New to Tinnitus: My Story & Possible Causes?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by astaff14, Mar 22, 2018.

    1. astaff14

      astaff14 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Earwax/Botched Irrigation/Noise Trauma
      Hi, I'm a 21 year old female, and my bothersome tinnitus began around 5 days ago, although i believe I have had it mildly for awhile due to headphone use. (Id notice a high pitcher ring every now and then, usually when wearing headphones, but could tune it out easily and didn't think of it as an issue ever.) I had woken up several mornings in a row with my ear (left one, the one I often sleep on) clogged, and for the first few days I was able to unclog it by creating a vacuum in my ear/doing the valsava maneuver. However, one morning I woke up and couldn't get it unclogged, and also noticed a ringing seeming to come from that ear.

      The more I focused on it, the worse and more persistent it seemed to get. The first night I was able to play video games and completely distract myself from it, but that ability disappeared the next day.

      Yesterday I went to a free clinic offered by my university, and I was told that both ears were clogged with earwax. The doctor I saw said I should have my ears irrigated, and that they'd see if it looked soft enough to irrigate that day, but if not I would have to come back after putting mineral oil in my ears for several days. while I waited I googled possible adverse side effects, finding out that ear irrigation can make tinnitus much worse.
      Here's where I made a mistake I think.
      The nurse even said that she couldn't tell if the wax looked soft or hard, but reassured me by saying that she has tinnitus herself and had experienced no adverse effects from such a procedure, as well as that no one who had gotten it done there had reported worsening tinnitus. So, I let her irrigate my right ear, the "not-as-bad" one, w hydrogen peroxide & water solution. It was a fairly gentle pressure and I was only able to take half the syringe or so before beginning to panic. We stopped, let some of it drain out, and then the doctor came in, who scooped some wax out with a tool and told me that fluid had been trapped in my ear, likely from the irrigation.
      After this, it seems that the tinnitus changes occasionally to be in both ears, which hadn't happened really before the irrigation.

      The doctor told me to come back in a few days after softening the wax to perform irrigation on the other ear, but I don't think I can make myself. I also have ear canals that do not drain themselves of fluid particularly well, although I did have this procedure done about 3.5 years ago with complete success and without use of oil drops beforehand. However, I also wasn't experiencing tinnitus at that time, so idk.

      Is it likely that the nurse caused my tinnitus to worsen thru irrigation? Should I go back for the second ear, or look for a different way to remove the wax? Also: I have been told I have oddly shaped ear canals which don't drain well, which makes me extra nervous for procedures like this due to ear infection risk etc.

      Is it likely that my tinnitus will return to barely noticeable after I remove the wax?

      Other possible tinnitus-contributing factors:
      -I have some level of TMJ dysfunction/a crossbite; my jaw crackles when I chew or yawn or anything and pops occasionally (like a finger would, say) throughout the day.

      -My wisdom teeth have recently hit a point where I have to have them removed ASAP; gums have grown over one, and one cuts the sides of my mouth and gums/is much higher up than the other teeth.

      -I am currently somewhat sick; when I visited the doctor she told me that I had a ton of negative pressure build up in my sinuses, (which is likely contributing to the T) and that my nasal passages were very dry and swollen.

      Based on this information, does it seem likely that I will be able to have a reduction in T once I take care of the wax/tmj/wisdom teeth? I haven't been listening to music on headphones, but I have been listening to Netflix at about 40-50% volume in order to sleep at night, as I've been waking up several times throughout the night (which I did often anyway beforehand, so I'm not that mad). I know earbuds aren't great for irritated ears or tinnitus but it's a great coping method for me to sleep so...

      I had planned to visit the emergency room or an urgent care tomorrow in hopes they can remove my wax a different way-is that viable, or should I see an ENT? The only problem with that is, I don't want to wait... called one today and her soonest appointment is in nearly a month.

      What should my next course of action be to find some relief? Thank you so much in advance to anyone who responds, reading through this forum has already made me feel better and so much less alone.
    2. annV

      annV Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown - possibly hereditary
      Not necessarily but it is possible to return to barely noticeable.
    3. Mellow7

      Mellow7 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      My T also started after ear wax impaction. When I had it removed (via syringing), it didn't go sadly enough. But I do remember reading up on some cases in which it did disappear, so I had good hopes. You may fare better, though!

      With regard to the best way of removing ear wax: there doesn't seem to be any. There is always a risk involved. The best way to ensure the safety of the procedure (whichever you go with: irrigation or suction or currette), make sure the wax is softened. I had a bit of ear wax removed not a week ago with a currette and that went just fine. I feel the most comfortable with this manual tool, since it doesn't put any pressure on the ear drum and doesn't create loud sounds either. Of course, it may not always be a viable method when there's loads of ear wax in there...

      What you said about the clogged feeling in the ears, is something I have been struggling with for many years as well and that has only gotten worse after the onset of T. That is why I think mine is largely connected to Eustachian Tube Dysfunction and not to the ear wax that was building up. You may want to read about that for some clarification, but it seems to be just as much as a mystery as T itself. I've been on Prednisone and taking nasal spray for the last few days, so we'll see how that goes...

      Take care and best of luck.
    4. billie48

      billie48 Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not sure
      Welcome to the forum. There are different ways. One common ways is to mask T with soothing nature sounds that match the frequency of your T. High pitch T may require sounds such as heavy rain, cicadas, waterfall, even shower of faucet sound. Try to stay as positive and calm as you can to prevent the limbic nerve system from kicking in. This can cause you to function in fight or flight mode and treat T as a dreaded threat. In this mode it will amplify and sensitive T to cause you paying attention to the 'threat' of tinnitus. So try to stay relax, calm and positive that things will get better over time. Take care. God bless.

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