Sharp Noise Exposure (Fireworks) on July 4th Followed by Muffled Hearing / Ear Fullness

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Nrp, Jul 11, 2021.

    1. Nrp

      Nrp Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure
      I apologize in advance to whether this is the right spot to post this. I have no ringing in my ears. I would've posted this in the hyperacusis category, but I haven't been exposed to a sound that hurts my ear since my injury, so this felt the most appropriate location.

      Stupidly, I set off fireworks July 4th for first time. One let off a loud screech about 10 feet from me. I felt an immediate sharp pain. I felt no symptoms for the rest of the night after that. I woke up the next day to my right ear having a fullness/muffled sound. I could still hear, but it felt like I could hear less. I have issues with anxiety to begin with, this didn't help. No matter how I worded my symptoms on Google search, I kept being redirected to this website.

      Tuesday (2 days out) the muffled/fullness decreased greatly. I still made an appointment with an ENT and saw him on Thursday. I had my first hearing test since probably grade school. A little more intimidating than the one I remember. But, upon reviewing the results with the doctor, he explained to me that my ears were ALMOST identical (the lines were not overlapping on the audiogram, right ear was very, very minorly below). The two lines made a jagged up and down within the 20-25 dB range, with one spike up towards 15 dB at the 2nd to last frequency and then back down to 20-25 dB. There was another test, I can't remember the name, but I believed it had to do specifically with frequencies. The doctor also said that my left ear recognition is 100% and right ear is 96% (I believe this to be the test where I had to repeat words of a man/woman in each ear). He said that he felt within a few weeks my symptoms should be gone and to protect my ears from sounds in the future. I asked about Prednisone because I see that as the main thing prescribed early on. He stated that HAD I had tinnitus OR there was a huge discrepancy between my ears he would prescribe it.

      It's now Sunday, almost a full week. I have to be honest with you, I don't know if I'm just a prisoner of my own mind or not at this point. The fullness feels to still be improving, I took Ibuprofen for a headache (unrelated) the other night and I felt like it helped with the fullness/muffled sound (placebo?). I feel as if I have to keep asking my girlfriend to repeat herself. Mainly when there's AC blowing hard in house/car. She claims I always did that, maybe I did, this is driving me nuts. My ear could be normal right now, and although it's only been a week, I don't think I'd know what normal felt like.

      It feels I can't help but think to myself, would I feel more comfortable if I just call the doctor tomorrow and ask for the Prednisone regardless (what can it hurt?). If he believes it will improve on its own, why not try Prednisone as overkill? I've seen multiple sites saying Prednisone has better results the earlier you start it, with there being a 2 week window before it's pointless. AND because I've read that, that is fueling my anxiety as well, otherwise I'd just have comfort in the doctor's answer.

      Sorry for the long, possibly in the wrong spot post.

      EDIT #1: Would I know if I had tinnitus? I heard no ringing or any noises during the hearing test when I had the earbuds in the soundproof room. Is it possible I could have it and it's just SO low that I don't notice it at all?

      EDIT #2: I'm 35 years old.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    2. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Nrp

      Nrp Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure
      I'll just respond to my own post. After more research, I saw that Prednisone can cause ototoxicity, which has symptoms of hearing loss/tinnitus. And that it could be just while on the medication or permanent without ability to reverse?

      Could this be the rational as to why the doctor didn't want to prescribe it? Factored into my audiogram showing ears are similar and me not having tinnitus currently?
       
    3. SaraK18

      SaraK18 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sound exposure
      Hi,

      Sorry to hear about your accident! I had pre-existing anxiety as well before my sound trauma and man does that ramp up the anxiety. From what I read, it's not just psychological, it's physiological as well, since the inner ear is close to the limbic system (amygdala - fight or flight).

      I was not prescribed steroids for my initial or my recent reactivation of my sound injury. I don't know if that was correct or not. This last time I called my doctor 3 times in a week and kept asking and he said not for this, it will settle. He told me that steroids can have a lot of unpleasant side effects so he prefers not to prescribe them unless necessary. I have tinnitus and hyperacusis.

      I have read studies that the steroids help. Also read posts on here of people saying it helped but then when they went off, tinnitus came back or it did nothing.

      I understand the anxiety and the feeling like time is running out. Honestly, when I'm in these situations I pray. I pray really hard. Meditate. Go within if you can. Anything that connects you to your inner knowing.

      There are other things you can do as well. Maybe the Ibuprofen worked because it's an anti-inflammatory. There are natural anti-inflammatories - you can look up on this website about alternative methods and see all of the many things listed. At the very minimum you should probably try and take some natural stuff.

      You would know if you had tinnitus. If it's so quiet that you can't hear it then don't worry about it. It sounds like so far your ears are recovering well, and maybe you're just hyper aware right now. Try to relax and not let the stress take over your mind. I would also recommend really protecting your ears right now. Like do not be exposed to anymore even semi-loud sounds for a while. No headphones, nothing like that at all. After mine I wore earplugs or earmuffs (which were not the best earmuffs) for a while for extra protection. No caffeine, not too much salt, no straining, nothing that increases the pressure on your ears, like elevation or lifting weights.

      Baby your ears right now and let your body heal itself. Try to do some deep breathing or anything that relaxes you.

      Be well,
      Sara
       
    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Nrp

      Nrp Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure
      @SaraK18, I appreciate the response. Ironically enough, I live in an area where elevation changes are going to happen with just every day travel. I've had my ears popping (felt nice considering they have felt like they NEEDED to and couldn't for the first few days). And as far as my coping mechanisms for stress go, it's working out/lifting weights (while taking a pre caffeine beverage). Hopefully these things are not going to cause further damage. I have used headphones as well, but on extremely low volumes.

      Also, last night I answered my phone and it was on speaker/max volume. Startled me instantly when the person said hello and immediately switched it. Needless to say, that ramped up my paranoia and stress for today. Which finally led me to make a post on here.

      EDIT: I don't want to come across as reckless. I'm just saying that the irony that my coping mechanisms are all the things you warned against. I see the posts on this forum where people are afraid to go to the beach because of the noise and what not. Is exposure to a loud noise truly like dementia in the sense it never regresses, just a slow downward spiral? Or is it more about avoiding loud noises from causing ANOTHER injury that will pile up on one another?
       
    5. SaraK18

      SaraK18 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sound exposure
      Hi-

      The tips I gave you were actually all things that someone told me when I first wrote on here (that my doctor had not told me).
      Obviously you cannot avoid elevation changes because of where you live, but maybe avoid air travel for now if possible?

      From what I was told it's important to avoid these things for about six weeks. I think it's because all of them can change the pressure in your inner ear and that's what we are trying to avoid while the ear is healing.

      It definitely does not have to be a downward spiral at all. A lot of people have something like this and recover completely from what I understand. But maybe it's smart to be cautious with your ears going forward. Like if you're going to be around something really loud either avoid it or use hearing protection.

      My ears were mostly healed from my initial injury and then I stupidly tossed a heavy glass bottle in to recycling and it smacked another heavy glass bottle like a week ago and seemed to reactivate my injury unfortunately. Had I not done that, my life was pretty much normal!
       
    6. Wrfortiscue
      Probing

      Wrfortiscue Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Probably from long term usage.
       
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    7. Exit

      Exit Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      For this time, you’re almost out of the water :)
      Or did I say that wrong...?

      Relax, avoid loud incidents to the ear for a couple of weeks. I’ll think you’ll be fine.

      Best regards.
       
    8. Wrfortiscue
      Probing

      Wrfortiscue Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Hey man, how are you? I’m developing new tones and I’m drug free plus no further noise damage. I hope they find what’s happening to you as I may be in the same boat.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Nrp

      Nrp Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure
      @Exit, relaxing is the hardest part. 6 days after the original incident I answered my phone and it was on speaker at max volume near my ear in question. I was immediately startled when they said hello and switched it. That was enough for my anxiety to take me hostage for another few days.

      But, based on my story and the stories you have seen on this forum, do you think I should NOT call my doctor and question the Prednisone again? And just let the ears "heal"?

      Edit: To put my anxiety/paranoia into perspective. I've put silicone earplugs in my ears to see if I heard tinnitus. Then I put closed ear headphones over top of my ears with earplugs in to see if I heard tinnitus. I don't THINK I hear anything. That's what's destroying me. I'm trying to find things. I would think tinnitus wouldn't be THAT hard to pickup if it were there. I'm in shambles mentally.
       
    10. Exit

      Exit Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      For once I’ll agree with an ENT.

      There really wasn’t enough indications to start with Prednisone, he even bothered to explain, but I guess it’s because you asked :)

      My take is you’re now too late for Prednisone so let it go.

      3-5 more days and you’re out of the woods!

      I very strongly recommend you to not listen to your ears again.
      You did it, and didn’t hear anything except normal things.
      There will always be some noise, sshh or blood sounds in ears with earplugs. Especially after being exposed to some seconds.

      It’s smart of you to be alert after the accident so to catch it early first week and then might have a chance to improve with either Prednisone or avoid excessive noise.

      Take some pride in that.
      Do not listen to your ears again, focus on not having more incidents next weeks. Sleep, eat, listen to some low music :)

      If you’re out walking next to a road, then perhaps have over the ear headphones on for a couple of weeks.

      No music, no active noise cancellation.

      Do not have headphones on for long periods.
       
    11. kingsfan
      Mellow

      kingsfan Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Southern California
      Tinnitus Since:
      9-17-20 / 10-20-20 / 3-31-21 / 5-23-21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      turning everything up to 11
      You really shouldn't worry. Your tests came back fine. You have no ringing. I agree with your doctor.

      Pop in some foam earplugs when doing loud things: working with power tools, air compressors, vacuum cleaners, blenders, etc. Get some musician earplugs for bars, concerts, sporting events.

      I had the muffled hearing thing regularly throughout my life as a musician. It took a long time for any tinnitus to come around.
       
    12. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Nrp

      Nrp Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure
      @Exit & @kingsfan, for a person with "healthy" ears, you're saying that even if they plugged their ears they will hear SOMETHING? I can't define what I'm hearing. And it's only noticeable when I have put earplugs in, and it's very low (which is what's making it hard for me to define it).
       
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    13. SD7
      Angry

      SD7 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Mid /June 2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Vaccine + Noise
      If you have to plug your ears and scan vigorously for it, you should rest easy. Large swaths of the population have some sound in pure silence to different degrees. From what it sounds you don’t have anything to worry about. You have to refrain from looking for problems where they may not exist.

      Wishing you the best.
       
    14. Jon R.

      Jon R. Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2001 & then again in 2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      1st tone 2001 ear plugs, 3 other tones 2021 Pfizer vaccine
      For what it is worth, every noise spike I have had that muffled my ears lasted between 2 and 3 weeks and went back to normal.

      Some that I remember:

      A friend put loud headphones on me unexpectedly from behind, they were blaring loud. I had muffled hearing for 2 weeks.

      A low flying jet gave me muffled hearing for approx 3 weeks.

      A doctor hitting my ear drum with a swab gave me muffled hearing for 2 weeks.

      A nurse giving me water irrigation in my ear left me with muffled hearing for 2 weeks.
       
    15. kingsfan
      Mellow

      kingsfan Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Southern California
      Tinnitus Since:
      9-17-20 / 10-20-20 / 3-31-21 / 5-23-21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      turning everything up to 11
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    16. Bimmerboy

      Bimmerboy Member

      Location:
      London
      Tinnitus Since:
      14/02/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      covid, infection, stress, ototoxic meds, noise, TMJ
      @Nrp, this is a near miss you should get over and celebrate. Like @kingsfan said, celebrate and relax, for this is a very big win.
       
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