Not New to Tinnitus, but Anxiety Made It Worse

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by CGT80, Sep 7, 2012.

    1. CGT80

      CGT80 Member

      California, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      triggered by Infection/wax, history of noise exposure
      I have read this forum a few times now. I got T in my senior year of high school, if I remember correctly. I had problems with ear wax building up. It became very severe after a while. Unfortunately the hospital didn't refer me to an ENT to take care of the problem. After a couple of weeks of ear drops and washing my ears out, they cleared up. I was left with mild T. I eventually got used to it. I have had more problems with ear wax build up over the years and have had it washed out on occasion.

      The beginning of this year, my left ear became plugged with wax again. Washing it out didn't help. I finally got referred to an ENT. He cleaned it up, using suction and after a couple visits, determined I had a fungal infection. He treated it with powder and it cleared up. Unfortunately I ended up with a little more T in that ear. Within a month I had the same infection in the other ear. I got treated right away and it has been fine. The additional T in the left ear has bothered me a little, but I ignored it most of the time. T has bothered me on and off to some extent, but I usually got over it and forgot about it. It bothered me a little when I broke my leg a couple years ago. I had a lot of anxiety about being hurt and out of work. I got over it.

      This spring I quit my hectic construction job and went to work for the family business. As I was remodeling our garage to use as a workshop, I sprained my wrist. I had a lot of anxiety since I was worried I may have caused serious injury. 4 days later I made it to my chiropractor for a routine adjustment (my back and neck give me problems all the time, due to genetics and construction work.), and to get the wrist checked out. They did ultrasound, which did not cause any pain, therefore the Doc said it was not a break or severe sprain.

      While I was not working, due to not having use of my wrist, I became bothered greatly by the T. I was also very anxious. My wrist was usable after a couple weeks, but the anxiety was still very bad along with the T.

      The same week that I hurt my wrist, I was doing framing in the garage and using my Paslode cordless framing gun. Once in a while it would fire, but not pickup a nail. It was very loud when this happened. It happened next to my right ear once or twice. I used ear plugs some of the time when using it.

      Without the use of one wrist, I was hanging around home with only my T, and my wrist to really think about. It seemed like the hearing was not as good in my right ear, it had more ringing, and it felt a bit plugged up. After a while it felt normal again, well normal for me. My left ear either has less hearing in the high frequencies or more hearing in the mid frequencies than my right. The right ear seems to pickup more high frequencies and less mid. I have been around loud noise in construction for 17 years, and I have listened to the stereo or headphones louder than I should have, but not at extreme levels like some people. I have always had sensitive hearing. I can't take noises as loud as others can.

      I went to the mental health department of my hospital and got interviewed and signed up for CBT in the form of a group anxiety class. We use the book, When Panic Attacks, by David D. Burns. It is a great book that makes sense and has helped in different aspects of my life and thinking. The problem is that it is great for an anxiety issue such as speaking in public because the problem can be cured. T on the other hand can't usually be totally cured. The counselor said that focusing on the 4 key areas of live to live a well rounded life, would help to redirect my focus so that I could forget about T. I learned here that it is called habituation. He said that he has T also, but only notices it if he looks for it, or someone asks him about it. Others in the class said they had it as well, but T wasn't their primary reason for taking the class. One other person was there at least partially due to T. They said that long term anti anxiety/antidepressant meds. were helping them at the lowest dose but they wanted to learn to deal with the issues so they could stop the meds.

      I occasionally take Hydroxizine, an antihistamine, for anxiety, insomnia, and congestion. At first it greatly reduced the T and even helped with my neck pain. I didn't really care much about the T when I took it. I used it 3 or 4 times before getting a prescription for it a month or more later. It isn't as effective now, but it can keep me more calm. I think my anxiety is the cause of a big part of my T.

      I recently read that Hydroxizine can cause T, so now I haven't used it at all. I was using a lot of Ibuprofen for neck and back pain. I also used a lot of it when I broke my leg. It didn't seem to make my T any worse, but i did learn that it can cause temporary T and sometimes even permanent T. I stopped using it and now use Aleve. It works a bit better. I use it as little as possible. I have used clairitin D for congestion and allergies. I also read that it can cause T, but also didn't have problems with it in the past. My ENT recomended zyrtec. It seems that it isn't as likely to cause T. What do you guys think?

      My congestion has been pretty bad for the last week or two. My left ear (has the worst T, and had a more severe infection in the past) seems to feel a bit plugged up, but the hearing is still normal. Sometimes it is a bit sore. My left eye also twitches sometimes. I had the twitching before and it seemed to be allergy related. Over the last month or so the left ear with bother me for less than a week and then be back to normal for 3-7 days, roughly. My mom is also suffering from similar symptoms, so we think this is just allergies, weather, or cold like problems that seem to be floating around the area we live in. Of course this doesn't help me to keep my mind of the T. It also makes me wonder if my T or hearing is getting worse. I try not to think too much about my conditions. I can't do much to control them, and I do what I can to prevent future problems. I also have my mom check my ears with a scope every week or two to make sure I catch any wax build up or problems before they get out of control. I live in a 700 sq ft suite that we had built on the back of my parents house, for my grandmother. Grandmother moved out so I live here since I am single. I also work for my mom's business now, which will one day be left to me if not sold.

      My mom got T as a kid also from having ear infections or wax build up. She said it bothered her quite a bit when she was in her 30's. Now she is in her 50's. I am 31 years old. She does a pretty good job of dealing with T, but she said it can drive her nuts sometimes. Certain things seem to trigger her T, but it seems that it is at a very low level or she is well habituated to it when she doesn't have a trigger. My T seems to be a little more consistent and isn't triggered as easily.

      When I was at group therapy two weeks ago, I said I felt like I was at a 20% level for quality of life when I got injured and focused on the T, and the I was now at 80% and felt good. I have had the T seem to disappear for minutes, sometimes hours and it has happened for a few days in a row. It seemed to drop below the level that it was at before I became obsessed with it. I think a big part of my progress at that point was from reading this forum for a couple nights in a row and learning that I can lead a good life with T.

      Learning a new job has slowed me down. I am not as busy as when I did construction. I have more time to be in quiet areas and to think about my T. When I get more busy, I seem to do better with the T. I seem to be on a roller coaster. I think I am gradually getting closer to that 100% mark, but when I make it up a bit of the hill for a few days to a week, I hit a dip and go back down. Other times I hear the T, but at a lower level or just in one ear, and I can handle it just fine. A couple weeks ago, I had days where I didn't care that the T was there. I heard it, but it just wasn't important. I have read that this is what I need. It has to become non-threatening and something that I don't have to worry about.

      I am a sensitive person who is a people pleaser, and I am also a perfectionist. I fall into both categories of people who are likely to suffer from anxiety. I also have minor OCD tendencies. My dad has more severe OCD. He also has T, possibly from noise due to his work and shooting without earplugs in the past, as well as hearing loss. He takes meds for depression/anxiety and says T doesn't bother him because the meds keep him from thinking about it too much.

      I am hoping to have group therapy again next week. It usually lifts my spirits and gives me hope. I need to finish reading the last few chapters of my book, but I don't like reading books and it takes some work to do all the exercised in the book. As you can probably tell, I have no problem reading forums and posting. I don't have as many posts on the gun forum as some others, but I make up for it in detail and length. Like the counselor says, it is hard work to change your life. I am hoping this forum will help as well. At least you guys know what I am going through. Many people don't.
    2. DezDog

      DezDog Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Hey CGT nice to meet you. Glad you're having days where you don't notice the T, and I hope you do get to do your group therapy next week.
    3. Lance

      Lance Member

      Tinnitus Since:

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