One Year In — Worried My Tinnitus Keeps Getting Worse — Is All This Related to My Anxiety?

Discussion in 'Support' started by mish.xo, Feb 7, 2020.

    1. mish.xo

      mish.xo Member

      Location:
      Toronto
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Firstly let me apologize for the number of posts I’ve made in the last few days. I’m just in a very bad place.

      A week or two ago; shortly after my tinnitus one year anniversary, I became again aware of the noises. At onset I only had one high pitched tone but over the year I have occasionally had a morse code/and or wind chime type noise that comes and goes. Regardless of that; over the year I feel the level and noise has gone down slowly and I do feel improvement aside from the onset of a couple new noises. I want to say I was almost habituated before this week, I was living normally for almost 10 months, going to University, protecting my ears but not experiencing much anxiety from tinnitus. I still can only hear these for the most part in quiet rooms. For this I am extremely lucky, I know. But this triggers my fear of it continuously getting worse as I’m young and have much life to go through.

      I now have a new noise in my left ear (my doctor thinks I have an effusion from a cold a few weeks ago, I’m on nasal spray), a sort of hallow fluid like noise that comes and goes and worsens in some positions and with some external noises. I’ve also noticed my hearing on that side to be weird, normal everyday noises sound different and weird.

      I’m only 20 and I’m so scared that it is going to keep getting worse, that I’m gonna keep collecting different noises until I die. I’m terrified this new noise won’t go away. I’m physically sick with anxiety and fear, I can’t eat or focus on anything but this.

      I have so much fear regarding white noise right now. I use a fan usually, I can hear my high pitch hiss over it slightly but I notice now (and have a few times in the past) my tinnitus competes with it sometimes, and I notice some different noises over it. After I turn the fan off the tinnitus is sometimes louder for a few moments but not always. And when I sit in silence the noises get louder and louder and I hear more of them. I don’t know what to do. I want to have the fan on but I’m scared of doing more damage, and I’m absolutely terrified of sitting in silence as I eventually hear so many noises and the volume increases so much over time when I do.

      I wonder if all this can be related to my anxiety as I have severe anxiety but don’t take any meds for fear of worsening tinnitus. I really need some support right now, I’m in such a terrible scared place.

      Any help at all is appreciated. Thank you
       
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    2. hans799
      Mellow

      hans799 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Hungary
      Tinnitus Since:
      Born with it
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Worsened Dec 2016 by headphones
      Hey bro.

      I know a few things about tinnitus and anxiety. We are similar; I also have a multitude of sounds which, mercifully, I can only hear in quiet, and I also used to be almost crippled with anxiety and thinking very dark thoughts. I'm 11 years your senior and I've been living with tinnitus all my life. Here are a few things that I've gathered over these many long years.
      • First, take a deep breath and really think about how good you have it. You and I have mild tinnitus. That intense suffering you endure is because of future things that have not yet happened. You're not screwed at the moment.
        In fact you almost qualify as healthy. Did you know that 90%+ of all tinnitus patients (most of whom have the same mild version as we do) habituate to it without ever seeing a doctor or visiting a forum like this? Having this version of tinnitus and living a completely normal life with it is an extremely common thing.
      • Second, realize that tinnitus isn't some mythical beast. It's predictable. It happens when your ears are damaged. And ear damage can be prevented. There are a few things you need to watch: noise levels; barotrauma (pressure changes); ototoxic meds (and there aren't many of these: certain antibiotics, certain chemotherapy drugs and certain painkillers); and ear infections. Guarding against these is very possible. If you do it consciously, you can safeguard your ears and the tinnitus will not get worse. It will occasionally fluctuate, yes, but it won't permanently and drastically worsen.
      • Third, also realize that we're living in a golden age of hearing/tinnitus research. I'm a commercial user of Lenire and it works. Two more devices like it are nearing commercialization. There are several drugs with different methods of action which are also in the pipeline. And the medtech scene is absolutely flush with cash and everyone is racing to grab a slice of the hearing damage pie. This level of investment and results is absolutely unprecedented. You chose a fortunate time to get tinnitus. :)
      So the truth is that you have a mild condition, which you can easily prevent from getting worse, and which is getting working treatments right now and in the near future. Does this sound catastrophic to you?

      As for the anxiety; you gotta do something about that. There are many actions you can take. By far the best is to hit the gym or take up running; you need to have strenuous workouts 3-4 times a week, maybe 5. You also need to evaluate your diet and sleep schedule. And investigate mental disciplines, such as meditation, or autogenic training.

      I'm doing all of the above and they all work. It might take a few weeks for lifestyle changes to show their effects but the amount of stress reduction and wellbeing a truly healthy lifestyle can unleash is staggering. I went from anxious wreck to happy and healthy without any meds. I still have bad moments but if your health is robust, everything is much lighter and easier.

      Please give this some thought. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with you; all your problems are fixable.
       
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    3. Nev

      Nev Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      April 1919
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Don’t know
      Hans 799...Wow...how beautifully written...How positive and encouraging...THANK YOU...
       
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    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      mish.xo

      mish.xo Member

      Location:
      Toronto
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thank you so so much. This made me feel so much more at ease. You are right. Thank you. Where are you living now to be using Lenire? That is fantastic that it is helping you!
       
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    5. hans799
      Mellow

      hans799 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Hungary
      Tinnitus Since:
      Born with it
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Worsened Dec 2016 by headphones
      I'm Hungarian. Getting Lenire meant quite a few roundtrip flights between Budapest and Dublin but it wasn't prohibitively expensive. Where do you live?

      Although I don't think you need Lenire, to be honest. Anxiety has a way of always sticking to a new thing. During my anxious period I remember being terrified of tinnitus, then terrified that I have RLS (a neurological disease which ruins your sleep), then terrified that I have ALS (the disease which killed Stephen Hawking), then terrified of never being able to sleep well again... and so on, and so forth. None of these problems have actually happened, the only constant was the anxiety. When I fixed that, the other problems magically vanished, too. :)

      I'm using Lenire because I promised to myself that if a treatment becomes available I'll pamper myself with it, but if Lenire was delayed by a year or didn't work at all it wouldn't have been a serious issue.

      That's why I'm saying you should start working on the anxiety, it strikes me as your real issue.
       
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    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      mish.xo

      mish.xo Member

      Location:
      Toronto
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I live in Canada. One day I definitely would try Lenire. But I recognize my case is not severe at all, mostly unnerving. I can only hear it in dead silence which is an absolute blessing and I’d like to keep it that way. That’s why recently I’ve been so worried as when I use my quiet fan for white noise and then I turn it off after a bit my tone gets louder and changes to a whirring. This happens even worse after driving. That’s my main concern right now. I recognize anxiety is definitely my biggest problem though.
       
    7. hans799
      Mellow

      hans799 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Hungary
      Tinnitus Since:
      Born with it
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Worsened Dec 2016 by headphones
      That is a normal thing for tinnitus to do.

      You can determine whether you have suffered damage or just a temporary change very easily:
      • if, after noise exposure, your hearing seems to be diminished ("auditory threshold shift"), the noise was too loud and it has caused your brain to compensate. Avoid this noise in the future. The shift will probably be only temporary.
      • if you get a feeling of ear fullness on top of the threshold shift, and/or ear pain, you've suffered real damage. Get out of there, seek a doctor (ask for prednisone), remain in quiet for several days.
      • if your hearing remains normal, there is no fullness, and no pain, just some change in the character of your tinnitus, there wasn't any damage. The tinnitus will revert to baseline shortly. This is called "reactive tinnitus".
      Note: if you use earplugs (especially wax ones), you may get a feeling of weird hearing for a few minutes after you take them out. This is not the same thing as the auditory threshold shift or ear fullness I've described above, so don't be scared because of it.
       
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    8. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      mish.xo

      mish.xo Member

      Location:
      Toronto
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I notice fullness only in silence sometimes, my ears begin to feel full... But never pain or diminished hearing... if it is causing my T to be reactive should I avoid it? Also, should I wear plugs or muffs in the car while on the highway? I know it gets up to 93dbC sometimes according to my phone and usually my T is loud after, but when I wear plugs the occlusion effect makes everything sound even louder...
       
    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      mish.xo

      mish.xo Member

      Location:
      Toronto
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      As I relax more I notice that I actually hear more tones when I sit in silence for a long time, and after I turn my fan off or leave a room with sound I find that my T is actually better until I sit in the silence for a while. Is this possible? That exposure to safe noise helps and being in the silence is bad? I’m so very confused lol, I’m sorry for asking so many questions, please know you are helping me greatly!
       
    10. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      mish.xo

      mish.xo Member

      Location:
      Toronto
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Sorry. It is 93dbZ. I know there is A, C and Z. I don’t know which is appropriate to use in a car.
       
    11. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      mish.xo

      mish.xo Member

      Location:
      Toronto
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      My final question I’ll bother you with if you wouldn’t mind is; because I’ve collected a couple tones and noises that appear and disappear sometimes; does that mean it’s worsening? Overall from onset I believe wholeheartedly my original high pitch hiss is better and quieter, the tones are also usually not there unless I look. I just don’t know if I’ve improved or worsened because of the new occasional tones.
       
    12. Tybs

      Tybs Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Fall from stairs
      If you don't mind me jumping in here: I'm slowly recovering from my tinnitus, onset last April. Mine is not sound-induced though, after falling down the stairs, my neck muscles got quite a hit. Tinnitus started two days after. Took a few months to make the connection between the two events.

      I've been treating my neck since, and my symptoms have reduced from 9 to 1. During my treatment, sounds have disappeared, but sometimes new sounds appeared as well. Occasionally this scared me enough to halt treatment for a few weeks.

      Still, the main observation has always been that volume in general was reducing, as long as I was treating the condition. Eventually I stopped jumping at the occurrence of a new sound. As long as there is improvement in general, having a new sound around isn't really an issue. Since you mention that there are sounds disappearing as well, I wouldn't worry about it.
       
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    13. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      mish.xo

      mish.xo Member

      Location:
      Toronto
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thank you so much for your reply. It’s just that when I sit in dead silence the sounds come and change and morph so quickly, it’s like an orchestra in my head sometimes and I’m so terrified it’s a sign of what’s to come. I can only hear them in quiet though. I’m hoping my tinnitus isn’t noise induced as I can only cite headphone use as a what could have done it, but I was very careful of volume and haven't used them since onset. I have TMJ and had my wisdom teeth removed a month before onset. I’m really unsure of my cause. I’m trying to find an audiologist near me that will test above 8000 Hz. Again, thank you for your reply!
       
    14. Tybs

      Tybs Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Fall from stairs
      See if you can get that sorted out. One forum member (@threefirefour ) got rid of his T that way.

      Also: can you "link" certain sounds to your posture? For example, are specific sound related to lying on your left side, others to lying on your back, and again others to lying on your right side? I eventually found out that this was the case for me and that I could "choose" with which sounds I would go to sleep. Having control is quite useful for your mental health, even if you can't fix it right away.

      Then again, don't focus on T too much. Just check if this is the case, and if not, then get your TMJ fixed instead, while trying to just live your life. Excluding causes is quite helpful, I needed to exclude three possible origins before I found mine.
       
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    15. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      mish.xo

      mish.xo Member

      Location:
      Toronto
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      From what I can tell the sounds don’t link to certain postures, but pushing my jaw forward or opening it all the way makes the hiss go up a couple times in pitch and volume. I sometimes notice if I slouch all day, which I tend to do, it seems worse but I’m never sure.
       
    16. Tybs

      Tybs Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Fall from stairs
      All right, then go for TMJ treatment first. And keep in mind what @hans799 said: of all the times to get T, this is one of the best in history. Even if you couldn't figure out your cause, data is being gathered and treatments are being developed. I'm especially curious about the Michigan device: even though I don't expect to need it anymore, it has always been my main hope for if I wouldn't be able to sort things out.

      Try to stay away from any drugs if possible though, side effects can make you end up with a worse state. In fact, it can be useful to get yourself informed on the forums here for any kind of treatment. Usually other members can provide tips on how to proceed safely.
       
    17. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      mish.xo

      mish.xo Member

      Location:
      Toronto
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thank you, I’m super aware of everything that could make it worse. A year ago at onset I was obsessed with scrolling these forums. And I’m back to that headspace a year later even though there’s been no spike or anything, I’ve just realized that I’ve gained new tones over the year and that has sent me spiralling. I’m very careful with my ears but I think I will wear earplugs more often. I just don’t wanna overprotect. I did treat the TMJ at first a bit for around four months with a night guard. Had to stop using it for a while due to other dental things but I think I’ll try to get back into it if I can. I didn’t really notice much change to be honest but maybe it wasn’t long enough.
       
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