Newbie Checking In with Questions: Is It Common for Tinnitus to Show Up for No Apparent Reason?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Doug Robison, Sep 11, 2020.

    1. Doug Robison

      Doug Robison Member

      Location:
      Saint Petersburg, Florida
      Tinnitus Since:
      August 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Possibly noise induced
      Hey Everybody: I am brand new to this forum after suffering my first ever "intrusive" tinnitus attack just two weeks ago. A little background info on me. I am 65 years old, in very good health, and I'm currently on no medications at all. I am a avid cyclist and ride about 100 miles a week. I live in Florida. My story is this. While on vacation up in NE Pennsylvania a couple of weeks ago I was mountain biking on a country road and suddenly noticed that I heard really loud crickets or cicadas on my left side. I stopped to listen more intently, covered my ears, and then realized that there were no crickets at all, but rather the sound was coming from inside my head. This of course kind of freaked me out, so I started researching tinnitus.

      Prior to this event I had been noticing a kind of "fullness" in my ears, especially my left, but I have not had a cold or sinus infection in recent months. Despite the fullness feeling, I have noticed no hearing loss. In fact, my hearing actually seems more sensitive. The sound of a refrigerator humming bothers me now when it never did before, and I actually turn down the volume now when watching TV, so much so that my wife can't hear (I think she actually does have some hearing loss). Two weeks since the event the "crickets" are still ringing in my head, mostly in my left ear. I find this to be somewhat scary and distracting, making it difficult to sleep. I went to my general practitioner this past Tuesday. He said my ear canals were clean with no wax buildup; that I had no signs of an external ear infection, and that my eustacian tubes were clear. He prescribed a 5-day dose of prednisone, and 15 Xanax to help me relax and sleep; and he referred me to a local ENT and audiology practice, who I see in two weeks.

      I have done mostly office work in a very quiet environment for over 35 years. I haven't been to loud clubs or rock concerts in decades. I rarely listen to loud music, and when I do listen to music I use Bose noise cancelling headphones at a moderate volume levels. The only noise exposure that I can think of is related to my cycling. When road cycling at 18-20 mph, the wind noise caused by turbulent flowing air across the ear pinnae is pretty substantial, estimated in some studies to be about 80-90 db. I cycle about 6-8 hours per week, so that adds up. In recent months I have noticed that I am more bothered by this wind noise and have started wearing ear plugs which help, but also prevent me from hearing approaching cars as clearly as I should for safety reasons. The only recent acute noise exposure I can recall was about two months ago when an ambulance passed very close to me while I was on my bike with his siren on a full blast, which was VERY loud in my left ear, so much so that I worried about hair cell damage. But when I stopped I had no perceived tinnitus or hearing loss.

      So my questions for this forum are these:
      1) Is it common for tinnitus to just show up one day for no apparent reason?
      2) Can there be a delayed reaction to an acute noise exposure (the ambulance siren) when tinnitus appears months after the event?
      3) What could explain the "fullness" feeling in my ears in the absence of outer or middle ear infection?
      4) Any other thoughts on what might be going on with my case?

      After listening to my loud crickets for two weeks I can understand how this condition can create extreme anxiety, stress and depression. I worry that it won't stop, and may even get worse. I have had two previous bouts of major depression in my life, requiring going on antidepressants for several years (been off them for 5 years), and I don't want to go back there. Any thoughts or advice is welcomed and greatly appreciated.
       
    2. Zaccq

      Zaccq Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      6/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I think the medical term is "idiopathic", and so the question might be "is idiopathic tinnitus common?", and I think the answer, particularly from the medical community, would be a resounding "YES".


      However, I would try getting a hearing test which tests above 8kHz - test 10khz, 12khz and 14khz - even though you are over 60, so to see if this may help with diagnosis.
       
    3. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      1) No.
      2) Sometimes there is a delay of several days.
      3) Ear fullness is a sign that your ear isn't ok. Your ENT might be able to figure out what is wrong, but there is a high chance that he or she won't.

      4) Have you been taking any medication? Use this forum's search function to see whether anyone has reported horror stories of one of your medications causing their tinnitus or giving them a tinnitus spike (a worsening of an existing tinnitus).

      You will want to make sure that you don't hurt your ears during this period of vulnerability as your body is healing. You will want to avoid taking ototoxic drugs, avoid microsuction or syringing (performed when you need to clean wax out of your ears; a manual tool should be used), and not let your dental hygienist use an ultrasonic scaling tool on you (a manual tool should be used). For more details, see

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/thread...eone-else-who-has-tinnitus.26850/#post-307822

      Keep in mind that tinnitus often gets better. If your tinnitus begins to fade within 1-2 months after the onset, it ought to continue to fade. By 2.5 year mark tinnitus either gets to the "can hear it only in quiet rooms" stage, or people stop being as disturbed by it.
       
    4. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not sure
      Welcome to the forum. It may seem there is no apparent reason but tinnitus or ear damage can be accumulating by repeated noise exposure, such as the wind noise from cycling without any protection. The seeming sound sensitivity is an indication of some degree of hyperacusis. Yours seems to be mild compared to those of us requiring to wear earplugs constantly or having ear pain by even moderate level of everyday noise. During my severe hyperacusis, I couldn't even stand the voice of my wife spoken close to me, and yes TV had to be tuned down so much that it was barely audible. Usually hyperacusis can occur after suffering acoustic trauma. So perhaps in your case, you do have this problem even if that comes from gradual and accumulative damage over time.

      One saving grace for H coming from acoustic trauma is that it tends to fade overtime. Mine was gone after about a year. It was a really scary time having both ultra high pitch tinnitus and severe H at the same time. I was in a mess initially like most newbies. I couldn't sleep well and had repeated episodes of anxiety and panic attacks daily. I never thought I could recover and can enjoy good life again. But never say never. Today I live a happy, normal, productive and absolutely enjoyable life, travelling often (before the pandemic). I wrote my success story and share some helpful strategies. Check it out if you have time. You will be alright. Don't panic nor despair. Things will improve especially if you follow some helpful strategies. Good luck. God bless.

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/thread...w-i-recovered-from-tinnitus-hyperacusis.3148/
       
    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Doug Robison

      Doug Robison Member

      Location:
      Saint Petersburg, Florida
      Tinnitus Since:
      August 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Possibly noise induced
      Thank you for the reply. I will read you previous post for sure. Do you think it is possible to have a delayed reaction to an acute acoustic stress such as the ambulance siren going off right next to me, or is it more of a cumulative phenomenon? Also, is H typically caused by acoustic stress or is it an organic condition? I gather from reading many of these posts that the most useful treatment for T and H is to protect your ears from any additional noise or acoustic stress and let the inner ear "heal" which apparently occurs very slowly.

      Sorry for all the questions, but I have been fortunate to have lived most of my life without much or any concerns about my hearing and really don't know much about T or H or any of these related issues.
       
    6. Zaccq

      Zaccq Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      6/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I should add to my comment that whilst I wrote "idiopathic", this should never discount that hearing protection should be used, and avoid headphones, loud concerts...etc when suffering from tinnitus.
       
    7. Michael01
      Frustrated

      Michael01 Member

      Location:
      Grafton,NSW,Australia.
      Tinnitus Since:
      2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I've had numerous people telling me "not to let me get this down" and if it was the tinnitus on it's own, that may be possible, although I doubt it, but I suffer from several conditions, all at the same time, and just coping with everything at once really gets to me most days.
       
    8. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Doug Robison

      Doug Robison Member

      Location:
      Saint Petersburg, Florida
      Tinnitus Since:
      August 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Possibly noise induced
      Billie, I just read your post about positivity. Thank you so much for that, it's a wonderful testimony to inner faith and perseverance. Could you share how your T and H started, what you thought the causes were?
       
    9. Luman
      Spaced

      Luman Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brooklyn
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Intermittent Tinnitus probably noise induced
    10. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Doug Robison

      Doug Robison Member

      Location:
      Saint Petersburg, Florida
      Tinnitus Since:
      August 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Possibly noise induced
      In response to Bill Bauer's post above, I was not on any medication when this started up, other than a single Advil PM taken a few nights per week. I should add that along with a 5-day course of prednisone (10 mg/2x day), my GP also prescribed a 10-day course of the anti-viral drug valacyclovir. He suspected that my sudden onset of tinnitus and ear "fullness" could be caused by a mild viral infection of my inner ear. He said that the herpes zoster virus (shingles; herpes simplex) can sometimes cause labyrinthitis, which could cause my symptoms. However, vertigo is usually a symptom of labyrinthitis, and I don't have that. It's a mystery. Maybe my ENT will figure it out.

      Also thank you for your encouraging words about the chances of actual improvement and recovery, other than the "you just have to learn to live with it" advice. While my tinnitus may very well persist for quite some time, most newbies want to believe that there is at least a reasonable probability that there will be some healing and recovery. I will certainly be much more careful about avoiding loud or chronic noise conditions. I have started to adapt to wearing ear plugs while cycling, and have found that I can hear approaching cars well enough to be safe. I am also really enjoying the peaceful absence of wind noise blasting in my ears.
       

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