Tinnitus After a Snorkeling Holiday — Probably Related to Neck Issues and Stress

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Pau La, Oct 17, 2023.

    1. Pau La

      Pau La Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Neck issues, stress
      Hi everyone,

      I would like to share my story and perhaps get some support as these days have been really tough for me.

      I am 31 years old, female, striving for an academic/scientific career, I was supposed to finish my third university degree in mathematics this year. I feel like tinnitus destroyed my whole life and effort.

      In September, I went for a seaside holiday in Egypt where I was snorkeling a lot. It was the first time of snorkeling for me and to be honest, it was causing me quite a lot of dizziness but I kept doing it. During the holiday, I also suffered from headaches a lot (which was probably just caused by the hot weather or issues with my neck) and I also had fever and stomach issues for few days. This may but does not have to be related to my tinnitus.

      Only one day after I returned home, on September 25, I started to hear some weird noise that I first thought came from our neighbours. Few hours later, I realized it was pulsatile tinnitus in my left ear. The pulsatile tinnitus is not present 24/7, it usually occurs after specific head movements, sometimes it lasts only few seconds but sometimes it remains for hours. When it is on and I press the vein on the left side of my neck, it disappears. On the other hand, it gets stronger if I press the vein on the right side of my neck.

      This pulsatile tinnitus is not my main issue now. Unfortunately, I started freaking out when it occured as tinnitus has always been my nightmare (my grandmother's friend had Meniere's disease and my boyfriend has had tinnitus for 10 years already). As the pulsatile tinnitus occured I kept listening to any sounds around me extremely carefully and had huge anxiety.

      Five days later, Saturday September 30, I went for a walk in a forest, I remember again moving my head fast to test my pulsatile tinnitus, testing all the sounds around me. On that day, I started hearing humming/buzzing sound in my head too. It feels like having an old fridge in my head. It has not stopped since then and is present 24/7. The sound sometimes changes during the day but I do not consider it being related to any movements or so.

      Two days after this, I went to see my ENT. The problem is not anyhow related to my ears, I have no hearing loss. She thought it was caused by my neck - which might be true as I am suffering from neck pain for a couple of years already. I personally believe the pulsatile tinnitus could be caused by the neck but the subjective tinnitus was rather stress. I got Prednisone anyway which did not help. I am taking Ginkgo biloba and some vitamins. I went to see two other ENT just to make sure - with the very same result. Then I saw a neurologist who basically did not do anything, only sent me for brain MRI in November - I do not think it will show anything.

      I am going to see a physiotherapist next week and will start physiotherapy after that. I have my brain MRI scheduled for next month and ultrasound of my veins in December.

      I have already lost hope that anything could help me. I have read hundreds of stories of people whose tinnitus was caused by neck issues and despite fixing the neck issues, the tinnitus did not go away. Also, it is impossible not to be stressed now.

      I feel like I am losing my life. I am a person that spent 80 % of her life in a complete silence so far reading books. I do not watch TV, I rarely listen to music. I cannot bear the fact I would never hear silence again. I am going to interrupt my studies. My life is ruined and all I have is suicidal thoughts. The only reason I have not committed suicide yet is feeling some responsibility towards my pets.

      I am planning to see a psychiatrist as well but I am slightly afraid to take any antidepressant as I know they can make tinnitus worse. I sleep only thanks to sleeping pills and benzodiazepines.

      I am staying on my bed now, listening to the air purifier that is able to mask my subjective tinnitus (not the pulsatile one), desperately missing hearing nothing. I am probably quite lucky as I do not really hear my tinnitus outside but it does not diminish despair as my life so far was silence, reading, researching, studying... I feel so sad seeing people outside looking happy. I feel like I am just going to secure my pets and then finish my life.

      Could I please get any support or tips how to handle this?
      • Hug Hug x 6
    2. SilverFox

      SilverFox Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Common cold
      This post resonates a lot with me as I find many similarities with my own background and initial reaction to tinnitus.

      I can relate very well to the serenity and recluse of reading and studying in silence. Nothing is better than a calm summer night with light wind touching tree leaves, or light autumn rain tapping the windows in a warm and silent room.

      You are still very early into this and things can improve greatly with time, either objectively or subjectively. Not hearing tinnitus outside is a good indicator. Right now you should take care that this doesn't get worse. Your doctors seem to be taking the right steps in diagnosing this condition. You should also test for iron and vitamin (in particular, B12) deficiency.

      MRIs can be quite loud. The facility should provide hearing protection, but it is worthwhile to research ear plugs and their correct method of use before having an MRI.

      Taking sleeping medications and benzodiazepines can form a dependency with time. It is probably good not to rely on them for too long. On the other hand, they help some people tremendously. This forum has a lot of different views on this. Be also aware that benzodiazepines can interact with sleeping medications. If you have been using these drugs for a few weeks already and decide to stop, do it gradually ("tapering"); don't stop abruptly.

      You can see if something non-habit forming such as melatonin, valerian root and magnesium helps with sleep and anxiety. You can also try a sound generator at night.

      Lastly, I also had similar suicidal ideation and thinking in the first weeks. Over months, it has diminished somewhat, even though my tinnitus is probably louder.
      • Agree Agree x 2
    3. slc

      slc Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Don’t lose hope. You are in early days when the sense of fight or flight is amped up. I have found that my craniosacral therapist has been very helpful. Such treatment might be particularly useful to consider in your situation.

      One can find therapists on this website. Look for someone with lots of experience.

      Best of luck.
      • Like Like x 1
      • Agree Agree x 1
    4. Jupiterman

      Jupiterman Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sudden loud noise
      It is very early days for you, so there is a good chance of improvement in the next few months.

      My advice:

      1) Don't do the MRI, it could make your tinnitus worse.
      2) Taper off the benzos as soon as you can.
      3) Stay at home for a while to reduce risk of accidental noise exposure.
      4) Don't have too much hope that 'experts' can help you. There are no cures or effective treatments.
      5) Be PATIENT, let time pass.
      • Like Like x 1
      • Agree Agree x 1
    5. DeanD

      DeanD Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Mild since 1982 - then Severe Oct 2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Microsuction (Oct 2022)
      I know how bad it is in the early days, many of us have all been there. The only thing that helped in my early days was stories of hope, so I want to try and share.

      I only recently saw a neurologist, mainly to do with other symptoms, but which could have been triggered by the cause of my tinnitus. He also told me how he also has tinnitus; he got his through snorkeling.

      He said he struggled in the early days, and needed a white noise machine on at night, but he is fully back to work (obviously) and I couldn't see him for 3 weeks as he was off enjoying himself on holiday. He's back doing everything he did before - except snorkeling of course!
      • Like Like x 1
    6. RocketJSquirrel

      RocketJSquirrel Member Benefactor

      California, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Rock concert
      Work on the neck. Have your therapist perform or prescribe cervical traction. It is easy and painless, and just might pop something back into place.
    7. Marina Moon

      Marina Moon Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      I'm sorry that you're going through this. My early days were the worst, but I've gradually seen an improvement in my tinnitus, however I have increased pain in my face/neck/shoulders/back, and I too will eventually need to see a physiotherapist.

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