My Experiences with Tinnitus and HBOT (Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy)

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

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    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
       
    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!!!
       
      • Like Like x 1
    3. 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. :)
       

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