Tinnitus Brought on by a Very Stressful Home Renovation in the Middle of the Pandemic

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by bigfoot, Mar 1, 2022.

    1. bigfoot

      bigfoot Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Hello to anyone who will read this desperate post.

      I am so freaked out with such buzzing in my head that woke me up after a better day yesterday with quieter buzzing. I cannot mask it nor sleep, feeling so hopeless. Here is my story:

      Onset three weeks ago following a very stressful home renovation in the middle of the pandemic, in a rural area that I am new to, without any friends nor family. I thought to stop the renovation but it is mainly my kitchen so I have to keep going. Competent workers here are scarce as materials are as well. I’ve coped okay or so I thought. Last September I was under so much pressure my brain hurt. I recognized it was from making many decisions, too many errors by others and too many moving parts that I had to manage. I am suffering from PTSD from the death of my child 2.5 years ago. The move here was to be a bridge for my grief and the renovation a welcome distraction. I got snowed in for a month. Hit with such a bad storm taking out power for many miles and left 4 feet of snow too hard to shovel. It was after the storm that I felt sick but no head buzzing. Overall unwell feeling with some dizziness and nausea but had a negative blood panel, negative allergy test, negative COVID-19 test. The dizziness vanished but I began this buzzing with a migraine on January 17th. Then headaches followed which are atypical for me as are migraines. I had not had a migraine in many years maybe a decade. No head buzzing at that time. I did hit my head with my bathroom cabinet that left me with an immediate headache for a day.

      A few events happened simultaneously that were so stressful. I think that’s when the head buzzing started and hasn’t stopped. This was about 3 weeks ago.

      ENT did a hearing test. Normal low frequency hearing loss in both ears and did a nasal scope with a camera because my sinuses have been intermittently clogged since January. No discharge, just hard to breath. The ENT said to use a Neti pot and Flonase which I did for about a week, but then stopped due to concerns about the buzzing in my head.

      Had negative CT scan at the hospital. Have an MRI scheduled next week but I’m going to cancel because I am worried about making my condition worse. I do have a neurologist appointment mid March. Today I try acupuncture - and get a prescription for Lexapro from my GP. I am not on any medications except for Ativan that I use occasionally to sleep. 1/2 of 1mg. Maybe 20 tablets since the summer.

      The last four nights I slept without a fan. I had a window opened with light rainfall. Woke up with very mild buzzing. Yesterday I felt positive this could go away as I am alleviating the stress; being so mindful now that I am injured and need to reboot. I even managed to do lots of laundry, not focusing on the buzzing. Then I watched a comedy to bring on much needed laughter and about an hour later my buzzing was so loud. Was it the TV? My dinner with salted avocado? The blueberries I had for breakfast? The Turmeric tea? The Magnesium supplements? OMG I have no clue what to do. I went three days barely eating when this started because I am afraid I’ll eat the wrong thing. How can I wake up with mild buzzing yesterday morning to being awoken tonight after only two hours of sleep to loud buzzing that I cannot mask?

      There is a tinnitus doctor at the University of WA. Two actually I want to see. Is it too soon for a hearing device? What sounds should I sleep to? Should I stay off my cellphone, not watch TV? While in a store on Saturday, my buzzing was louder than the store noises and they were obnoxious. Driving masks it with windows open.

      I am a resilient woman (55) in good health normally but with this horror on top of my son’s death, has left me without anything to live for. I am so filled with despair. I live alone, have zero support here as I do not know anyone. These are the darkest nights of my soul. What do I do?? PLEASE HELP!
       
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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 @bigfoot.

      Sorry to know of the immense difficulties that you have been going through especially with the loss of your son. Please accept my condolences.

      Something usually causes tinnitus and the contents of your post indicate more than one thing could be responsible for its onset. Therefore I will go through them and ask that you click on the links below and read my aticles, that I think will be of some help.

      The most common causes of tinnitus are stress, exposure to loud noise and an underlying medical condition within the auditory system. You have a lot of stress in your life and if this is causing the tinnitus, once it's reduced naturally over time or with the help of medication the tinnitus will usually subside. Counselling with an audiologist trained in tinnitus managment can be helpful with or without medication.

      Exposure to loud noise is by far the most common cause of tinnitus and typically, it is listening to audio through headphones, earbuds or headsets at too high a volume. Other forms of loud noise exposure can cause tinnitus too, including the home renovation work you mention. Even if you were wearing hearing protection this is no guarantee that you would have been fully protected from exposure to loud noise.

      The dizziness you mention could be linked to tinnitus and caused by an underlying medical problem within your auditory system. The hearing tests that you have had may not be cause for concern but I advise that you have the MRI scan, so your ENT doctor rule out anything untoward within your auditory system that might be causing the tinnitus.

      In the early stages of tinnitus it's important that a person doesn't do anything too rash regarding treatment, as it could easily make it worse by doing the wrong thing. This is one of the reasons many ENT doctors advise patients to wait, as tinnitus often calms down by itself naturally or with the help of medication over a few weeks or months.

      I advise you to avoid quiet rooms during the day and especially at night by using low level sound enrichment. More about this is expained in the links below.

      Hope you start of feel better soon.

      All the best,
      Michael

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

      bigfoot Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Thank you for your quick reply. I will re-read your posts.

      What medications are you referring to specifically?

      I will be getting Lexapro tomorrow from my GP but want to wait to take until I see the neurologist mid March.

      I believe this is stress induced as I felt such an onset of strain in my brain from this remodel back in September. I could not turn back at that point. The pain wasn’t constant, more when seeing people’s mistakes and having to fix them, etc. situational. My sinus issues are suspect too as this is something new to me and started about a month or more of the onset of the head buzzing.

      I read a post here regarding EMF exposure with a link to an excellent article. My fiber optic internet was installed in August, a month before I felt some brain strain. I have never slept well in my bedroom. Thinking it’s insomnia from my grief. However, I suspect it’s because my internet wire comes from the electric pole to right above my bedroom exterior wall. Furthermore, my smart meter is outside my bedroom about 10 feet away but on the same wall as my headboard. Plus my bedroom is directly above my garage where my electric panel is. I sleep better in another bedroom and suspect this is why. The four mornings I woke feeling less buzzing, I slept in that other bedroom and with masking sounds. Then last night I slept in my main bedroom again and awoke only after two hours and have been up since but not in there. I believe there is a definite connection to my malaise that started long before the head buzzing. I never sleep with my cellphone in my room nor my laptop and hardly use my laptop. My cellphone is a different matter but never hold it to my ear.

      I am hopeful this is from stress and can be resolved to zero symptoms. In my 20’s, while in a stressful job, my left ear would ring while under stress. Went to an ENT who found nothing wrong. It would happen sometimes over the next 30 years but always for less than a minute. This started and hasn’t stopped but definitely varies in volume.

      Again,thanks for your support.
       
    4. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      As I have mentioned stress can cause tinnitus and continue to make it worse if it's not managed.
      I do not recommend specific medications for treating stress to help with tinnitus management because I am not a doctor. This is completely different from the advice I give in my articles on the way to cope and reduce the effects of tinnitus and hyperacusis, because the advice is based on many years experience with tinnitus, which includes counselling and sound therapy.

      If stress is causing the tinnitus or contributing to making it more severe, some doctors recommend taking an antidepressant. It acts as a safety net to prevent a person becoming too down. Stress makes tinnitus worse and tinnitus can make stress worse and that can become a vicious cycle. Please click on the link below and read my post.

      All the best,
      Michael

      Can Antidepressants and Other Medications Help Tinnitus? | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
       
    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      bigfoot

      bigfoot Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Hi Michael,

      Thank you for the additional information. I see a definite connection to my sinus pressure and increased buzzing. What connection do you know of to sinus issues that are a stuffy nose only and no discharge, sneezing, watering eyes? My CT scan showed nothing and the ENT scope did not as well. I have had the sinus issues since October and the head buzzing began in February. I'm afraid to take antidepressants and antihistamines. My allergist said to use Flonase which I did for a few weeks with not much sinus relief then I read antihistamines could worsen the buzzing.

      I'm getting lots of acupuncture and cranial sacral modalities and feel a lessening of volume but not a lot. It's only been two weeks though of treatment. My acupuncturist feels it's stress, grief, PTSD and my brain is in need of a reboot. Too much rapid firing. My buzzing feels like electrical buzzing in my head not my ears. All I can do is keep it up and be patient but I am so puzzled by the sinus issues I have NEVER had. I am afraid to get an MRI because of the noise.

      I am now able to sleep without white noise and I am no longer woken up by the buzzing during the night.

      Thoughts?

      Thank you!
       
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    6. koffee_monster
      Sleepy

      koffee_monster Member

      Location:
      West Europe
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Exposure or Ototoxicity
      That's an important first step into improvement! Very glad to hear you are able to get better sleep.
       
    7. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      bigfoot

      bigfoot Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Thank you Koffee for the encouragement. I'm in a freaked out state now for almost 2 months but it ebbs and flows depending on my quality of sleep. I went from 2-3 hours to 8-10 but it's inconsistent. I stop drinking 3 hours before bed. Makes a big difference.
       
    8. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      bigfoot

      bigfoot Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Hi Everyone, this is my 2 month update.

      My young son died in 2019. Add to that a few moves, new house remodel. I believe my tinnitus is a combination of inordinate stress and exposure to my smoke alarm sounding several times in a close proximity. I think the smoke alarm broke the dam.

      I have managed stress in the past but the component of grief has lowered my ability to do so, so now I'm looking into PTSD, EMDR, CBT etc. I have been trying to find practitioners offering these modalities but many are not taking new patients so it is challenging but I persevere.

      I believe in the mind body connection. My body is waving the white flag as a warning message to modify things in my life, specifically stress. Not an easy feat given variables in my life. I have been without a proper kitchen for over a year thanks to the pandemics delays in production of materials, unavailable skilled trades, and lack of competent customer service. I demoed my kitchen not knowing the pandemic would prevent a straightforward installation and when I did realize it, it was too late to go back. Many many more things added to my plate but I won't focus on the negative here.

      HERE ARE SOME THINGS I DO:

      Cranial sacral once a week for 45 minutes. Have had 3 sessions thus far with very marked difference. My volume gets much lower. I also cry during these sessions as my lungs are really focused on too and not just my head and neck. Chinese medicine believes we hold grief in our lungs and not in our hearts as I believed. We hold emotion there. I literally feel my brain moving around during these treatments. I had this treatment many years ago for neck and lumbar herniations. They helped me then too.

      I believe I have an exceptional healer well versed in this modality. He is a doctor of acupuncture as well. Many of these practitioners offer cranial sacral but I doubt they really are proficient at it. This has been my experience.

      Acupuncture is another one by this same person and another one in his clinic. I have it twice a week. I also notice relief of volume. My buzzing with electrical currents is present but much lower in volume. I was in tears on Monday morning after massage then acupuncture because the volume was lower. Then I slept in a musty basement AirBnb from Sunday to Tuesday morning. I spiked Monday night, woke to high volume and clogged sinuses (congestion began in October, no cold nor discharge, just annoying congestion. This is where I question mold exposure). I moved out of the AirBnb into a hotel and the spike is coming down. I am not on vacation but here for treatment, a warmer climate and to be out of a moldy, damp state.

      I had Cranial sacral two days ago. My volume was lower after. I coughed up sputum for the first time after lung work. It smelled like a dirty sponge. Very gross but great progress. Stagnant grief and years of trauma from post divorce ridiculousness/bitterness with my ex husband. Again, mind body connection. I allow sleep after my treatments in a dark, quiet room. No distractions. This is so important.

      At about 2 months into this, I sleep without white noise but did the first few weeks as I was so freaked out and the volume was either higher or I'm getting used to it. I don't know. I was hyper sensitive to sounds early on but not so much now but avoid loud places (why do restaurants need music?), careful anticipating loud noises like someone closing a door or on a cellphone with speaker on (rude). I have earmuffs for noisy markets but I don't feel I need them now but will use them around any construction when I return home.

      SUPPLEMENTS:

      I began taking NAC 3 days ago. 600 mg. I have a new headache.

      Quercetin with Bromelain. Unknown effects.

      Various calming teas with antimicrobial properties like dandelion, nettle, milk thistle, pau de arco. These are good for me if I do have mold exposure (big symptom is ear ringing) plus I have used dandelion fresh and in tea for years. Great for flushing gallbladder, liver and kidneys.

      Curcumin. First dose last night. Headache.

      Colloidal silver nose spray for 2 weeks every other day. No adverse effects.

      Aromatherapy nightly mostly but I start it early evening with spring water not tap and using a Chill Pill blend or pure lavender oil. There is a slight noise from the diffuser that aids in my sleep but I can sleep without it too. White noise machines annoy me and I don't feel rested. I use organic oils.

      Oregano oil from a dropper 3 times per week. Strong antimicrobial.

      Ginkgo Biloba. I have had a few doses but think it causes headaches.

      Magnesium (Calm, unflavored) at bedtime. Like a laxative. Was taking it for a few weeks. Haven't for a week to then try it again later.

      Melatonin. 5 mg before bed. Dissolvable tablet. This works great. I took three one night because it's a protocol for mold. Had insomnia all night.

      I rarely used supplements prior to this health issue as my diet supported the needed nutrients. I used oregano oil when traveling in case of a cold. It zaps it like zinc. Also wheat grass and other green powders. A good quality refrigerated probiotic 20 billion every other day. Some refrigerated bee pollen a few times a week with breakfast. More for aging but it has other benefits. So, I am discontinuing everything new for tinnitus to just let my body and brain heal itself. I believe reducing stress and managing what I cannot control is paramount. Additional supplements could be making me worse since I really don't know the true reason for my health issue. At almost 2 months in doing nothing is best for me. Trying to figure out supplements, when to take them and what combination is adding to my stress. Maybe I'll reintroduce them at a later time.

      DIET:

      This is a tough one because I'm not in my home. Eating in restaurants is a gamble. Not just because of ingredients but unclean, non organic possibly moldy food. I stressed about it and eat mostly at Whole Foods because they list their ingredients on the steam table items. I'm still leery but need to eat. Then I read about salicylates in foods like avocado, asparagus, blueberries, nuts. All daily foods for me. I really don't know what to eat. So yesterday I ate at my favorite restaurants maybe my headache is from that. I thought to try normalcy, enjoying these things but of course while eating I wondered if it would cause a spike. Ugh. Such a cycle. When I go home, I can make bone broth and greens with eggs. Healing and warm.

      EXERCISE:

      I used to run, swim and hike prior to my son's passing but have not since then. No desire, depression, anxiety, grief. I have tried and it seems 1-2 times a week is all I can do and I force myself not enjoying it but I know it's important overall. I walked yesterday for an hour and felt better and am going today with a friend. I believe exercise is crucial especially for brain health and mental wellness.

      I am focusing on the present, not the past nor the future. Right now. Today. It gives a sense of relief not to plan. My house renovation is on hold for now. A much needed break.

      I am not thinking this will not go away like I was doing which depressed me further and scared me. I am believing time will heal it. It took years of grief, stress and trauma. I'm smart enough to know it won't go away over night and without mindful life modifications. It puts me in a more positive mindset. Reading success stories help immensely.

      Lastly, a story to share. About a decade ago I had a very emotional break up. He was unfaithful which was new to me. I was heartbroken, shocked, depressed. I developed a burning bladder for NINE months. Phantom pain that couldn't be diagnosed because there was no diagnosis. We carry emotion in our bladders too, hence the term "pissed off". I began acupuncture at that time but it didn't help me with the burning. Time did. Metaphysics did. Processing the breakup. About the eighth month mark it began to dissipate and by a year completely gone. For a good year afterwards when I got stressed I felt the burning again. A decade later it never returned.

      Additionally, in my 20's (I'm 57) I went to an ENT for ringing in my left ear intermittently. He didn't find anything. I was under stress at my intense job. It happened from time to time over 30 years. Always very brief. Sometimes complete deafness for 10 seconds, ringing, crackling. All when stressed. Always brief. But now it's constant for 2 months. I have never been as stressed as I am now or was leading to the onset. In fact, I felt like my brain had a lot of pressure for many months prior. It was stress.

      I do have mild to moderate low frequency hearing loss. Had a CT scan and sinus scope. Showed nothing. Last COVID-19 vaccination was in September, many months before the onset.

      I remain hopeful this will pass on time. I also believe many success stories are not posted as people resolve this issue but don't post about it. We need that hope.

      Thanks for reading.
       
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    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      bigfoot

      bigfoot Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Hi, I have had tinnitus for almost two months now from stress and exposure to my smoke alarm. I have mild to moderate low frequency hearing loss and am 56 years old.

      The first month It was very loud so I slept with white noise but it bothered me, so for the second month I slept without anything.

      My tinnitus volume has come down but is still quite annoying. Is this a good sign it could go away?

      Also, I have a 20-hour road trip tomorrow, mostly freeway driving. I've tried earmuffs (3M) but they and earplugs cause tinnitus spikes. Any suggestions?

      I appreciate this forum especially when freaked out! Thank you.
       
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    10. MindOverMatter

      MindOverMatter Member

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004/05
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown (possibly stress related, and later sound induced)
      Thanks for sharing some of "your story" so far @bigfoot. You've been through a lot. As you say, time is a healer in many ways. This will get better with time.

      I do very much agree to this. Capture and be in the moment as much as possible.

      Embrace the good days in particular, and acknowledge that the less good days won't last forever. Pain is temporary.
       
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    11. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      bigfoot

      bigfoot Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
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