Mystery Unilateral Tinnitus — ETD? Allergies?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by zetta0623, Jun 26, 2021.

    1. zetta0623

      zetta0623 Member

      Location:
      United Kingdom
      Tinnitus Since:
      March 2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown; ear infection, allergies or ETD?
      Hello everyone! If you're reading this — it's nice to meet you, and I hope you're having a good day! :)

      You can call me Zetta if you'd like (23, F, UK). Like a lot of people on this forum, I've been a lurker for about four months; since my tinnitus started. I've bounced around the forums quite a bit, reading stories, tips and tricks and other threads from various members, but I finally decided to make my own account and reach out with my experience.

      My tinnitus story begins mid March, with an undiagnosed ear infection. I woke up with a fuzzy headache, right above my right temple; I'd had something similar to this happen in February, so I didn't read much into it and instead wrote it off as exhaustion. Both times went away with no consequence, until a few days later after the second, it happened again and didn't go away.

      Throughout most of March I had on and off headaches, seemingly perpetual exhaustion, postnasal drip, and ear fullness. Towards the later half of the month I started to experience crackling and popping in my left ear, alongside a ton of pressure — my sense of taste and smell was diluted as well, so I got a covid test which came back negative. I ended up calling my GP, who prescribed me a five day course of Amoxicillin for a suspected sinus infection.

      After finishing those antibiotics I felt no better, so I visited again: this time I was given Otomize and diagnosed with a middle ear infection. I tried the spray when I got home and only the once, due to it causing a painful sensation that shot from my ear up the side of my head. I figured that it was the wrong kind of medication for whatever was wrong with me and ended up visiting an after hours GP, who said I actually had an outer ear infection, rather than a middle, and gave me a course of Flucloxacillin, 4 times a day for 7 days.

      I finished that course of antibiotics on the 5th of April — at this point I'd been having ear problems for about a month, and nothing had put much of a dent in it. April 9th is when my tinnitus started: cropped up whilst I was trying to sleep, and it's been steady in my right ear ever since. I'm not sure what frequency it is, but it sounds medium-low rather than high-pitched.

      Since my onset, I've tried so many things: visited two different ENT's, one who tried acupuncture (didn't help), and another who diagnosed me with ETD via nasoendoscopy; he said there was a lot of inflammation in my sinuses, and gave me a steroid spray to try alongside a saline spray. At this point my supposed ear infection had cleared up, but I was still experiencing muffled hearing, fullness, and tinnitus.

      It's now nearly the end of June and I am still experiencing most of these symptoms, with no real suspect as to why; some notes regarding the whole fiasco:

      - I had a basic audiogram done the last week of May, which came up perfectly clean: no detectable hearing loss, and no visible earwax problems.
      - Before this all started, I was on absolutely no medications, so I don't believe it could be an ototoxic causation (unless it was the antibiotics, but I'd never had adverse side effects to penicillin before).
      - I don't have a family history of hearing loss or problems, nor have I had any in my life before this. I've had the occasional ear infection in the past, but never one that left me with symptoms, let alone tinnitus.
      - I also hadn't been exposed to any particularly loud noises, aside from maybe my gaming headset, but it's never given me problems before and I have no hearing damage (despite the muffled sensation).
      - My tinnitus is only in my right ear, despite the infection having been in my left. My baseline isn't too bad; I can mask it well enough, but I can hear it in quiet rooms. The most annoying symptom is that music has sounded strange and tinny, especially songs with a lot of synth.
      - About two weeks ago I had a spell of dizziness upon waking up; it was the first time I experienced vertigo (the room was spinning), and it stopped after five minutes or so. I felt sick the rest of the day, but totally fine the next. I haven't experienced this yet again.

      It's been a very strange journey, considering this was all new to me a few months ago: the only possible lead I have is that it could be allergies, due to the fact I have a history of light hay fever and eczema, both of which slightly flared up back in February (I'm also originally from the United States and moved to the UK last year, so it could be that my immune system is being hit with unfamiliar pollens). I visited my GP earlier this week and was diagnosed with rhinosinusitis, so perhaps there's a cause between all of this and my tinnitus? He told me to hold off the steroid spray for now (due to risk of infection), and to try an antihistamine, but I'm highly cautious due to the possible ototoxicity.

      My biggest concern regarding all of this is that I've read unilateral tinnitus can be quite rare, and that combined with vertigo, can point towards Meniere's disease. I'm hoping this isn't the case, so I've been monitoring my hearing to my best ability, while also keeping an eye out for another vertigo attack. Would it be worth getting an MRI?

      I had a blood test a few days ago and am currently waiting for the results (my blood pressure was good), which is why I decided to write this post in the mean time; it's turned into a bit of a mountain, so thank you for reading if you got this far! Overall I'm mostly seeking some peace of mind, from those that know what it's like; no one in my inner circle experiences tinnitus (at least, noticeable tinnitus), so it's been hard to discuss this with them. The anxiety can be mind-numbing!
       
    2. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Hi @zetta0623.

      You have had tests at ENT so I think it's a good idea leave your ears alone and wait to see what happens. Your ENT doctors have probably advised you to do this, especially if the tinnitus was caused by an ear infection as you've mentioned. An ear infection can cause tinnitus and they are notorious for taking time to clear up and the tinnitus too. If ETD is causing the tinnitus, your ENT doctor is the best person to advise you on treatment.

      If your tinnitus isn't caused by an ear infection, ETD or another underlying medical condition within your auditory system, and not caused by stress or medication, then it's possible that it's noise induced. Noise induced tinnitus is one of the most common causes of tinnitus. If you were a regular user of headphones, earbuds or headsets, or listened to loud music, then it's likely the tinnitus is noise induced. If the tinnitus is noise induced, my advice is not to use headphones even at low volume.

      Unilateral tinnitus is not quite as rare as you think. Vertigo and dizziness can be linked to Meniere's but I think you would have been tested for this when seen at ENT. An MRI is normally done when a tinnitus patient is referred to an NHS hospital for tests.

      Please click on the link below and read my post: New to Tinnitus, What to Do?

      Michael

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

      Brian P Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ménière’s disease
      Your story sounds like mine. I thought it was an ear infection or allergy, but it turned out to be Ménière’s. It started with a stuffy ear, then a year later tinnitus, then vertigo and low frequency hearing loss. Tinnitus was initially barely perceptible and was only in 1 ear but with each vertigo attack it got louder and is now bilateral. I also have that weird tinny sound with music, where things don’t sound right in the bad ear. If I were you I would go to a neurotologist not a regular ENT. Get the proper tests done to diagnose Hydrops. My hearing loss fluctuates from normal to a 35 dB loss, so one hearing test, especially early on in the disease ruled out nothing for you. Let us know what happens.
       
    4. Wrfortiscue
      Provocative

      Wrfortiscue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Is the tinnitus low or high pitch with Meniere's?
       
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