New Poster Here. I Could Use Some Advice and Feedback :/

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Matthew B., Nov 22, 2015.

tinnitus forum
    1. Matthew B.

      Matthew B. Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2015
      I could really use some help and advice right now, and I have some specific questions. But it seemed like the best thing to do would be to put my whole story out there so people have some context. (sorry this is so long, just skip to the end if you don't have the time)

      My problems started with hyperacusis last Spring. I was a DJ at a club, and at first I kept thinking either some of the CDs were badly burned, or the speaker system needed calibration. I found myself frequently turning down the high end because it seemed really off.

      Next I started having really bad depression the morning after DJing, and feeling dazed for a couple days afterward. I kept blaming the depression on other things, like changes in my meds or alcohol, so it took a while to figure out that it was sound-induced. I got worried, so I took a couple weeks off (it was just a one night a week thing) to go to an audiologist and ENT. Everything was fine with the audiologist, I have very good hearing range. It was clear to me from the test, though, that my left ear was the hypersensitive one (voices sometimes hurt it). The ENT found nothing wrong. He said this kind of thing would often go away after a few months, and both he and the audiologist said I should use hearing protection when I DJed.

      I tried that, but it was difficult to do my job when I couldn't judge the sound levels very well and it made having conversations frustrating. The first weekend with earplugs was okay, but the second I took the earplugs out a few times... and ended up with the "sonic hangover" depression again the next morning. That really scared me, and I quit the job. I didn't go to the club, to DJ or to hang out, for about three months. The hyperacusis was annoying; things like the microwave beeping would bother me, and exposure to things like ambulence sirens would cause short bouts of depression. Even road noise in my car (noise nobody else could hear) would have a depressive effect and bother me if I didn't use earplugs on long drives.

      That was frustrating, but I could cope with it and I was hoping it would eventually go away. But a couple months ago I got the tinnitus for the first time. I felt, in my left ear, what felt like an air pressure change - like your ears popping or whatever you want to call it. Then a high-pitched sound in that ear, rising in volume then subsiding. Then the tinnitus came on, for just a few hours. It was really weird and I was worried I had an ear infection. The next day the same thing happened in the afternoon. Eventually the tinnitus just stayed; while the left ear seemed to be the source of the problem, the tinnitus itself was mostly centered.

      It comes and goes for me, seeming to cycle with a few days on more loudly, and a few days where it subsides enough that I barely notice it. I can, on a conscious level, deal with some noise. My brain is already tuning a lot of it out. The problem is that it sometimes hits that note/pitch that causes depression with the hyperacusis (even though it's not a "real" sound it has the same effect). Depression isn't even the right word, really. It's just pure anguish sometimes, like someone is pressing a button in my brain that just turns on psychological pain. I've dealt with "regular" depression all of my life, but this was a whole different feeling. I had one night where I was up all night, where it was too loud to mask with noise (I play rain sounds on my computer sometimes) and hitting that bad pitch terribly. It was the worst night of my life, in pain and having a panic attack for hours. Literally torture. I was traumatized for a couple days afterward, terrified I'd have to experience that again.

      I went to an ENT that specializes in hyperacutis and tinnitus, but she said she'd never heard of tinnitus or hyperacusis making someone *directly* depressed. And that's what I'm talking about. I don't get depressed *about* the tinnitus or hyperacusis. Rather, the sound exposure sometimes triggers something in my brain that causes psychological pain. I try to pop my ears sometimes when it's severe, desperate to do something to help. One time it DID help - the depression went from on to off within the space of about 15 seconds. I have never had anything that weird happen before. But it made it really clear what was going on.

      The cycle seems to be 2-3 days quieter, then a few days louder, with one day of it being pretty bad. My psych started me on Wellbutrin, and between that and my own aclimation the bad times aren't reaching quite the level of anguish they did before. But they are still pretty awful... yesterday night I was just laying on the couch crying a little, trying to distract myself with phone stuff. The psychological pain is so overwhelming that it's hard to distract yourself, though, and hard to concentrate on things like video games and movies.

      What I'm really terrified of is the possibility that the tinnitus would shift to being stuck at that awful note that causes depression all of the time. I can cope with that if it's temporary, and I have a few days to emotionally recover, but if it was constant I'd probably kill myself. I couldn't live with that kind of pain every moment.

      I have a couple specific questions for people:

      a) Do any of you have this direct, severely depressive response to tinnitus or hyperacusis sometimes? As I said, this isn't getting depressed *about* having it. It's more like the sound directly triggering the psychological pain centers of the brain.

      b) Lately the tinnitus is making me more dazed, almost dizzy at times. I was so nauseous yesterday that I laid down and brought a bowl in case I had to throw up. Is that normal?

      d) Help. Please tell me anything that you think would help reduce the depressive symptoms or keep the volume moderate. I don't know how I'm supposed to live like this.

      Med stuff:
      Lamictal 100mg
      Wellbutrin 150mg
      Latuda 20mg
      Gabapentin 600mg 3/day

      Before all this happened I was just getting over protracted withdrawal syndrome from clonazepam. That stuff wrecked my life. And now this :(
       
    2. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Research

      Location:
      Vancouver, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      Welcome to TT. Sorry that you are suffering. You have our empathy as most of us have been where you are. We understand the tough struggle when tinnitus (T) is new, the mad ringing, the stress, the ups and downs, the fear for the uncertain future, anxiety, panic, depression, sleeplessness etc. etc. What you are going through is quite normal for new sufferers. So don't worry and don’t despair. You are not alone. Things will improve and good life can be back.

      I don't know if I can answer your questions correctly. But for a) I don't just have depression, T & H just opened the flood gate of hell of relentless anxiety and panic attacks. I had to take meds just to help me survive each day. For b) it may be that you have vertigo, or ETD which can cause dizziness. But I think perhaps it is the acute anxiety which contribute to the dizziness. It is quite normal to feel that way when we are highly anxious.

      A few years back I went through 'hell' with my ultra high pitch dog whistle T. It seems much worse than a dentist drill. It cuts through everything. I could hear it above the jet noise inside during flights and even above the sound of the raging & roaring rapids in the salmon rivers I fish. Worst, as if my sufferings weren’t enough, T was soon followed by severe hyperacusis. H turned all normal sounds glassy and piercingly hurtful to the ears and all sounds seem too loud to bear. I had to wear ear plugs but the plugs blocked off all outside masking sounds, making the T scream so much more unbearable. There is no lesser choice among them and there is no escape. But I do get better over time. Like many others, I wrote my success story and mention some important points and strategies. For brevity, if you are interested to read how I turn around my life, here is the link:

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/thread...w-i-recovered-from-tinnitus-hyperacusis.3148/
       
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    3. Karen
      Talkative

      Karen Manager Staff Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador

      Location:
      U.S.
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      First time: Noise 2nd Time: Ototoxic drug
      Hi, Matthew, and welcome,

      I'm so sorry you're going through this, and my heart goes out to you. Most of us here have experienced similar symptoms to yours, and understand how you feel right now.

      To answer your questions:

      a. Yes. There is something about the steady tone of tinnitus (or unsteady, in my case) that sets off a particular type of anxiety in your brain. I can't explain it, but I know what you're describing, because it happened to me, too.

      b. Yes. I had dizziness, and some vertigo, too, when mine first started. It took awhile for it to subside, but my dizziness is gone now. The dizziness may be due to a Eustachian tube imbalance. Hopefully, yours will subside, too.

      c. Help. Well, for me, natural supplements have been the key to getting better, along with distraction. Those two things have done more for me than all the drugs, acupuncturists, chiropractors, etc. could possibly do to help me improve. The natural supplements that have been most effective for me are: NAC (N-acetylcistene), magnesium chloride, and B vitamins. I also used to take holy basil when my anxiety was bad, and it really helped.

      I'm sure others will have additional suggestions for you. Time is a great healer, and I believe that you should experiment with various options to see what works best for you. As time goes on, I think you'll find that you will become more adjusted and better able to cope. That's when the anxiety will begin to lessen, and hopefully the dizziness, too.

      Take care, and please keep us updated on your progress.

      Best wishes,
      Karen
       
    4. Matthew B.

      Matthew B. Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2015
      @billie:
      Thanks for sharing your story and tips. You should be proud of what you've accomplished. I know I wouldn't have survived that much pain :/

      I've been trying to adopt a more "aggressive" stance against the tinnitus, that I'm not going to let it dominate my life. I quit masking with sounds almost entirely, I am trying to just let it in so I can acclimate to it faster. Apparently there are special devices to help you do that, but they are $4000 and I don't have that kind of money. I think the combination of exposure and distraction may be the best bet for me there.

      It's good to know from both of you that my depression/anxiety reaction isn't too unusual. Hopefully the combination of time and anti-depressants will minimize it eventually. I think you're right Karen... there is something about the sound that triggers something in your brain. I feel like my whole body just doesn't know how to react, so it's having this terrorized response. It often comes on before I have even consciously noticed the tinnitus getting louder. I also get - and this is weird - really gassy when the tinnitus hits that super-depressive note. Talk about messing with your whole body.

      This level of dizziness is new, and it seems to correlate with high tinnitus levels or sound exposure (like the noisy drugstore I just got home from). I'm not sure what to think of it, it seems like that aspect should be getting better, not worse. I'm also on day 4 of higher tinnitus, so I'm kinda worried it's never going back down again to give me a break :(

      Karen, I'll take a look at those supplements you said helped you. I know I've heard good things about B, if only because it can help the stress. Anything that would take the edge off a little would be helpful.

      One last question to bug you guys with. I know there are different causes for tinnitus. While sound exposure looks like the cause of mine, is it possible there is something they are missing in term of ear infections etc? It seemed weird to me that my ears popped when I first got the tinnitus, that sounds more like an ear infection to me. Plus the way popping my ears (though I think it might have been the pressure of my fingers) helped that one time. I have a history of sinus infections, though not ear stuff.

      Thanks again!
       
    5. Karen
      Talkative

      Karen Manager Staff Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador

      Location:
      U.S.
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      First time: Noise 2nd Time: Ototoxic drug
      @Matthew B. ,

      Yes, it is possible it was due to ear infections. However, I should note that ear popping is common in the early days of tinnitus. So is a feeling of fullness in the ears (the feeling that you have to pop your ears, but when you do, it doesn't relieve the pressure).

      We may never know what caused our tinnitus (and the doctor may not be able to do much to help you), but what matters is finding ways to cope with it as it is right now. You could go back to the doctor and ask him to recheck your ears, just to be sure.

      I hope your higher-level tinnitus goes down soon.

      Best wishes,
      Karen
       
    6. Matthew B.

      Matthew B. Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2015
      Yeah, I have the "fullness" feeling sometimes when it's loud.

      I'll just do what I can to cope, then. Thank you :)
       
    7. Karen
      Talkative

      Karen Manager Staff Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador

      Location:
      U.S.
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      First time: Noise 2nd Time: Ototoxic drug
      @Matthew B.

      I just found this information on ear popping from another forum:

      "Ear popping has to do with pressure changes between the inner and outer ear.. it's the natural way to relieve the difference in pressure.. You really don't want to "stop" it.. It hurts when it stops.. If it becomes a serious problem the other ways to try to stop it are nasal sprays.. steroid nasal sprays to fix eustachian tube problems or an ENT can put a small hole in your ear drum so there is never a difference in pressure although i don't recommend the second unless you have to.. i have a permanent hole and that's what caused my ringing and sensitivity to sound.. it's never closed up like it was suppose to"
       
    8. Matthew B.

      Matthew B. Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2015
      I was just trying to figure out why that would sometimes coincide with my tinnitus coming on, or why popping my ears with my fingers seems to make it lessen or change to a less painful pitch sometimes. If I can figure out anything in terms of what makes the tinnitus better/worse it might help me minimize it for myself. But maybe I'm looking for patterns and causes where there aren't any.
       
    9. Hammerhead
      Musical

      Hammerhead Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1981
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      loud rock bands and concerts
      Hey Matthew ....as a musician I sympathize with you very much on how the tinnitus effects and limits the things I love.
      I also experience depression and also a distraction and difficulty concentrating along with severe difficulty hearing conversations.
      What I've heard from several audiologists is that my severe high-frequency hearing loss from being in bands could easily be contributing to my tinnitus.... as my brain is trying to fill in the audio spectrum that my ears can not take in. I am currently using hearing aids which I have been told I can help my brain normalized to a typical audio Spectrum and may cost the tinnitus is to fade.
      Myself I am also very careful with medications I have a large paperback book called ototoxic drugs that is very informative about meds that can cause hearing loss or aggravate my tinnitus.
      Hope things get better for you soon....
       

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