Possible Ear Infection — Tinnitus Occurring 5 Months After Infection

Discussion in 'Support' started by rollergirl, Jun 29, 2014.

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    1. rollergirl

      rollergirl Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      May 2014
      Hello,

      I am hoping you may be able to give me some information or understanding about what may or may not be happening to me, and what I may expect in the future, if at all possible.

      Back in December 2013 around Christmas I suffered a really nasty cold. About 3 weeks after this, I had 3 separate short lived spells of dizziness. One was after coming up from bending down for a while, and so passed this off as just getting up too quickly, the next laying on the bed doing some back exercises,turning head to the left and the other quite brief, just while sitting. The episode from laying on the bed, was the longest, which had me feeling rather panicky at the time as I felt kind of 'drunk' and uncoordinated for about 10 minutes afterwards.

      This seemed to progress into long periods of feeling un co ordinated , bringing with it, tiredness, panic attacks, and difficulty concentrating, as it seemed all my energy was going into trying to balance.

      I went to the doctor at the time of having the cold, and was told my eardrum looked healthy, but was retracted, and they thought just a bit of ETD, telling me it would clear up eventually. The jury seemed to be out on whether this would actually cause un coordinated feelings. They mentioned their was a fair bit of wax in that ear, and suggested olive oil and to have it syringed out in 10 days. I did this 3 cycles....as each time after 10 days of going to have it syringed ( irrigated) they said, not really enough wax in there to worry about! In the end they did do this, as the last time I put oil in my ears, I seemed to go rather deaf for a good few days. I don't feel this has made any difference to my symptoms however.

      I went to see an ENT who did a MRI of head and IACS ( without contrast) and all was clear. I have had a hearing test recently and was good and the same in both ears. I also had a tympanometry for ear pressure which was fine in both ears.

      About 5 weeks ago (4 months after the original symptoms) I have developed a rather high pitched tinnitus in my left ear . It is constant, with a feeling of fullness, and sometimes 'coldness deep inside" almost a numb feeling at times. The hearing test has been performed after getting these symptoms, and the tympanometry, but yet I feel this left ear does not pop properly and feels stuffed up.

      My questions are-
      Why would I develop this so long after the original symptoms?
      My ENT told me the tinnitus WILL go away......how does he know this?
      Why would I have these blocked up feelings still if the pressure etc is all ok?
      Do you think I have actually had an ear infection, and why was I not treated with antibiotics?
      Should I try antibiotics?


      I really hope you can help. I am feeling very anxious about this, and the not understanding seems to make me feel extremely anxious which I know is not helping!

      In part, I am wondering if anxiety could cause all this, as no one has actually said or seen that I have had an ear infection! How would I know this for instance. If bacterial they would see it? Or viral I would have a high temperature or something to indicate an ear infection? Sorry, I think I am feeling more and more confused.

      Best Wishes,
      Rollergirl
       
    2. Jay M
      Thinking

      Jay M Member

      Location:
      South Carolina, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      4/4/14
      Doctors prescribe antibiotics when there's a sign of infection. To my understanding the inner ear is not visible to evaluate. Bacterial or viral you would still be experiencing several symptoms especially if it was the inner ear. Get a second opinion. I would not imagine something happening 4 to 6 months ago would be the cause. Don't force the ear to pop! Doing that could cause more problems. I'm not a Doctor but if I was having some dizziness, I would be looking into over the counter meds such Dramamine, Pseudoephedrine or something that would dry up any thing. However always take caution, check any and all drugs to be Ototoxic, check with your GP and take at your own risk.
       
    3. attheedgeofscience
      Uninvolved

      attheedgeofscience Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Denmark
      Tinnitus Since:
      Childhood
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Head Injury
      It is unclear to me whether you had three episodes of dizziness or whether you had a prolonged period of balance issues (or both). Essentially, there are two overall things that can go wrong inside the inner ear (in relation to dizziness/vertigo):

      1) A viral infection of the inner ear
      2) Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo

      There are (neurological) tests which can determine which of the two categories you belong to. It sounds to me as if you may have had the latter of the two ie. BPPV (given that your dizziness was triggered when being in a certain position). BPPV can be treated if it is still causing you a problem.

      Prolonged periods of dizziness/balance issues is a cause for concern.

      I doubt it. See above.

      Don't put any object or liquid into the ear. Our inner ears are a delicate piece of biological machinery. Avoid irrigation of the ears too (even when done by a health professional). If you have wax build up, ask to have it removed "surgically" ie. using whatever required instruments the ENT has at his/her disposal. Irrigation of the ears can damage them - and cause tinnitus! And you - the patient - will suffer (not the doctor!). The middle ear should be maintained in dry state at all times; remember this after showers (remove moisture with your fingers; not tissue or anything else). Don't use Qtips. Go to a health professional for wax removal. Irrigation of the ears should only be done if everything else fails.

      I don't know. The feeling of fullness in the ear - in the absence of other symptoms - suggests a dysfunction of the inner ear. There are specific salt concentrations of the Perilymphatic liquid which must be maintained at all times. When the inner ear is challenged, osmotic processes will kick-in to stabilize those salt concentrations. This is what is felt as pressure in the inner ear (in the absence of a concrete diagnosis, that is). A prolonged period of inner ear dysfunction can eventually lead to tinnitus. Noise exposure is the most common culprit (but does not seem to be the reason in your case). Perhaps it was because of the irrigation of your ears? Difficult to say...

      He doesn't. But he is assuming that it will go away because he thinks there is a "structural problem" wihin your ears that will resolve(?) on its own. That's my guess.

      I don't know. See answer above.

      I don't think you had a middle ear infection - if you did, then the doctor would have seen it and treated it (for sure). But you may have had a viral infection of the inner ear.

      No. You can't treat an infection that isn't there.

      Anxiety causing all this? No, it is not possible. You have clear symtoms of "something". It is the doctor's job to find out what that "something" is. A diagnosis - in other words. I suggest you remind the doctor of the term "diagnosis" the next time you see him/her (I doubt some of them can even spell the word).

      Depending on how much effort you want to "invest" in your future treatment plan, I suggest the following:

      1) See an otologist for a 2nd opinion.
      2) Have a complete hearing test done from 0-16 kHz. The one you got was almost certainly a standard one going from 0-8 kHz. You may have hearing loss in the very high frequencies. If you do, you will not notice this in everyday situations (which is why such a hearing test is needed). Find an assessment centre which is skilled in dealing with hearing tests of the above sort. A regular ENT would not know how to interpret a 0-16 kHz test in relation to tinnitus. Please note that a hearing test cannot diagnose tinnitus directly (it can only provide an indication; if the doctor says it can, he/she is wrong).
      3) Consider enrollment in the AM101 clinical trial (www.tinnitus-study.info). It seems like you could be a candidate (depending on where you live). But first you need a diagnosis. If you cannot get a diagnosis, I would suggest you contact the clinical trial nonetheless. Let them deal with it. This is a unique opportunity.
      4) Consider blood testing for unusual diseases - Lyme's disease would be one.
      5) It is possible to have a visual inspection of the Eustachian tube done; but it doesn't seem there is an indication for doing so in your case (ie. your tympanometric test came back normal). The inspection is done via the nose under full anesthesia.

      It seems to me that you have received reasonable care at this point ie. you had a complete review of your auditory system (from all angles incl. MRI). But, you are left without a diagnosis. You need that.

      You too.
       
    4. rollergirl

      rollergirl Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      May 2014
      Thank you for your helpful comments. It seems that ear problems are difficult to get a diagnosis- very frustrating. I am told it will be a case of 'wait and see'. Anxiety definitely comes in to the picture and can cause dizziness in itself, which confuses the issue greatly. Tinnitus is such a horrible affliction! Guess I will have to get used to it though. Thank you again .
       
    5. attheedgeofscience
      Uninvolved

      attheedgeofscience Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Denmark
      Tinnitus Since:
      Childhood
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Head Injury
      I recommend giving the clinical trial of AM101 some thought; it's the first time in history that a drug has been developed to specifically fight tinnitus. And if you do decide to go for it, then please note that there is a time limit: participants are accepted in groups of either 0-3 months and 3-12 months (after onset of tinnitus). Depending on where you live, you may have to make a decision relatively quickly. So be careful not to "wait and see" too much. My advice.

      Take care.
       
    6. rollergirl

      rollergirl Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      May 2014
      Thank you, not so sure about the trail at this point....after all, I don't seem to have a diagnosis, and you need one of those. Also there are risks to your balance etc having these injections and you may be someone that only has the placebo! Not a risk I am prepared to take for now. I have had blood tests, though for general things, however, a full blood count was done, which I believe would show up any alert for infection somewhere, therefore alerting to further tests for other things I assume ? As you say, it seems I have done what I can for now.

      Thank you, for your detailed and helpful response.
       
    7. attheedgeofscience
      Uninvolved

      attheedgeofscience Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Denmark
      Tinnitus Since:
      Childhood
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Head Injury
      It is possible to contact one of the tinnitus study centres on how to deal with people in your situation.

      Phase I and II of the trial has been completed; a good safety profile has therefore been established. The injection procedure itself (intratympanic injections) is a common practice within the field of ENT medicine and is uncomplicated. The "risk" of getting the placebo is there, of course, but you will be offered the real drug after having taken part in the trial (at no cost to you).


      The choice of whether or not to take part in a clinical trial is an individual one. But at least make sure you are choosing not to take part in a trial for the right reasons. I realize you have probably already made up your mind at his point; so the above information is more aimed at others who are also reading this thread (as well as yourself, of course).

      I will be leaving this thread now.
       
    8. rollergirl

      rollergirl Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      May 2014
      Thanks again. Can I ask.... Are you a doctor? You seem to be very knowledgeable . I will certainly keep it in mind and talk to ent when I finally can get to see him again!
      Best wishes
       

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