New Low "Rumble" Tinnitus Stops When I Plug Ear with Finger

Discussion in 'Support' started by Hendrick, Jun 6, 2024.

    1. Hendrick

      Hendrick Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Good day, everyone.

      I have had bilateral tinnitus, cause unknown, for about 13 years. It has mostly been a high-pitched, CRT-like squeal. Like many, the first year was extremely difficult, but there came the point where I didn't really notice it unless I purposely thought about it. There have been a handful of times, let's say about five since the onset, where I've dealt with months worth of spikes, causes unknown, that return to baseline.

      This time, however, is quite different.

      Starting in March, I began noticing a lower-pitched, droning rumble noise. It's not a constant ring but more like the sound of an air conditioner running in the distance. It's only on my right side. I noticed I could stop the noise by plugging my ear with my finger, but not with an earplug. Thus, I thought for sure it couldn't be tinnitus. Since I first noticed it on the first night at a hotel, I thought for sure it was something in the apartment vibrating, like some HVAC equipment in a wall. I wound up relocating to another hotel and did not notice the noise again for weeks.

      Fast forward to the travel I did in April. One night, the sound returned while I stayed at a different hotel. The same thing happened; I could stop the noise by plugging my ear with my finger. Then, I relocated and had no issues for seemingly a little over a month. Now, however, I am visiting family at a quiet home, and I notice it most nights when trying to sleep. It is the same thing; putting my finger up against my ear stops the noise, and sleeping on the side with the noise also quiets it. Again, earplugs do not stop the noise.

      I will add that I have taken a handful of flights; from November to now, I can think of nine flights. I first noticed the noise after two flights in a week, and again, this time after a flight back to my family's house.

      The other thing I will add is I have been experiencing a very bad "crackling" sensation on the same side for months, but it has become worse. I experienced this last summer as well. This is followed by yawning or breathing through my nose. Again, only on the right side. I occasionally experience a dull ache sensation on this side, too.

      I keep telling myself this isn't tinnitus since I can physically stop the sound and have these accompanying issues, but given my history with more run-of-the-mill high-pitched tinnitus, I am unsure. I'm also hesitant to see an ENT after going through like I'm sure many of you, the process of getting nowhere with ENTs in the past.

      Many thanks.
    2. RunningMan

      RunningMan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      HiFrq ~2000, Increased 2022, LoFrq ~2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise - clubs, stereos, cycles, headphones, engines,etc
      It sounds like low-frequency tinnitus. I have that in my left ear. It tends to fade when there's a low-frequency sound from the environment, which might be transferred to your ear through your finger or pillow, not through an earplug. The crackling could be ETD. I have had some clicking in my left ear (only) from that, but it's rare. The low-frequency tinnitus is sometimes reactive and louder after exposure to low-frequency sounds like my bathroom vent fan, driving, or listening to music with louder bass sounds. I wouldn't be surprised if a flight could cause the same thing.

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