Over 3 Months of Noise and Spasms — TMJ? Stress? Sphenoid Sinusitis?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by asquared122, Jul 15, 2021.

    1. asquared122

      asquared122 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown - TMJ? Stress? Sphenoid Infection?
      Hey everyone. I've come to this forum for support these last three months and I figured it's about time to introduce myself since I don't appear to stop visiting the forum any time soon.

      My name is Abby and I am a 20-year-old college student. Everything started in the beginning of April. Thanks to COVID-19 and my immunocompromised roommate, I never left my apartment during my entire year at school and my mental health rapidly declined. By April, My parents were increasingly worried about me and convinced me to come home early. By the time I arrived home, I had already been having panic attacks every few days, and overall feeling very very low. Within a few days of being home, I began to hear a ring in my left ear (4/10 loudness).

      Of course, I was already in an anxious state, and this sent me through the roof. I was in a constant fight-or-flight mode, I couldn't eat, and I was crying all the time, I lost 5 pounds in 4 days. It was miserable - I was able to get a prescription of Buspirone from my doctor, but I don't take it. About a week into it I managed to see an ENT, who gave me a hearing test (normal) and told me it was probably TMJ-related, and sent me to physical therapy. The physical therapy didn't seem to have any impact. I also got a nightguard (top and bottom) from my orthodontist, and I can't tell if it's proving useful or not.

      It's worth noting that while I've always been a clencher, it was never bothersome or painful. I only started getting a painful/tired jaw and surrounding muscles when I started physical therapy, and now it's an everyday problem. Sort of makes me wish I never tried physical therapy.

      Two weeks after onset, I began to have a fluttering in my right ear that feels like a contraction inside the ear, and it contracts with every syllable someone else speaks. It only occurs in spurts and with certain peoples' voices. Shortly after, I also noticed that most of the time, my left ear contracts when I begin speaking, and releases right after I stop making noise (I can feel and hear both of these things).

      Fast forward almost three months, I convince my ENT to order me an MRI. I find out that I have a sphenoid sinus infection, and I probably have had it for a long time (back in November 2020 I had a 10-day long headache at the top of my head, and after reading about sphenoid sinusitis, I suspect this is when the infection began). I go on Flonase, 14-day Amoxicillin, and a 6 day Methylprednisolone. I am currently 10 days into the antibiotics. I have been having fullness in the ears for about a month as well.

      At first, it seemed like the meds might be helping, but now it feels like I have gotten exponentially worse. The ringing is now in both ears, and is worse than it ever has been (thankfully, though, still only a 5/10 from what I can tell). The fullness and crackling in my ears is driving me CRAZY, and makes my ears feel raw by the end of the day. Sometimes, if I talk too much during the day, my left ear crackles every time I talk, and it tickles and is a bit painful. ETD?

      Anyway, that's where I'm at now. Any insight from y'all on the forum would be appreciated - is this a TMJ issue? Complications from the sphenoid sinusitis? Postural issues? I'm at a loss, and I'm terrified to go back to college in a month. At this point, I would gladly keep the ringing if it meant that all of the other physical symptoms would go away.

      Thanks for reading, if you took the time to.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    2. Rudedog205

      Rudedog205 Member

      Location:
      Wisconsin
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure? Possible concussion? Covid Vaccine? TMJ?
      Sorry to hear about your symptoms, all of us on this forum can agree it's not a fun time.

      The fluttering seems like it's probably the tensor tympani muscle spasming but that's just a guess on my part. Maybe some sort of muscle relaxant could help but I couldn't tell you.

      The tinnitus could have been caused by a couple of things you listed so it's hard to say. Sometimes a complication of infections such as a sinus infection or ear infection could cause it. Another thing you listed is the drugs you took, mainly the Amoxicillin is ototoxic and can damage hearing and/or cause tinnitus (although it's kind of a rare side effect, unfortunately all antibiotics are like this). TMJ can also cause it or add to the severity and I think that might be part of the crackling possibly (I have TMJ too and my ears definitely crackle a lot if I am eating or yawning). Postural issues are another thing that can cause it. It might be worth trying to fix the TMJ and postural issues to see if that helps. It's at least contributing to it and could help reduce the severity of the symptoms. ETD is another possibility if you have that.

      I wish I had more insight but ears are kind of whacky and the best we can really do is treat the treatable symptoms and take care not to make them worse. Also I feel you about the whole going back to college thing, I am going to have that experience in around 2 months.
       
    3. Peter61

      Peter61 Member

      Location:
      The Netherlands
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2012
      Hi Asquared, sorry to hear you have to deal with this, looks like a combination of several causes. I advise you to not panic, stress is a huge factor in causing tinnitus. When I'm stressed mine goes through the roof, my hearing is ultra sensitive anyway. If I forget to drink enough water or eat salty food I wake up the next morning with a siren in my head. After getting out of bed and drinking a cup of coffee the tinnitus subsides to a modest and manageable level and I can start my day. But it remains a challenge.

      However, you are still young which means your chances of recovery are very positive. But again, try to avoid stress, that's 50% of the solution. Have a little faith that things will get better and be hopeful and positive. It can make all the difference. Seriously. I've been there.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      asquared122

      asquared122 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown - TMJ? Stress? Sphenoid Infection?
      @Peter61, thanks for your kind words! Luckily, as of right now I’m past the crippling anxiety. It really makes a world of difference. I don’t even mind the ringing anymore as I really only hear it when it’s quiet, and it sometimes is even a little comforting. It’s still changing every day, so I’m not “used to it” necessarily, but I don’t get the heart-sinking feeling anymore. Even the ear spasms and contractions are getting easier to ignore. It’s the ear fullness, popping, itching, tingling, and cracking that is sending me over the edge because it’s so uncomfortable. I’m headed back to the ENT in a couple weeks for a follow up to check on the infection, and I’ll ask about possible chronic ETD. I’ll try to update here!
       
      • Like Like x 1
    5. tinnitucide
      Gloomy

      tinnitucide Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      god's hatred
      Good luck! Let us know how it goes. I'm no expert but I agree with what others have said that this sounds like a combination of multiple factors. Personally I believe my tinnitus was caused by TMJ as it does not respond to my emotional state whatsoever no matter how stressed/worried/relaxed/whatever I may be, so it is very possible you have both some TMJ along with damage from the infection.

      Stay positive and keep at it! Remember that noise can only bother you as much as you let it. If monks can set themselves on fire and feel no pain... then we can definitely push past our tinnitus.
       
    6. kingsfan
      Haunting

      kingsfan Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Coolifornia
      Tinnitus Since:
      9-17-20 / 10-20-20 / 3-31-21 / 5-23-21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      turning everything up to 11
      When you were quarantined, were you using headphones a lot?
       
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