Seeking Advice From This Awesome Forum

Discussion in 'Support' started by David Barr, Jul 7, 2013.

    1. David Barr

      David Barr Member

      Los Angeles
      Tinnitus Since:
      Hey all,
      Very happy to have found this forum. Fantastic resource and support blanket. A huge thank you to all those who regularly contribute.
      Wanted to ask for your advice as the collective knowledge available here seems way more expansive than anything my ENT or GP has to offer. I'll try and keep it short!
      For me, tinnitus began as a tiny high pitched sound in my right ear about 4 years ago, audible only in bed at night, and even then barely noticeable. It seemed to be sparked by Lexapro, confirmed by my quitting Lexapro for 6 months, at which time it vanished. I resumed the Lexapro dosage as, alas, my anxieties couldn't be kept at bay. This initial high pitched sound was so low it wasn't an issue. Been on lexapro again for 2 years.
      6 1/2 weeks ago I woke up with a much louder high pitched noise in my right ear and the feeling of a blocked swimmer's ear. A visit to the doctor confirmed that my ear was blocked - Eustachian tube issues. The diagnosis was allergies. Enter: Allegra prescription strength and a Fluticasone Propionate nasal spray.
      4 weeks later, the blockage had gone. The high pitched ringing, however, is still present. Lower in volume - the blockage seemed to amplify it - but always here. Swallowing still results in a clicking noise.
      Had a hearing test last week that confirmed that I have some hearing loss in that ear. Heading back to the ENT this week to see what he has to say after those tests.
      My own list of life changes happening around the time of Mr. Aggressive T's arrival:
      • Had a bad sinus infection a month before the ear infection surfaced. Took a course of antibiotics.
      • Quit smoking one month before the arrival of Mr Angry T.
      • Started using e-cigarettes as an aid to stop smoking
      • Tooth ache. Been giving me trouble for a long time. Having the tooth pulled in a few weeks

      Do any of these strike you as possible reasons for this flare up?
      I guess my main question is this, what would the knowledgable members of this forum choose as the next steps if in my shoes? I'm mentally preparing for this to be a life long affair, but still want to rule out some of the above. Perhaps e-cigarettes are irritating the inner ear - hence the clicking and increased T? Off to buy some nicotine gum to use for a week to see if this helps any… Probably won't. But hey, it's something proactive to do.
      Any help greatly appreciated!
    2. jazz
      No Mood

      jazz Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      eardrum rupture from virus; barotrauma from ETD
      Thanks for the faith you have in TT! We are not a substitute for medical advice, but we do try to help each other. :)

      I'll start with my observations. More knowledgeable people will follow...there's lots of good people on TT!

      Given the chronology, it sounds like Lexapro was the culprit. Most antidepressants are not ototoxic, but some people are sensitive and may develop problems. Since your tinnitus can be timed with starting and stopping the antidepressant, there's probably a connection. Of course, it's also possible you had unknown damage to your ear (from aging, loud noises, etc.) that only became a problem when you started the Lexapro.

      That said, most of what you list regarding your history can cause or contribute to tinnitus: eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD), antibiotics (especially aminoglycosides, but usually when given IV), and jaw issues (the jaw and ear do share some common nerves). And, of course, age may also be an issue. Tinnitus does increase with age, especially after 60 or so.

      Regarding smoking, I would personally chew nicotine gum instead. Smoking causes inflammation, especially of your oral and nasal cavities. I'm sure your eustachian tubes are also affected. Gum, however, is good for your eustachian tubes. You might get some relief from your ETD and your tinnitus.

      Your doctor might also prescribe something for your inflammation. Nasal steriods are useful, and I've used them, but they won't help your tinnitus. Nor will antihistamines. (Please know that allergies are also reported to cause tinnitus in some people.) Perhaps, your doctor will give you a series of oral steriods--like prednisone. Because tinnitus is worsened by inflammation, some people are able to prevent the tinnitus from becoming chronic if they address the swelling.

      Finally, you might qualify for an upcoming AM 101 trial. Check out the clinical trials site. In August, Auris will begin a new trial for tinnitus due to trauma; your ETD might qualify, but, since you have a history of tinnitus, this might disqualify you. Auris wants tinnitus onset within a three month window of the initial trauma. Still, you could discuss the trial with your physician. 101&rank=3
    3. AUTHOR
      David Barr

      David Barr Member

      Los Angeles
      Tinnitus Since:
      Hey Jazz,

      Many thanks for the detailed response! Your observations are much appreciated.

      Just purchased some Nicotine gum. I'll give this a go for a few weeks to see if the inflammation of the inner ear passes. This will - at least - rule out e-cigarettes / vaporizing as a culprit. I found one other person who seemed to get an inflamed ear from vaporizing on an e-cigarette forum. So it could be that. If not, I'll likely return to that particular crutch. It's the only thing that's ever really helped me quit smoking.

      I'll be seeing the ENT on Thursday of this week. We'll see if he has anything else to offer.

      The AM 101 trial sounds interesting. Will keep my eye on this for when the enrollment opens. Like you say, I may not qualify - but worth a shot.

    4. Hudson

      Hudson Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:

      Sorry to hear about your case of tinnitus. I know it's frustrating when it comes up like this, trust me, I do. From my own experience about what you listed, I can say that I agree with you about the Lexapro. I started taking Lexapro to deal with anxiety surrounding my own tinnitus flare up. Sometimes I think the Lexapro makes the tinnitus a little more shrill, but that's a bit of a trade off that I can deal with if it helps me to not concentrate on it and freak out about it so much. But I do think that getting off the Lexapro eventually may make the tinnitus lessen a bit.

      I don't think smoking those e-cigarettes will cause inflammation. In fact, there's no tar in those things as opposed to actually smoking, so you don't build up the gunk in your Eustachian tubes. But who knows, everyone is different. The main thing I would think that probably aggravated your tinnitus is the ear infection and round of antibiotics. Maybe some more time as you heal up from the infection will help with the tinnitus flare up. If you have Eustachian tube issues, quitting smoking is definitely not going to hurt your ear function, and will probably help improve it. Smoking also constricts the blood vessels leading to the inner ear which can cause a release of free radicals within the inner ear that are suspected in causing some damage. This is not easy, I know, because I still enjoy cigars a little too often. Sometimes I feel that tinnitus is forcing me to quit all the things I have done over the years a little at a time.

      Jazz is very knowledgeable and gave you some good suggestions. But of course, talk to your doctor about it. Let us know how you're doing, and I hope for the best for you.
    5. AUTHOR
      David Barr

      David Barr Member

      Los Angeles
      Tinnitus Since:
      Hey Hudson,

      Many thanks for your post!

      Great to have some verification on the lexapro front. Glad it has offered you some help in coping with the T.

      You're correct on the e-cigarettes: no tar involved. It's just a mixture of PG / VG, flavoring and liquid nicotine. So a much cleaner way of delivering nicotine. Perhaps my body is missing one of the other 3999 chemicals that get burned in an actual cigarette and that chemical was holding something back. Still, worth removing from the "I wonder" list.

      It frightens me when I read these forums and see people whose tinnitus was sparked by an ear infection then it decided to put up camp and stay. But I'm mentally preparing for the worst. It also scares me when I'm reading things about how the first 6 months of T can be crucial in how it might be tackled.

      I work as a film and TV editor so I'm lucky to be surrounded by sound most days. That distracts. But unlucky in that my career depends in large part on my hearing. The thought of it increasing could potentially mess with that.

      Perhaps the ear infection will take it's course and whatever's happening inside of their heals up decreasing the current volume of tinnitus. The ENT shoved a camera up my nose 3 weeks ago and the inner ear was inflamed. It still feels that way with the clicking when I swallow but it does feel like it is decreasing in volume a little. Or I'm just adjusting to it.

      My sympathies with all those who are struggling with a much heavier burden than my own. And my deepest respect to those who've had the mental fortitude to overcome this and get on with their lives. Having spent a few evenings in tears already, I marvel at the strength of some of the people on here. Something to aspire to.

      Thanks again. And much respect to you all!
    6. mick

      mick Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      I thought I would chime in about two items in your post.

      I too had clicking in my ears immediately after my T started. I never had any evidence of an infection (according to my doctor anyway) and I've never had any eustachion tube issues. It persisted for about 2 weeks then went away and has not bothered me since. (Wish the T would have done the same - but ...). The clicking in my case felt very much like there was something sticky inside my Eustachion tubes that was causing the inner surfaces of my tubes to stick together. I suspect that the clicking will go away for you as time passes.

      I also take Lexapro. I started taking it shortly after the T started, then I went off of it for a few weeks. During the time that I was off of it, my T seemed to be better, but it did not go away - it just seemed a little less irritating. I think it is possible that Lexapro had something to do with triggering your tinnitus, but clearly tinnitus weaves a very tangled web. I don't think I would lay blame solely on the drug, and would lean towards it being the convergence of multiple things. There is a phenomena known as excitotoxicity which could be at work in causing tinnitus which could be triggered by the cumulative effect of all the things you list in your original post. Excitotoxicity is the result of an imbalance in brain chemistry.

      Hope things get better for you soon.
    7. AUTHOR
      David Barr

      David Barr Member

      Los Angeles
      Tinnitus Since:
      Hey Mick,

      That's exactly what the clicking is like. As though the inner ear is closing then opening again, but sticking together briefly to create a click.

      It seems like this clicking is getting a little better over time. Or perhaps I'm just used to it now. The effect is some drums to go along with the T's high pitch. Just need some bass and I have a tune.

      I may try getting off the lexapro again to see if it helps any. Probably not the best time to go off this drug given how most people seem to get onto antidepressants after getting T, but something to at least rule out. Also starting a new gig in August that's sure to prove stressful. Fun and games this!

    8. stevo

      stevo Guest

      Hello this thread has peaked my interest because I too have sudden hearing loss and tinnitus. I quit smoking 6 weeks ago and started using eciggs exclusively.

      Week 1 - I started vaping 80VG & 20PG Supermint flavor I was ok,

      Week 2 - I came down with the most extreme case of stomach flu with unbelievable and constant diarrhea that lasted for 7 days. Honestly I never felt so sick in my life. I was convinced it was a normal stomach virus (noro-virus or food poisoning) and continued to vape.

      Week 3 I was ok,..

      Week 4, bam stomach flu virus again !!! With the exact same symptoms as week 2 that lasted again for 7 days.

      Week 5 I was ok...

      Week 6 -I had the Stomach flu again with the same exact symptoms that lasted 7 days.

      During this time (around the 3rd day of week 6) I realized what was making me sick was one of the ingredients in the E-Juice I was using. I had read some vaping war stories on line and had found a number of folks who had experienced the same stomach flu symptoms as I had for weeks at a time and they had it consistently 3 or 4 times over a 6 week period. So I switched to a 50PG 50VG mix with a non sweetened tobacco based flavor thinking it could be the flavoring, or perhaps the high amount of VG I was using.

      On the last few days of being sick during the 6th week (and using the "new" E-Juice mix) I started hearing a constant buzzing in my left ear that wouldnt go away...then the hearing loss started. It was a significant amount of hearing loss that seemed to be primarily in the low frequencies and some mid frequencies. I went to an ENT a day ago and he examined my ear and found no wax buildup and said behind my eardrum looked normal. He also did some hearing tests with tuning forks and came to the conclusion that I have an inner ear problem and quickly prescribed an oral steroid. From what he explained, my problem could continue and be permanent...or not. He said that there's about a 50 percent chance of it being permanent.

      SO now I wait to see if my hearing may or may not return....thrilling in a "verge of suicide" kind of way. Oh and the oral steroids are causing insomnia so im hyper aware of this wonderful experience.

      TO deal with this....I have gone back to smoking real ciggs because I wanted to put things back as they were until I see if my hearing returns. And because non of this would be happening if I never started vaping.

      I am certain that the complete cause of this is due to the electronic ciggs.

      My million dollar question is - did being so consistently sick from the E-Jiuce cause the onset of tinnitus ? Or is it the E-Juice itself that caused it.

      As I said earlier, I switched to a stronger PG E-Juice mix just prior to my tinnitus happening. And there are some folks on other forums who have gotten tinnitus from vaping and believe its come from PG based E-Juice.

      Im just ranting and looking for anything positive or anyone who has had a similar vaping experience.
    9. gary

      gary Member Benefactor

      Macomb, MI. USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Who Knows
      Hi Stevo, I also use a ecig. 26mg nicotine same 100/80 mix. I vaped for two years before I got T. I guess the ecig could make you sick, as for the ecig causing tinnitus, nicotine will cause the narrowing of arteries impeding blood flow. If you don't get the proper blood flow to your cochela you could have tinnitus because of this.

      Going back to smoking may make you feel better and lower your tinnitus. There is no way the I know of to compare the amount of nicotine in juice verses tobacco that I know of.

      I have noticed once in awhile when I draw on my ecig the drawing alone will cause a momentary spike in my tinnitus.

      Of course we know smoking or vaping is not good for our health. Nicotine is not good in any form, for anyone period.

      When we first get T most of usl think, ok what was the last thing I did different, some people blame it on medication, loud noise, lack of sleep, what ever it changes may have occurred just before they got T and think that has to be the problem. It does seem logical to think this way, hard to imagine T came out of no where. Who knows, some of these changes may have triggered T then again maybe not. We just don't know.

      By your only having T for such a short time it go away by it self.

      Yeah, T is a bitch to deal with, but keep looking around here and you will get some psychological relief by reading posts for others that are going through the exact same thing.

      Let me know if going back to cigarettes helps....
    10. Dneely250

      Dneely250 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Vaping E-cig
      Hello everyone,
      I too suffer from the same symptoms from vaping. I started with a single coil pen type tank system I thing manufacturered by a company named SMOK. I used that unit for two months without any issues but eventually graduated to a rebuildible dual coil tank system known as "Big Budda". Within 3 weeks of use I started to notice a slight sensation in my right ear that would occur on and off during inhalation. I didn't pay much attention to this as I had no pain or discomfort from the sensation. A week or so passed and suddenly what seemed overnight I awoke to what felt like I had water in my ear. Before I coutinue I will also inform you that I had no prior issues with ear infections or any ear problems in my life!
      At this point I was just using the process of elimination to systematically figure out what possibly be the culprit of this onset ear issue.
      So I decided to do some googling and found out that I wasn't alone in this issue involving vaping. Over the next couple of days my loss of hearing,ear popping and ringing continued to worsen. So I stopped vaping completely. And started taking 875mg amoxicillin tabs once a day for 12 days. It took at least three weeks from this point before I regained what I considered next to normal hearing in my ear.
      So being the smart individual that I am I started back vaping about a week after it eventually cleared up using the single coil vape pen that I originally started with since I never had issues using that unit and also because I was still addicted to the nicotine and I wasn't willing to go the nicotine chewing gum route as of yet.
      Sure enough roughly three weeks in doing this the same issues started to occur once again! I am currently on week three of loss of hearing, constant popping and ringing of the ear. I know... I know smart huh! :( This time it seems to be worse than last. Hopefully(pleading to God All Mighty) I will regain hearing once again. Needless to say that I have stopped all vaping or smoking of any sort and started the Nicorette gum like I should have in the first place!
      Like my mother use to tell me " Son of your going to be stupid... you gotta be tough!"
      Any suggestions on helping my situation that any of you have went through on this issue will be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys

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