Severe Anxiety After Developing Tinnitus — What Medication Should I Try?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Molgem, Oct 5, 2022.

    1. Molgem

      Molgem Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise? Medicine? Vaccine? Unknown Possibly Noise Induced
      Hello, I am a new member of the forum. I developed some pretty moderate tinnitus. I can hear it in most situations and have developed some pretty severe anxiety as of late. I find it hard to concentrate, and am constantly fighting to control my stress levels.

      It usually occurs when I wake up, my legs feel very tense (like adrenaline is being pumped into them), and it sometimes moves up to my body. As it states, I suspect my tinnitus is caused by noise (even though I'm not 100% sure).

      Does anyone else get this feeling? It would be a lifesaver to know what medicines I can take for this. I have been told Klonopin is a med I can consider. I went to a psychologist and they prescribed me Propranolol. However, I heard this can exacerbate tinnitus for some people.

      I will be completely honest, medicines scare the living hell out of me. I fear nothing more than a med making my tinnitus worse. However, at this point, the anxiety I am living with is so unbearable I want to consider one to calm down finally.

      How do you all determine what medicine is safe? Are there medicines I should consider over others? I want to clarify that the answers you give and the help you give is life changing and I cannot thank you all enough for the posts I see on this forum.

      Thanks again,
      -M
       
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    2. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Hi @Molgem.

      It reads on your profile cause of tinnitus could be more than one thing. Before the onset of the tinnitus, if you regularly listened to audio through any type of headphones including earbuds, AirPods, headsets, noise cancelling or bone conduction headphones, then the tinnitus is likely to be noise induced. Other types of exposure to loud noise can cause tinnitus too.

      Tinnitus can also be caused by stress or an underlying medical condition within the auditory system. In the early stages of tinnitus, particularly if it's noise induced, my advice is to leave your ears alone. It's not a good idea to try any treatments unless it's medication to manage stress which should be prescribed by your doctor, because the tinnitus can easily be made worse. I hasten to add, this only applies if your tinnitus is noise induced. If you are experiencing deafness, balance problems or acute pain in your ears, then this needs to be investigated.

      Whether the tinnitus is noise induced or caused by something else, you should see your doctor, who will probably be able to help you manage the stress. Please click on the links below and read my posts: New to Tinnitus, What to Do, Tinnitus, A Personal View. If you have been using any type of headphones, my advice is not to use them even at low volume. Try to avoid quiet rooms and surroundings by using low level sound enrichment. More about this is mentioned in the links below.

      All the best,
      Michael

      New to Tinnitus, What to Do? | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
      Tinnitus, A Personal View | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
       
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    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Molgem

      Molgem Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise? Medicine? Vaccine? Unknown Possibly Noise Induced
      Hello @Michael Leigh. I have read a lot of posts you have given advice on. I want you to know everything about me so I will tell you my history.

      I used AirPods (non noise-canceling) regularly to listen to podcasts that were mixed at a lower volume, as a result, I had to use them with increased volume. I suspect this is the culprit. I did drive a car with a louder exhaust as well. Not super loud, but louder than most.

      Prior to the onset of my tinnitus I had taken in the month of May a bit of Tylenol for a sore throat. I had taken the drink stuff, about 600 mg, and 2/3rds of an extra strength afterwards, 375 mg, then waited 4 hours as the bottle advised to take another 500 mg dose, waited 10 hours after and took another 500 mg dose. I stopped after.

      Around 5 months back I did get the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer). However, I doubt this is the cause.

      I realized later down the line that I had a droning buzz in my left ear so I may have had this before and not realized it. This was definitely before my right ear worsened.

      Currently, the tinnitus is bad in my right ear. Thankfully my left ear is still at its baseline level, it's really only my right ear that is giving me problems.

      Do you know a lot about Propranolol? I was prescribed it by a NP-C. They wanted to start with this med first before they consider antidepressants. I have read on this forum that for some Propranolol helps, and for others it makes them worse.

      While I know you are not a doctor of course, I was more or less curious what your thoughts are on this.

      You've given me a lot of hope @Michael Leigh. I cannot thank you enough for getting to this post again. Thank you.
       
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    4. Joe Cuber
      Curious

      Joe Cuber Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Location:
      California, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Gradual hearing loss + a huge amount of stress
      Hi there @Molgem, sorry to hear you're dealing with tinnitus and anxiety. I wanted to mention that there's some similarities with what you're experience and what I experienced about 6 months ago when mine suddenly onset.

      Like you, my primary experience is in my right ear and I can hear it over just about everything. I also in retrospect realize that I've had a low-volume tinnitus prior to my onset that I could only hear in quiet places. And like you, I battled a huge amount of anxiety.

      Incidentally, have you had your hearing checked? When I did, they told me I had gradual hearing loss at a moderate level in both ears. I think in my case this was a contributing factor. Another factor for me was months of stress prior to onset, so I wanted to ask you whether stress might be a factor for you.

      To answer your question about experiencing anxiety, I didn't experience mine the same way you describe. I hear people experience different physical symptoms when they have high anxiety or are experiencing a panic attack. For me, I feel a hardness in my chest, and I get clammy, and I start having back spasms.

      My anxiety was so out of control that I chose to take meds. I worked with my doctor on options. I started with Hydroxyzine which was okay, then I tried Ativan which worked great, except it's a benzo, so I knew to get off of it fast. I then settled on Zoloft and Gabapentin, which I still take today.

      None of the meds I've taken has affected my tinnitus in any way, good or bad. But they all helped me get on top of my anxiety. Paired with learning CBT/DBT, I regained control and now I have low or no anxiety on a daily basis.

      I do know some have reported experiencing spikes upon taking meds, so I understand your concern. It's a choice not to be taken lightly. At some point you decide whether it's worth it or whether there are other viable ways to curb your anxiety.

      Hope that helped.
       
    5. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Hi @Molgem.

      Thank you for the additional information and your kind comments. They are much appreciated.

      I agree with you and suspect that your tinnitus is noise induced but please don't fret over this. The good news is that this type of tinnitus usually improves with time and since you have read many of my posts, you already know what the habituation process involves and what I believe one needs to do to prevent noise induced tinnitus from getting worse.

      You are quite right I am not a doctor and for this reason refrain from commenting on specific medications or medical conditions that cause tinnitus. However, I want to clarify something that some people are not aware of, or they refuse accept. ENT doctors treat underlying medical conditions within the auditory system that cause tinnitus and there are many. This is their area of expertise, but it doesn't mean they are tinnitus specialists because they don't treat the condition. Many of them (but not all) know very little about tinnitus and the way it affects a person's mental and emotional wellbeing, particularly when it is noise induced.

      When tinnitus is noise induced, as I suspect in your case, and a patient is having difficulty coping with it, they should be referred to an audiologist that specialises in tinnitus and hyperacusis management. This is the correct health professional to see. Whilst the audiologist will be able to advise on hearing aids and medications to help with stress caused by the tinnitus, in a similar way that an ENT doctor can, many audiologists (but not all) that work with tinnitus patients also have tinnitus. They were either born with the condition or acquired it at some time in their life. This is particularly important when counselling a person that has difficulty with tinnitus management and is a must in my opinion, if the counselling is to be of high quality when administering it in treatments such as CBT and TRT, because tinnitus cannot be learnt from a book or to know of the way it affects a person's mental and emotional wellbeing unless they live with it.

      For now, I suggest that you follow the advice of your doctor regarding medication to help with stress and see how you get on. Tinnitus can be problematic especially in the early stages which you are still in but does improve with time. If necessary, consider getting a referral to an audiologist that specialises in tinnitus management and preferably one that has tinnitus.

      I advise you to stop listening to audio through the AirPods even at low volume.

      All the best,
      Michael
       
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    6. TintinnabulatorX
      Balanced

      TintinnabulatorX Member

      Location:
      Pacific NW USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1997
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure (most likely)
      Hi @Molgem.

      There's great advice above. I can provide three additional points for you to think about:

      1. At my recent hearing test (dealing with my sudden hearing loss issues), my audiologist said that one of the best things I could do for the elevated tinnitus was to do my best to not focus it, because that teaches that brain that the noise is "correct," which becomes a self-perpetuating cycle. It's kind of like the "don't think of an elephant" exercise... it's very difficult because now you have to think about the elephant. Instead, try to focus on anything else - find a distraction. I realized that I've been doing this naturally for a long time, which is why my decades-old tinnitus always seemed manageable to me.

      2. Regarding general anxiety, one of the best things you can do is examine your diet. Look at what you're eating regularly and consider if it's a healthy choice for you. I'm a big believer that no specific diet is right for everyone, so you may have to try different things for awhile. Keep a food log - it really helps.

      3. Do some kind of exercise every day. It doesn't have to be a workout, it just has to be something. For me, it's walking. I go on at least one 20-40 minute walk every day (preferably outside, but the treadmill counts also), and it has made a huge difference to my overall mental state. Personally, I walk without music or podcasts or anything and just think or keep my mind as still as I can. It's not exactly meditation, but it almost always makes me feel better, even if I really, really, really didn't want to get my butt out of my chair and go. :) Guided meditation can also be a huge help if that's your preference.

      Try these things before you jump straight into finding a med. That's not to say that there's not a medicine that will help you, just that by making these changes you might find that you don't need them.
       
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