New to Forum — Hoping for Some Feedback on Symptoms

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Craig Cherry, Oct 17, 2019.

    1. Craig Cherry

      Craig Cherry Member

      Location:
      Kansas City
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud sound exposure
      Hello,

      I am a white male, 55 years old. I have been dealing with tinnitus since April of 2018, when I was briefly exposed to loud sounds from a neighbor’s speaker system over a period of about 20 minutes. I didn’t think it was dangerously loud when it happened, but later that night I noticed that my left ear had significant ringing which would modulate with the level of sound from anything I would hear. The right ear also had ringing, but not nearly as severe and not reactive. There were other people in the room when this sound exposure happened, but I seemed to be the only one who had this kind of reaction to it. It felt like my left ear had been “hollowed out” and it was difficult to hear even normal conversations accurately like I had before.

      I went to an ENT a couple of days later for an evaluation. I did pass his audiologist’s hearing test, though it was brief and I assume only tested for a relatively limited frequency range. That ENT told me that I showed signs of significant allergy issues which he felt were the underlying cause of the tinnitus. He prescribed steroid pills, which I took over the course of 3 weeks. There were a couple of times during that period when I head a slight click in my left ear, and suddenly there was an improvement in my upper frequency hearing. But the biggest improvement came about 3 weeks in when my dentist used a sonic cleaning device during my routine checkup. This tool sent a cascade of ultra-high high-frequency vibrations through my teeth and into my auditory system. That burst of sonic energy seemed to cause my hearing to pop back to almost normal.

      However, I still had this mild hissing sound in my left ear, which varied in intensity depending on the day and time of day. Most annoyingly, it became pulsatile when I was physically active and my blood pressure was elevated. I also still had this faint “morse code” tone going on in the background, so I went to another audiologist who was set up to do more extensive testing.

      She ran a variety of tests over the course of an hour, including one that was supposed to be able to determine if I had damage to my hair cells. I passed the auditory test with no evidence of any problems, and the new test that was supposed to show hair cell damage did not indicate any problems, so she was at a loss to explain my symptoms.

      I saw another ENT and his audiologist, who said my hearing test was “perfect” and had nothing to offer in terms of an explanation for my tinnitus or treatment options (other than sound training). Finally, my regular doctor recommended an MRI scan to see if there was some problem with the blood vessels in and around my inner ear. I was told that this scan found no issues. I’ve tried the various supplements intended to help with tinnitus, but they did seem to work. However, I noticed that taking Aleve does seem to slightly reduce the effects, but it’s only temporary.

      I have tried various online tests to determine the upper limit of my hearing range, and found that my left ear was able to perceive sounds up to around 12.5K and my right is good up to 13.5K. I never took one before this, so I don’t know what it was prior to the exposure. But the varying levels of hissing and ringing continue, as does the pulsatile effect. Here are some more specific notes on that:

      LEFT EAR ONLY
      1). It is always very minimal in the morning when I was up, and loudest in the evening.
      2). When my heart rate is elevated, it becomes pulsatile.
      3). When I yawn, the perceived loudness of it briefly spikes then fades back.
      4). If I push the back of my tongue down and clench my jaw, I can temporarily stop the pulsing sound, but it comes right back as soon as I release the tension.

      RIGHT EAR ONLY
      1). My right has some minor ringing, but it never varies like the left ear.

      BOTH EARS
      1). I still have the morse code effect, but it’s not as loud as it used to be. It usually seems to be coming from my left ear, but sometimes I perceive it in my right ear.

      I know that’s a lot of detail, but I was hoping that some of the people on this forum might have some ideas of what exactly happening within my left ear to cause these symptoms. From what I’ve read, there’s probably not much that can be done, but it would help my mental state somewhat if I could at least understand the physiology behind my symptoms.
       

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