a couple months ago and I'm not going to let tinnitus ruin my life by avoiding concerts or clubs or anything of the sort, though I will of course wear hearing protection during loud long-time events as always. I don't feel like submitting to my tinnitus and making massive lifestyle changes just because of it, so I guess I'll just have to see what happens and hope for the best.

      Thanks for taking your time to read this, even if you skimmed through it (I know, huge wall of text). :)
      I feel better myself, having given the opportunity to tell many other people about my problem (as I don't want to bother all my friends about it all the time who can't really relate lol) which is rather relieving, so I'm very thankful for the existence of this forum, as it served as a valuable source of information and people's experiences when I first researched this condition!

      I'd be glad to tell more about my tinnitus or HBOT if anyone has any questions, as I did my fine share of passionate research on these subjects as well. I'd also appreaciate it if anyone has any suggestions on what to do or try from here on out. Hope to meet nice people here and see you around the forums! :D
       
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    2. Hopeful1
      Depressed

      Hopeful1 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Music
      Thanks for sharing your experience..... i am sure you will be habituated or even have spontaneous recovery as you are young......along as keep away loud music!!!
       
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    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Jinxy
      Moonlighting

      Jinxy Member

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced - Loud Headphones
      Thanks for the support! I sure hope so, and I'll be sure to tell about any significant changes in my tinnitus over time. :)
       
    4. Zinnia
      No Mood

      Zinnia Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise-induced
      At what point after the onset of acoustic trauma did you receive the HBOT treatments? How are you doing now?
       
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    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Jinxy
      Moonlighting

      Jinxy Member

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced - Loud Headphones
      I got my tinnitus on the 14th of May 2016 (hey it's almost been a year now, time sure flies!). My first HBOT session was on the 4th of July that year, after which I had one session every day totaling up to 5 sessions in total. Basically that leaves 7 weeks and 2 days as the gap between when I got it and when I received treatment for the first time.

      Of course, the earlier you get HBOT, the more effective it's said to be. I couldn't really get it earlier due to my civilian service which began that June and took me a month, but then again it could've also gone away on its own without having to spend hundreds of euros on the treatment, so I wasn't too upset over the somewhat delayed treatment. A few months after HBOT, I called the treatment center back to report my status as they asked all patients to do.
      The HBOT didn't noticeably improve my tinnitus physically, but it definitely helped in dealing with it mentally, and I think it was worth every euro I spent on it. In the end, it has a decent chance to make things better (the earlier the more likelier), and if there's anything you should spend money on in the world, it's improving the quality of your life, or in this case, potentially stopping something from decreasing it. At least that's my viewpoint on it.

      Now that it's been almost a year, my tinnitus is around the same as before I think, except that I've fortunately pretty much habituated to it so it doesn't bother my daily life at all anymore. I go to concerts (while wearing earplugs) and listen to music on my headphones like usual, although now I know that human hearing can truly be a fragile thing and you shouldn't cross your limits and play roulette with it even if you never suffered any permanent harm from loud noise before. Anyway, I think it's safe to say I've returned to my normal way of living now. It wasn't without hardships and frustration of course, but I'd like to think I did everything in my power to help myself, so I'm left without regrets, and can say for certain it was a big learning experience for me.

      I hope that helps!
       
    6. Zinnia
      No Mood

      Zinnia Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise-induced
      Thanks for your response. That's great that you've habituated, and your positive attitude has probably helped that a lot! I'm considering doing HBOT, leaning toward it because if it could potentially help then it absolutely would be worth it!
       
    7. Wojtek Kalka
      Badass

      Wojtek Kalka Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Bangkok
      Tinnitus Since:
      1994
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Very loud concert.
      Had HBOT when I first got T 23 years ago, did nothing consider and it crap, rarely helped anyone.
       
    8. hoppy

      hoppy Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Concert
      Hi,
      It has been 37 days since I’ve Tinnitus with hearing loss after a concert.
      Do you think that I should do HBOT ?

      Hi,
      It has been 37 days since I’ve Tinnitus with hearing loss after a concert.
      Do you think that I should do HBOT ?
       
    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Jinxy
      Moonlighting

      Jinxy Member

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced - Loud Headphones
      How much is it bothering you? HBOT can also reverse hearing loss to an extent. I know I was quite desperate when I took the treatment, but I felt much better afterwards knowing that I tried my best. If you can barely hear it, you'll get used to it after a while.

      That said, I've taken HBOT twice (both 5 sessions) more since this post, and it significantly helped both times due to acting much faster than my first time. It's been 5 weeks for you but it might still be of help, as they say 6 weeks is the effective time range of the treatment. However I cannot guarantee it will work for you. It's up to you to decide whether putting the money into the treatment trial is worth it. Hope this helps.
       
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    10. hoppy

      hoppy Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Concert
      Actually, the day as I'm focused on other things it isn't bothering me and even sometimes I totally forgot that I've T. But when it's quiet specially the night it's really annoying.

      When I'll do my first session I'll be at 46 days.
      I'm going for 15 sessions at 2.5 atm for 1.5 hours per session.
      But I'm afraid to make my T worse or to do a barotrauma.
      I've this sensation of cloagged ear and I don't know if I've ETD. If that's HBO can be dangerous right ?
       
    11. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Jinxy
      Moonlighting

      Jinxy Member

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced - Loud Headphones
      I suspect I might also have ETD (Eustachian Tube Dysfunction) as my left ear failed to regulate pressure during my HBOT sessions. I had to keep it manually open by blowing air through my nose (don't do it too hard or you'll rupture your eardrum) and sipping small amounts of water and swallowing at a very fast pace while the chamber was being pressurized. After the pressurization phase was over, it was smooth sailing for the rest of the session.

      You need to keep both your ears open during the pressurization phase or you'll suffer ear pain from the pressure differences between your inner ear and the pressure chamber. If needed, the instructor will usually pull back a bit if you can't keep up and wait till you've managed to unclog your ears. (tell him to stop if you can't keep up) All that matters is that you reach the needed pressure depth without pain. If you reach the depth and your ears are still locked, it's fine, because it won't affect the effectiveness of your treatment.

      If you're worried about the noise in the chamber, you can wear a pair of earmuffs. It won't affect the treatment either, because it's based on improving the effectiveness of blood and oxygen circulation in your ears' capillaries. You will most likely get a small tinnitus spike for a week or two after the treatment, so don't panic. It's merely a temporary side-effect of the treatment and generally means it had some effect.
       
    12. hoppy

      hoppy Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Concert
      The spike is just temporary ? It can’t stay permanent ?
       
    13. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Jinxy
      Moonlighting

      Jinxy Member

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced - Loud Headphones
      I had the spike every time after treatment and it always went away in a few weeks. I've also never heard of anyone's tinnitus becoming permanently worse because of HBOT. This is what my HBOT doctor and audiologist told me.
       
    14. hoppy

      hoppy Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Concert
      Thanks man !
       
    15. Jassiel

      Jassiel Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/02/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      fireworks
      I might do HBOT tomorrow for noise induced T. Tomorrow will be 24 days with T. I'm just afraid of a spike. Specially since it's at about a 2-3 and not a 7 on a scale of 1-10. Any weird side effects?

      Any experience from anyone that has done HBOT??

      Please comment. Thanks!
       
    16. Lane

      Lane Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ototoxic Drug
      Hi @Jassiel -- I did about 10 HBOT sessions in a 2.0 ATM clinical setting, and several hundred in an at home mHBOT chamber at 1.3 ATM. I can't really say whether it's affected my tinnitus, but I think it has marginally. It seems however, that it has stabilized my entire nervous system, and allowed me to relax and sleep better, both of which are good for tinnitus. I will say that I've often had temporary minor spikes following a session, so you may want to be aware of that.

      Since your tinnitus is on the low side right now, and you're still in the very early stages of it, it's likely your tinnitus will diminish as time goes by with or without HBOT. If you did do some HBOT, and did get some benefit from it, my best guess is it would be somewhat negligible; based on my own and others' experiences that have reported back on this forum. -- Take care, I think your prognosis is good!
       
    17. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Jinxy
      Moonlighting

      Jinxy Member

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced - Loud Headphones
      I've done HBOT three times across 1½ years or so. All three had 5 sessions each, so it was done in a week each time. I did it each time after my tinnitus got worse due to exposure to loud sound, but that hasn't happened since 2017. It's all thanks to taking good care of myself by wearing well-fitted plugs during concerts, and keeping an emergency pair with me in my keychain whenever I might end up at some place with lots of loud noise. Nowadays the noise doesn't bother me whatsoever and all my focus in life goes into studies, work, car maintenance, spending time with friends, and finding a significant other. Actually I think it even became quieter over time.

      Anyway, to answer your question, spikes are normal. It merely means that the HBOT had an effect, so they told me. The spikes last maybe a week or two, nothing to worry about. I was also allowed to wear earmuffs during the process (because the pressurization process isn't exactly quiet), and that didn't impact its effectiveness in any way. That's because the whole process is based on increasing blood flow to your ears in order to revive the damaged hair cells, which happens under your skin, so there's no way that earmuffs could have any effect on it to begin with. So yeah, if you're scared of any noise making it worse, you can just wear earmuffs.

      By all means, if you can afford it, give it a shot. It made my tinnitus quieter. It didn't completely disappear but became easier to live with while I was getting used to it. My T wasn't very loud to begin with, though. Just extremely annoying. I don't remember any particular side effects after the treatment. Just remember to keep your ears open during the pressurization part. They start locking up due to the pressure, and if that continues, it might start hurting. What I did was swallow water at fast pace to keep them open. Yawning helps too, and blowing air through your nose while pinching it.

      Hope this helps.
       
    18. Jassiel

      Jassiel Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/02/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      fireworks
      Hi,

      I just had my 3rd HBOT session today. So far there has been no change. They did give me some supplements. No symptoms except some minor eye change which I was told could happen but then it reverts after a few weeks. T is the same, about a 1-3 in normal environment. At night it can go up to a 3-4. Here in the Bay Area the price is $350 per session. Very expensice but it is a good clinic with FDA approved single person chambers.

      Thanks
       
    19. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Jinxy
      Moonlighting

      Jinxy Member

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced - Loud Headphones
      The improvements will gradually come in the following months after the treatment sessions. The sessions will basically give your body the ability to heal itself, and healing itself will take time. A lot of people are quick to jump the gun right after the treatments, saying it doesn't work and they just have a spike now, but the spike will always wear off and the results come later. Sadly HBOT is quite expensive and I wish it were more affordable for the average consumer, but it is what it is. In the end, I think it's a small price for having a chance at mitigating something awful that could be a permanent discomfort otherwise. Have patience, and good luck.
       
    20. Falchion

      Falchion Member

      Location:
      Utrecht, Netherlands
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/05/20
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hammer drill
      Thanks for posting. Your case sounds almost exactly like mine, except I had a few minutes with a hammer drill and an 35.

      I'm now almost 4 weeks in. I saw an ENT after 2,5 weeks and he strongly recommend against HBOT. He said HBOT is really for more acute trauma and hearing loss. That he had a personal case of someone going in and needing a bunch of extra treatment for damage done by the pressure while reducing his T by none at all. Honestly, if you go over the HBOT threads in this forum, most people don't notice any effect.

      He did prescribe me dexamethason and betahistine which he had personal experience with improving T cases. I'm now a week in with the meds, at first feeling an improvement and now experiencing something of a regression.

      My affected right ear still feels like it's been through trauma. It still feels like it's hurt and, hopefully, healing. Seeing the ENT again next week, so we'll see.
       

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