My Recovery from Hearing Loss, Tinnitus, & Eustachian Tube Dysfunction

Discussion in 'Support' started by whipowill, Jul 9, 2019.

    1. whipowill

      whipowill Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      December 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Inner Ear Infection, ETD
      I suffered with tinnitus from December 2018 to July 2019 (8 months) as triggered by an inner-ear infection, hearing loss, and a long-term Eustachian tube condition. This is a record of the steps I took to get well again.

      Knowing how difficult this condition can be, how long-lasting and seemingly hopeless it feels, I felt it was important for me to create the necessary accounts on these forums to share my story as a hopeful inspiration for others.

      It's been 8 long months since I first got tinnitus, with this most recent week bringing miraculous healing and reduction in the volume of the ringing in my ears. My tinnitus has been bilateral, though primarily in my right ear.

      As I write this, I am 99.9% recovered, with tinnitus that I can barely perceive when I plug my ears. I expect to be completely healed in the coming weeks as I continue my health regimen. I made it through the gauntlet. I'm going to be okay.

      I had thought my life would never be normal again, that my ears were permanently damaged, and that I would have ringing forever. But count me now as one of those who will have left their tinnitus completely behind them — by the grace of God.


      My Story

      I'm a 35 year old man with a history of immunity problems. I seem to have allergy issues all the time, year round, and I catch every virus that comes to town. Sinus infections are common with me, and I've had long seasons of fatigue and weakness in the past.

      This journey has been so long, but I'll try to keep it short. It began with tinnitus, a hearing test that showed significant hearing loss (low freq), steroid injections directly into my ear, and being diagnosed with Meniere's Disease.

      I endured months of soul-crushing tinnitus, ear fullness, and medical complications from steroids and Benzodiazepine prescriptions. I ended up in the hospital convinced that I was going to die, traumatizing my wife and children.

      I reached a point of total hearing loss in my right ear, massive weight loss, and an inability to function. I developed dozens of massive floaters in my eyes. I was convinced that I was on borrowed time, that I wasn't going to live much longer.

      I took daily walks in prayer, begging God to help me. I began to research the ears and the sinuses. I began to develop and refine a health regimen and diet plan that I hoped would bring me healing. I gave up coffee, ate at home, and learned yoga.

      This journey is ending, as I sense it very near completion, with a total recovery. I've had a hearing test that shows my hearing all within the normal range. My tinnitus has been, dare I say it, completely eliminated. I feel healthy and I feel strong.


      My Diagnosis

      As it turns out, the doctors were completely wrong. I went to 3 different doctors for my condition. I can't help but feel resentful toward them for how insistently they wanted to diagnose me with Meniere's Disease, a lifelong incurable condition.

      The trauma of that diagnosis is severe and, it seems, often wrong. I'm convinced that if you get diagnosed with Meniere's Disease, you are more statistically probable to NOT have it than to have it. It has become the catch-all for what they don't understand.

      I don't have Meniere's Disease. I never had vertigo. I never had an "episode". My ear fullness came on gradually and took months to dissipate. None of my medical history matches Meniere's and none of the doctors were willing to take the time.

      What I did have was a horrible case of Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD), which I had to self diagnose. This condition caused an inner-ear infection that damaged my hearing. The steroid shots into my ear presumptively healed that damage.

      My ETD eventually became a case of "glue ear" which caused me to have almost total hearing loss in my right ear. By continuing to treat my ETD condition, my hearing recovered, but I still had lingering tinnitus for many months afterward.

      My health regimen took many forms over the months as I tried to explore new diets and new supplements. This last week has brought me by far the most radical healing, where after months of no progress my tinnitus has suddenly begun melting away.


      My Treatment

      I've been trying a lot of different things over these many months, and I don't know if it was one single thing I changed or if it was a combination of things, but here is what I'm doing right now as I'm experiencing massive healing and recovery:

      • I take daily walks in prayer. I wanted to use this time in my life of physical pain and discomfort to draw closer to God. I ask him for forgiveness and healing, as he is my creator and the giver of life. While spending time steaming, I listen to podcasts and Bible classes to develop my spiritual life and to help me promote spiritual renewal.
      • I make it my practice to do yoga every morning. I've gotten decent at it over the last 8 months, and I find it to be a time that is very calming and physically beneficial for me. The deep breathing and the constant changing of head position is good for my ears, and I feel it. I've been using this time for self-reflection and stress relief.
      • I've experimented with numerous diets, including the Paleo diet and the AIP diet. Ultimately, I landed on the Carnivore diet. It took me about a month before I started seeing amazing results. I feel better than I have in years and my ears have started to heal very rapidly. I plan to keep at this diet for the rest of my life.
      • In my dieting I use an app called Cronometer to track my food intake, my nutrient breakdown, and to make notes about my tinnitus levels and my physical symptoms. Looking back I wish I had journaled and made even more daily notes about how I was feeling physically day to day. My journey has been so long, I can't remember all the things that have happened.
      • A word about salt and the CATS restriction. After my initial Meniere's diagnosis I went scorched earth on caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and salt (CATS). These days I'm drinking coffee in the morning and controlling my salt intake by drinking electrolytes, tracking my salt to be around 1000mg-1200mg total in a given day. No salt added to food.
      • A related subject is potassium consumption. For many months I was on a diuretic as given by my doctor. The low salt diet combined with the water pill meant major potassium shortages in my body. I took a powder supplement to help, which I drank 3x day, but now that I am on the carnivore diet it's not necessary. I get plenty of potassium naturally now.
      • I found a "coach", someone I could talk to about my health issues who wasn't in my family. Family members will get tired of hearing about it, will think you are permanently damaged, and will want you to "get over it." I got someone outside my family who was always optimistic and always a listener and always encouraging me that I would get better.
      • For me, my coach was my acupuncturist. I really believe that the acupuncture helped me, especially in the beginning. I remember my first treatment and having a drastic reduction in my ringing, though at the time it was temporary. She was supportive of me and she was always positive about my outcome. She was confident I would end up alright.
      • It took me a while to submit to the self-help technique of "masking". I felt like hiding the tinnitus problem was an inauthentic, weak-minded method of coping. I was wrong. I found that CalmRadio had a station called "Pink Noise" that I used at night when I went to bed. It helped me sleep soundly and get my mind off the tinnitus in my head.
      • My favorite times of the day are when I'm standing over my steamer while listening to a Bible class. I try to do this 3x a day for at least 10min. I often will add Olbas Oil to the water. In the early days of my condition this treatment would cause my ears to pop several times. These days I don't get many pops but I still do it to keep things clear.
      • On my desk at work I keep a diffuser w/ Eucalyptus Oil, I really think it helps and it makes me feel better. Also, I keep a humidifier next to my bed at night, which helps keep my sinuses from getting all dried out. I had gone months without the humidifier but when I started using it I noticed a big difference in how I felt in the morning.
      • A lot of online tips on ETD recommended chewing gum. I tried using this non-sugar xylitol gum for a while, but I ended up stopping as I didn't think it was helping me and I was worried about causing problems with my jaw. I include it here just for those who might want to try it. I was worried about TMJ issues as I had major jaw pain in the early days.
      • I stopped taking decongestants. If you are stuffy in your sinuses every day it means you have something else that is going wrong. Decongestants are helpful only after you have had the allergic response -- try to prevent the allergic response before it happens. For me this took months to figure out through supplements and dieting.
      • I went months with no progress, but eventually decided to try a prescription anti-histamine called Singulair that I had been on in the past. I don't know if this was the game changer or not because about a week after I started this I began to notice healing. Maybe my system had just been overwhelmed for all these months and could never heal.
      • An additional supplement I take has been Oregano Oil (2x day), which I use in 2 week on / 2 week off sequences. I was worried that during all these months of having fluid trapped in my ear that I might get another ear infection, and I hoped that the Oregano would help prevent me from viral infection that might cause me more hearing loss.
      • I have to talk about the problem of anxiety. I'm a naturally high strung, high stress, individual. This trial rocked me to my core, and I have never been as nervous a wreck as I have been during this past year. Never take Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, etc) no matter what the doctors tell you. Just don't. Take Valerian Root instead.
      • I use nasal sprays very frequently and I make sure to always use the proper technique to blow it into my Eustachian tubes. I alternate between taking Xclear and Sovereign Silver, and I do it every 30 minutes. I experimented with weeks where I didn't blow anything into my tubes and things just got worse, so I decided that I would keep at it aggressively.
      • At night, right before bed, I use the same technique to blow Flonase into my Eustachian tubes. I honestly don't think Flonase helps but I keep doing it. As an aside, when my ears are really blocked up, I do a neti-pot with salt and I blow that into my Eustachian tubes to force them open. This technique is what cured my glue ear.
      • A homeopathic medicine I recently started using is called Kali Bich. I don't know if it makes a difference or not but it's something I'm taking now so I include it here. Another thing I'm taking is an anti-fungal called FungDX. I had felt like I had a sinus infection that had lasted for months and never healed, and so fungus was a possible theoretical cause.
      Again, I'm not sure if any one element of this health regimen was the silver bullet or if it was a combination of things. All I know is that my condition is getting cured, rapidly, and this is what I'm doing at the moment.


      Conclusion


      I feel like the rise of the internet, and the sharing of information, has allowed the online community to move way ahead of the medical community on these ear issues.

      Reading the stories and histories of people online has been infinitely more useful and helpful than anything the doctors had to share with me. They are profoundly ill-informed.

      One of the guides that I found most helpful for dealing with ETD was this blog post I discovered many months ago. I did everything this guy recommended, as best I could, and I'm thankful to him.

      I hope to never be back in this situation again. I had decided early on in this season that, if I was going to survive, I would have to become a health nut. Now I want to thrive.

      I'm so thankful to God for having mercy on me and for sustaining me through this condition. It could have been much worse, it could have ended worse. Praise the LORD!

      For those who may be facing permanent tinnitus, consider this:

      As a Christian, I know that my greatest need for deliverance isn't from a broken body, but from my sins.

      I've prayed to God that, as I have struggled with my mortality, that he would give me eternal eyes to see a future beyond my body, and that I would take greater hope and comfort in the promise of new life for those who belong to Jesus.

      To that end, having tinnitus in your ears serves as a constant reminder of where your hope belongs... and maybe that isn't such a bad thing after all.
       
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    2. PortalNaut

      PortalNaut Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      Late 2/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced
      Wow, what a great and thorough post. That took some time to write up. Not to mention the months of going through it all. Thanks for sharing, especially with all the links, but also for the success story. I've learned a lot from it. Your perspective is also appreciated.

      Final note, strange that you had several bad diagnoses, but thankfully you found a course that has gotten you so far.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    3. MarkX

      MarkX Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      March 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I'm so happy for you. So this reduction happened a week ago? Did your tinnitus lower at all during the first 8 months? Or did it just lower on the 8th month? Was your tinnitus somatic meaning, could you change the sound with neck and jaw movement?
       

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