My Story of Waking Up with Tinnitus One Morning, Questions and Probable Suicide

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Darren39, Feb 10, 2021.


Any opinions on the possible cause of my tinnitus?

  1. The headset that had alcohol from a baby wipe on it

  2. Gut pain related

  3. Panic attack likely from all the COVID-19 news going around

  4. Something else (write in comments)

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    1. Darren39

      Darren39 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      July 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hi guys. A brief introduction so as not to be rude, I'm a 39-year-old male gamer, who has had tinnitus since July last year.

      My mental state as of the time of writing this:
      The past few days though I've had it screeching at me all day and night. It's left me feeling weak, like I'm hours away from breaking here. I've already prepped a suicide note in the past year and is easily reused.

      And of course even when it's lower (like the past few weeks) I still can't enjoy my usual hobbies to raise my mood as much as I'd like.
      1. Reading is impossible as I needed absolute silence even before tinnitus.

      2. Watching TV or movies is almost impossible as the tinnitus is constantly dragging my attention away from the content.

      3. I'm now terrified to use headsets, despite needing them to socialise with my mates while gaming.

      4. Trying to get to sleep is almost impossible. Have to sit for an hour or two nightly with the TV playing quietly in the background to distract - not mask.
      Putting it all down into words, has helped me get through times like this in the past, so here I am doing it again. Afraid this is gonna be a long one. Trying to get all my thoughts and my story down some place to maybe get advice and to get it out of my head. I've tried to break it into parts and trim the fat.

      I hadn't been noticing it so much this past month or so, albeit still in the background at the same levels I believe, just distracted from it more I guess? Is that habituation? Every time I think it's faded into nothingness or a very low 1-2/10, I find myself stupidly asking/hoping "is it gone for good this time" ruining the few quieter moments I get. How do you guys avoid this?


      My Full Tinnitus Story

      Week 1 - Early July 2020
      I had no tinnitus at all. I'd been lying in bed reading a book and suddenly had a massive spell of vertigo (room spinning etc) lasting what felt like a good 30-60 seconds. thinking it was just 'one of those things'. Got it checked with my doctor, who was unconcerned. So I thought nothing of it - that it was just 'one of those things'.

      Week 2
      I used an ancient headset to do a Zoom meeting for work (couldn't order a new one on short notice). That was cleaned using baby wipes, so probably minimal alcohol left on the earpieces - which we know is bad for contact with the ear supposedly. Thing is, I deliberately only used the left earcup, to minimise any contact with the mildly damp earpieces. My tinnitus is by far worst in my left ear...

      Probably unrelated, but maybe: I had a panic attack, first and only in my entire life, likely with all the COVID-19 news going around.

      I woke up a few days later, with high pitched ringing in left ear. I went to doctors immediately and was given Betahistine for suspected labyrinthitis. I took those for a week or so with no change. I went back and had a second inspection where the doctor (non-ENT) determined there was "signs of an outer ear infection" and "pus on the eardrum". They gave me Otomize antibiotic spray and asked me to return in 7 days.

      Possibly related troubles? (Explained in the second post if anyone is curious, to keep this first post more focussed on the tinnitus itself).

      During these 7 days I developed severe abdominal pains, for which I was given Amoxicillin antibiotics. These offered no improvement in either abdominal pain or tinnitus but the doctor suggested that they would likely help any infection in my ear too.

      Around the same time (mid-July 2020) I began getting a really bad constant headache on both sides of my head, which eventually moved to just my right side. I even had to go to hospital, it was so bad. This still continues to this day, although it's no longer constant - more of a 1/10 background pain with the occasional flare up to a 8/10. Could this be the result of tinnitus or was this more likely caused by the gut troubles?

      She arranged for me to see an ENT, who further got me an MRI scan sorted out in October, which came back clear of all nasties. As of the past few days I've noticed pulsatile tinnitus creeping in. Especially last thing at night when I lie down to sleep. Not sure what to think about this newest development. Opinions?

      Thanks for taking the time to read this and for offering support and/or answers.
      • Hug Hug x 1
    2. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Hello @Darren39.

      I am sorry to hear about the difficulties that you are experiencing with tinnitus.

      The most common cause of tinnitus is exposure to loud noise. This includes regularly using headphones, earbuds or headsets. If you were a regular user of any of these devices before the tinnitus onset, this is the likely cause. If you have been using them since July 2020 even at low volumes this is probably the reason the tinnitus is still giving you problems. My advice is to stop using them.

      If you are still experiencing dizziness or vertigo then you need to be seen at ENT as you may have a underlying problem within your auditory system, which may be causing the tinnitus. The two things that usually cause tinnitus are: Exposure to loud noise or an underlying medical problem within the auditory. If your tinnitus is noise induced, then you need to be seen by an Audiologist that specialises in tinnitus and hyperacusis management. Various treatments can help. I still advise not to use any headphones, earbuds or headsets even at low volumes.

      Make an appointment at ENT. Please click on the links below and read my articles that you might find helpful.

      All the best

      New to Tinnitus, What to Do? | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
      Tinnitus, A Personal View | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
    3. winstona

      winstona Member

      Toronto, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      Oct 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise exposure and excessive ear irrigation
      Prolonged use of headphones or earphones is a very common cause of tinnitus when listening at high volume.

      At this point, it is probably better to stay away from using them at all if you can. Your ears are probably hurt and could benefit from the time off. I know it can be frustrating for you during this time with this condition but it is still early and you can still recover. Especially judging from what you are saying you get some days where volume is around 2/10? Do you have ups and downs with your tinnitus where it fluctuates every day?

      I have had somewhat severe tinnitus when I first had it but I have since gotten better. Although not completely gone my tinnitus volume of my worst days have gone from 9/10 to 6/10 now and I am getting tinnitus free days from time to time too so don't lose hope.
    4. Kendra

      Kendra Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      SSNHL/ Acoustic Trauma
      Maybe intracranial hypertension? Would explain the headache and pulsatile tinnitus. It wouldn’t show up on an MRI unless is was really severe. So that might be it. Might also be cervical spine problems.
    5. Matchbox

      Matchbox Member

      BC Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced, Prednisone (drones), Barotrauma (distortions)
      Could be noise, could be anything.

      If it's only ringing or static, Xanax or steroids might help along with Melatonin.
      Or just learn to mask while reading. When mine was milder, being maskable and not audible outside (unless in a quiet forest), I was very fortunate.
    6. AUTHOR

      Darren39 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      July 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Thanks for all the informative responses, found a lot of new value in all of them.

      Michael Leigh, interesting information, much more-so in your "New to Tinnitus" post in your signature. A lot of re-assuring info I hadn't heard there. Just to clarify, I had contact with an ENT once, after multiple GP (General Practitioner/general doctor) visits and none since, as the way the ENT treated me, I felt was shockingly bad and made me lose faith in a return visit to ENT.

      All they said was basically:

      ENT "if we can make it go away, would that make you happy?"
      Me "well yes of course"
      ENT "well we can offer you an MRI scan"
      Me "If that's all you're offering I'll take it"

      So you see, they didn't even attempt to diagnose it, or ask about my headaches - which had been mentioned to the referring GP, so the ENT knew about it. They didn't even explain why the MRI was a suggested course of action. No information about masking or CBT or anything basically. Had to look it all up online. I got no feedback from the ENT as to follow up treatments or courses of action.

      winstona, I think you misunderstood my - admittedly somewhat unclear post - the 2/10 was for my headache not the noise level of the tinnitus and I've been staying away from headsets almost entirely. I still use mine, albeit sat on my desk and my mates playback voices, coming through the regular speakers. No "ups and downs" just the constant baseline and the occasional spike for a few seconds.

      Kendra, really curious about the "intracranial hypertension" suggestion. Do you know if it would show up on a CT or if it would be worth asking the doctors for one? Definitely gonna look up more info on that. Not sure how "cervical spine" could cause/affect the tinnitus, but again, something I'll look into. Could you elaborate please?

      Matchbox, constant high pitched ringing, with night time, random pulses. Doesn't seem to be my heartbeat as far as I can tell. Most of the time in the house it's un-maskable for me. Well, as far as I understand masking. I can distract from it, but still hear it and still be bothered by it. Outside it's largely un-noticeable. Not sure if that's the environment or just more noises and visuals to overload the brain with.

      Once again, thanks for all the information you guys have offered. I'm still open to more if anyone wants to offer any by the way.
    7. Ava Lugo

      Ava Lugo Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Yeah, I miss the days when tinnitus was mild. I felt so normal and healthy back then lol.
      • Like Like x 1
    8. Lane

      Lane Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Single 25 mg dose of (anticholinergic) drug Promethazine
      Hi @Darren39 -- Sorry about how difficult things are for you. -- Do you by any chance have any idea about what may be causing your headaches? Did you have a head injury or whiplash sometime in the past? I have a long history of headaches, and discovered that stimulating my vagus nerve (VN) would help considerably.

      Also, regarding the VN, there's an "auricular branch of the vagus nerve" that has nerve endings in the inner ears. So if you can affect (calm down) the vagus nerve, there's potential to affect what's going on in the inner ear, including (I presume) tinnitus.

      The vagus nerve is the longest of the 10 cranial nerves, and branches out to literally every part of the body above the waist. If something is not right along any part of the vagus nerve (such as a bacterial or viral infection), it has the potential to send out a discordant signal (tinnitus?) along the entire length of the vagus nerve.

      The vagus nerve is also the main orchestrator of the body's parasympathetic nervous system, which calms our nervous system down. So if the vagus nerve is not functioning properly, or a person has low vagal tone, it can be much harder to relax and sleep. -- Take care!
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    9. AUTHOR

      Darren39 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      July 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      The only thing I recall, is the two or three days were extremely stressful for me and my family. I'll not go into details, but needless to say, probably the most stress I've experienced in my life. Although the headaches began after the tinnitus.

      Really interesting stuff about the vagus nerve? You a doctor or something lol?
      • Like Like x 1
    10. Kendra

      Kendra Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      SSNHL/ Acoustic Trauma
      Intracranial hypertension doesn’t usually show up on CT or MRI. You would have to do a spinal tap to measure the pressure of cerebral spinal fluid. Cervical instability can cause somatic tinnitus.

      Neural mechanisms underlying somatic tinnitus
    11. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Your tinnitus will likely continue to fade and in about two years you will get to the "can hear it only in quiet rooms" stage.
      • Agree Agree x 3
    12. Ken219

      Ken219 Member

      New York Area
      Tinnitus Since:
      Summer of 1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure?
      @quietatnight, hi! It appears you have had tinnitus as long as I.

      In the 30 years, have you had any tinnitus spikes? In general, how are you doing?

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