Struggling with Tinnitus — It's Gotten Worse After Stress / Anxiety / Postpartum Depression

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Valentina79, May 12, 2021.

    1. Valentina79
      Scared

      Valentina79 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Rome, Italy
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2005
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably TMJ + Stress
      Hi,

      My name is Valentina and I live in Rome, Italy.

      I've had tinnitus since 2005. I was lying in bed with my head in a funny position and I suddenly started hearing a ringing in my left ear. At first I totally panicked. I went to an ENT (totally useless) who did not detect any hearing loss. I tried sound generators etc. I ended habituating to tinnitus, but not easily at all.

      All good (I could not even remember I had tinnitus, it was just a very fainted noise that almost kept me company when falling asleep) until May 2018 when I underwent an in vitro fertilization to have my first child who is now almost two years old. I had to take hormones but the worst part is I was exposed to a HUGE amount of stress and my tinnitus worsened real bad. It increased in loudness and other sound added up (like a horrible kind of engine sound in my head), even one sound in my right ear which had always been tinnitus free.

      After getting pregnant things got better, my right ear was no longer affected at all, maybe also due to corticosteroids I had to take during the first three months. Around half way of my pregnancy I could not even tell you if I still had tinnitus or not.

      Again last January 2021, after months of struggling with stress and anxiety due to a drowning relationship with my son's father as well as a slight postpartum depression, my "friends" came back in full force.
      At first I only had my ringing again so I bought a sound generator and could easily mask it at night for a while... then the engine noise in my head was back (comes and goes), then a bunch of other weird sounds that come and go as well, until about a week ago when a new high-pitched hissing/screeching electrical sound appeared. I was coping quite well until this "new entry". I do not have it all the time, but when I do it's on top of my old ringing and super intrusive, it's like having a ringing + hiss + sudden electric shocks in my ears. I also get it in short real high-pitched ringings which last a few seconds and disappear.

      During the day I can manage better but at night it's true hell. I have TMJ issues, bad neck issues (cervical hernias) and anxiety.

      I've been seeing an osteopath, it really helped at first but not anymore. I also go to CBT (I've been going forever regardless of my tinnitus) and wear a night guard at night and sometimes during the day. I do not take any drugs other than Melatonin.

      I am so discouraged as I have been trying to keep it together since January hoping it was just a temporary condition but it seems to be getting worse, which scares me so much. It seems like every time I manage to live with it a new sound comes along. I have a two-year old to look after and after all the struggles I had to face to have him I do not want to jeopardize my capacity to being a good mother, I want to be there for him, be happy for both and live my life to the fullest.

      I may sound melodramatic (I am Italian after all lol) but seriously, you all know how hard it is to carry on with our normal life having tinnitus, let alone being in charge of a baby basically on your own...

      I'd appreciate it if you could suggest any check-up that could be useful at this point as I do not understand why my tinnitus is getting worse instead of subsiding a little. I had a brain MRI in 2018 (negative), and a new Cervical MRI two days ago (I was supposed to do a new brain one as well but could not stand it and left). I also had TMJ X-rays (results tomorrow).

      @Greg Sacramento and @Michael Leigh, sorry to tag you for support but I have been reading this forum for a while now and you seem to have an extensive knowledge of the matter.

      Thanks in advance for taking the time to read me =)

      V.
       
      • Hug Hug x 11
    2. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Hi Valentina,

      Thank you for your kind words. Some of the things you have mentioned that's going on in your life, leads me to think you are under a lot of stress and this could be the main reason the tinnitus is causing you so much difficulty at the moment. CBT can be helpful but you may also need medication, so my advice is to talk things over with your doctor. If your tinnitus isn't related to TMJ and not caused by underlying medical problem within your auditory system, and if you don't use headphones, earbuds, headsets, and you don't listen to loud music or subject your ears to loud sounds, then I think stress is the likely cause for the increase in the tinnitus. Once this is managed and brought under control I believe you will start to feel better.

      Please talk to your family doctor.

      Take care and I hope you start to feel better soon.
      Michael
       
      • Like Like x 2
    3. Wrfortiscue
      Provocative

      Wrfortiscue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      I deal with a ton of stress and it definitely can make tinnitus worse. Don’t feel bad. We all struggle with tinnitus. I would echo what Michael said. Try to be well (I know it’s hard) and take care of yourself. I’m strong one day and down the next. My tinnitus also up and down due to the side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine (or stress) lol.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
      • Hug Hug x 1
    4. Matchbox
      Wishful

      Matchbox Member

      Location:
      BC Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      August 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced, Prednisone (drones), Barotrauma (distortions)
      You ever find any medications helped you? Have you tried high doses of Ginkgo biloba or Magnesium?

      Yes steroids can help, rarely they make things worse and any worsenings are usually due to fast tapering.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Valentina79
      Scared

      Valentina79 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Rome, Italy
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2005
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably TMJ + Stress
      Hi Micheal,

      Thank you for your kind support.

      I haven’t used earbuds/earphones or been to a club for over two years so I guess it’s unlikely the spike is due to noise.

      I agree with you saying stress might be a main factor, but do you think my neck issues could contribute? If I move my neck to one side my tinnitus increases in intensity.

      Also, what could I do to mask it a bit? It is so high-pitched that I can no longer find a noise that works for me.

      Thanks,
      V.
       
    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Valentina79
      Scared

      Valentina79 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Rome, Italy
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2005
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably TMJ + Stress
      I have tried Magnesium but it doesn’t seem to help.

      Thanks for your help!
      V.
       
    7. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Valentina79
      Scared

      Valentina79 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Rome, Italy
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2005
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably TMJ + Stress
      Do you think stress can add up new sounds?

      As you got it from the vaccine (or stress) I hope your tinnitus subsides eventually in time!

      Thanks,
      V.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    8. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Hi Valentina,

      It is good that you don't use earbuds or headphones. My advice is to try and keep it that way. Going out and having a good time is something I encourage, just be careful of loud sounds. Earplugs serve a useful purpose but if external sound is too loud it will pass through your head and transfer to your inner ear by bone conduction and it's possible to spike the tinnitus. Exercise good judgement you will be fine.
      The eighth cranial nerve or vestibulocochlear nerve is very important and responsible for our hearing and balance. It is located at the base of the brain and neck. Moving and twisting the neck can change the intensity of the tinnitus, my advice is not to deliberately do this.
      Masking or using sound enrichment is fine as long as you don't attempt to completely cover up the tinnitus so that it can't be heard. Use low level music or a sound machine that plays nature sounds setting the level slightly below your tinnitus.

      Tinnitus is intrinsically linked to our mental and emotional wellbeing. Stress makes tinnitus worse and tinnitus makes stress worse. It can become a vicious cycle. Once stress and anxiety are managed the tinnitus will usually improve. Please talk to your doctor about the issues that you have raised in your post and what's going on in your life. I believe once your stress starts to improve you will notice an improvement on how you feel.

      Best of luck.
      Michael
       
      • Like Like x 1
    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Valentina79
      Scared

      Valentina79 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Rome, Italy
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2005
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably TMJ + Stress
      What do you mean by loud noise? I never use earplugs when I go out... but I do not go to clubs or concerts, the highest noise I could be exposed to is probably traffic or a restaurant.

      Do you think going to a concert (one day who knows) wearing earplugs should be fine or dangerous?
      I do not actually have a doctor... if going to a specialist, what type would you advise could manage these issues best?

      Thanks again for your help!
      V.
       
    10. Lukee

      Lukee Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador

      Location:
      Toronto, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Wim Hof Breathing Exercises
      Ciao Valentina,

      Sorry to hear of your troubles. Your story sounds very familiar to @Samantha R who also had an increase (cause?) in tinnitus during IVF. At the same time you mention physical issues that could be causing your tinnitus, TMJD, neck issues, etc. On top of all this, you have gone through a very stressful period and raising a small child on your own is not easy, especially in the middle of a pandemic.

      My hope for you is once you get your results you can find a treatment that can help you control it. I think your body has been through a lot of stress (emotional, hormonal, physical) over the last 3 years and this has surely aggravated an underlying condition. While most ENTs are particularly useless for this stuff, Italy does have some great doctors and researchers working on vestibular diseases and the middle ear so you may be able to find help from someone qualified. I believe @Gee82 is also from Rome so maybe she can help you.

      Good luck.
      SPQR!
       
      • Like Like x 1
    11. Ken219
      Frustrated

      Ken219 Member

      Location:
      New York Area
      Tinnitus Since:
      Summer of 1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure?
      I advise avoiding loud events period. It is not worth the risk. Maybe the earplug isn't in correctly. Avoid loud music at all costs!
       
      • Like Like x 1
    12. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Valentina79
      Scared

      Valentina79 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Rome, Italy
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2005
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably TMJ + Stress
      Thanks very much for your kind words and encouragement!

      I truly hope we can all find a cure one day, or at least manage to cope with tinnitus just fine...

      v.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    13. Wrfortiscue
      Provocative

      Wrfortiscue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Yes I do believe it can.
      Thanks.
       
    14. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      You are right not to use earplugs when out and about as they can cause more harm than good. By loud noise I meant going to clubs and concerts. If you wanted to attend these venues and see no reason why you shouldn't just be careful. Use earplugs but be careful of overly loud sounds.
      As above, go to a concert if you want to and live your life. Please read my post: Hyperacusis, As I See It, on my started threads.
      You have had tinnitus since 2005. Something usually causes it although it can appear for no reason. If it wasn't caused by an underlying medical problem within your auditory system, then it could have been noise induced which is the most common cause. It is important to know what originally caused the tinnitus onset, that way it helps to know how to help prevent it getting worse.

      Since you have coped with tinnitus for many years, providing no underlying medical problem within your auditory system is causing the increase and ruling out exposure to loud noise and medication, the most likely cause is stress as I have previously mentioned.

      You have said that you are having CBT so I'll assume you are having counselling? I don't think you need to see an Audiologist that specialises in tinnitus counselling because you have been living with tinnitus for quite some time. I think if you discuss the issues you mention in your post and what's going on in your life with your CBT therapist it would help. You may be advised to take medication to help manage stress. I believe this is the route that you should pursue.

      Michael
       
      • Like Like x 1
    15. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Valentina79
      Scared

      Valentina79 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Rome, Italy
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2005
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably TMJ + Stress
      Thank you, Michael - it all makes so much sense.

      I truly appreciate you taking the time to support me.

      Best,
      V.
       
      • Friendly Friendly x 1
    16. Greg Sacramento

      Greg Sacramento Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame Advocate

      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      syringing and now somatic T dental work
      Hi @Valentina79, some of us are just unlucky that our neck and maybe also our shoulders and back muscles became tight with nerve entrapment from a series of irregular body movements and then receive tinnitus. Neck/back muscle spasms can place pressure to our C spine and atlas and then to our jaw.

      Does your tinnitus temporary increase when you place the back of your head flat to a pillow or with forward head motion?

      The lower areas of the skull and jaw are connected to the auditory nerves. The neck supports the head and damage to these areas from neck muscle spasms can cause tinnitus. If the neck is not supporting the head properly, the TM joint can get damaged or worn and this can also increase tinnitus.

      Some important thoughts for now:
      Use proper posture and with computer use.
      Don't bend forward to lift to pull something - bend at the knees.
      Don't extend lower jaw forward - such by using a straw to drink a thick drink.
      Don't keep mouth open wide at the dentist without a rest break.
      Don't lift head off a dental rest and hold.
      Recommend not to do sit-ups. I would not do stretch neck exercises.

      Have you received notations from the cervical MRI and TMJ X-rays that you recently had?

      Notations would be helpful for therapy treatment thoughts.
       
      • Like Like x 2
    17. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Valentina79
      Scared

      Valentina79 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Rome, Italy
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2005
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably TMJ + Stress
      Hi Greg,

      Thanks for your feedback!

      I am supposed to get my X-rays and MRI results tomorrow (hopefully!) as I went today but they were not ready...

      I will keep you posted as soon as I get them.

      By the way, I don’t think I quite understand what you mean by “Don't lift head off a dental rest and hold. ”

      Thanks again for your help,
      V.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    18. Wrfortiscue
      Provocative

      Wrfortiscue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      What do you mean by neck stretch exercises? My physical therapy will start working on my neck since I have tightness and bad posture.
       
    19. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Valentina79
      Scared

      Valentina79 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Rome, Italy
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2005
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably TMJ + Stress
      Hi @Greg Sacramento,

      As promised here’s my Cervical MRI results (summed up).

      “Verticalization with a tendency to inversion. A number of protrusions from C4 and C6, a large hernia between C5 and C6 towards the right pressing on the root pocket. No medullary alterations.”

      My TMJ’s x-rays showed my right jaw coming too forward (out of its trail) when I open the mouth at max.

      Thanks for your advice!
      Valentina
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    20. Greg Sacramento

      Greg Sacramento Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame Advocate

      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      syringing and now somatic T dental work
      Hi Valentina: I had mentioned both notations above to others many times before they had radiological testing.

      I mentioned this in above post to you - all important with both your conditions:
      Use proper posture and with computer use.
      Don't bend forward to lift to pull something - bend at the knees.
      Don't extend lower jaw forward - such by using a straw to drink a thick drink.
      Don't keep mouth open wide at the dentist without a rest break.

      No medullary alterations - good. Discuss treatment with your Neurologist before getting physiotherapy.

      A disc herniation at the C5/6 level will lead to C6 nerve pinching.
      This pinch nerve is causing inflammation of your vestibulocochlear nerve - result tinnitus.

      Use cool - not cold compress in this neck area. Don't press hard.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    21. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Valentina79
      Scared

      Valentina79 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Rome, Italy
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2005
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably TMJ + Stress
      Thanks for your kind feedback, Greg. I appreciate you taking the time to provide support.

      So this nerve pinching means there’s no way that my tinnitus can get better?

      Also, do you think although my disc herniation is pressing towards the right side of the nerves, it could affect my left ear? I have always had my ringing in my left ear and only occasionally a lower one in my right one.

      Thanks again for your precious help.

      Best,
      V.
       
    22. Sara May

      Sara May Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      4/3/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @Greg Sacramento, in a previous post you mentioned antibiotics. If you suspect infection is causing pressure and tinnitus, what antibiotics would you suggest? Thank you
       
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    23. Greg Sacramento

      Greg Sacramento Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame Advocate

      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      syringing and now somatic T dental work
      Hi @Sara May, what do you think is causing an infection?
       
      • Like Like x 1
    24. Lukee

      Lukee Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador

      Location:
      Toronto, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Wim Hof Breathing Exercises
      Hi @Valentina79, curious to hear how you are making out.
       
      • Like Like x 1
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