Tinnitus for a Month After Flushing Ear with Water

Discussion in 'Support' started by Blake O, Jan 14, 2020.

    1. Blake O

      Blake O Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      December 20, 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Water in ear
      Hey all,

      My first post here. I was hoping I never would be joining the club, yet here we are.

      On November 22nd of last year, I went to a very loud metal show. I knew it was loud, or at least sounded much louder than other shows I’ve gone to, but I was lulled into a false sense of security since I have been to plenty of other concerts and never had any issues. The day after the concert, I felt what many others have felt after an acoustic trauma... ”plugged up”. It wasn’t terrible but it was there so I went to a ReadyMED. They said I had a left ear infection and gave me antibiotics. The next morning I could barely hear anything in either ear, so bad that I went to the ER, where they told me I didn’t have an ear infection, and what I was experiencing was from the concert I went to. Needless to say, I was devastated. Scheduled an appointment with an ENT.

      ENT appointment on the 17th of December didn’t go very well. I was convinced there was wax or some kind of fluid build up in my ears, especially my left. They did a hearing test and right ear came back normal. Left ear had a mild 30 dB dip at 4-5 kHz. He put me on Prednisone for 20 days. I decided I wanted a second opinion (this is the beginning of a series of bad decisions), so I scheduled a meeting with another ENT at Mass Eye and Ear, supposedly the second best audiologists in the USA.

      ENT at Mass eye and Ear told me he thinks I have Eustachian Tube Dysfunction and gave me Astelin nasal spray. Also told me that I had three hairs on my eardrum (I wish he hadn’t said this), and tried to get them out. Got one out but couldn’t get the others. Told me to try and flush them out with Debrox wax drops. Did the drops for 4 days and my ear seemed more plugged than ever. Still no ringing though this whole time, even with earmuffs on in silence.

      My biggest mistake was, in my desperation, using the little bulb syringe the Debrox came with, to attempt to flush the little hairs out with some water. Now mind you, I was EXTREMELY gentle with the water. I essentially let it “pour” into my ear, and come out gently. That being said, after a month of no ringing, after the water left my ear canal, the ringing started almost immediately. I was shocked that a little water could cause this, and after a month it’s still here. It’s mild, but it’s definitely noticeable and it’s constant, high pitched. Thankfully while I’m working I hardly notice it, but it seems to fluctuate in volume and intensity day to day.

      I am wondering how this could possibly have happened since I went to another ENT (On freaking Christmas Day, when it was the worst. What a way to spend Christmas, crying my eyes out and kicking myself for being so stupid, along with a 500 dollar ER bill). He told me he highly doubted the water caused my tinnitus, as my eardrum was perfectly intact and according to him, the only way the water could be the culprit is if it had penetrated my eardrum. Two other ENTs after him agreed. I just can’t get a good answer, even from an ENT, why my tinnitus started DIRECTLY after the water left my ear. It seems to me that it can’t be a coincidence. Either it’s the biggest coincidence in history that my hearing loss-related tinnitus started that very second, or the water had a direct impact on my tinnitus since I had no problem with ringing before, at least subjectively. Is there a way to tell if it will be permanent or not? It’s been about 25 days so far and I’ve seen a tiny bit of improvement but not much. I still notice it at home, even with the TV on.

      I’m a guitarist and the damage I did from that show has been absolutely devastating. I had just finished building a stage in my basement band room and set all the equipment up prior to the show, and in one night that was all ruined. I go down to my basement to grab firewood for the wood stove and I feel like breaking down in tears as I see my gear sitting there ready to rock. I didn’t even get to enjoy my new setup there one time. It’s been the hardest two months of my life. The volume drop was bad enough and I feel like I could have adjusted to that, but the tinnitus is way worse. My volume has as far as I can tell almost bounced back, but ever since that water, I now am stuck with the mild left side tinnitus. I just don’t understand how the ENTs tell me that the water didn’t cause it when it’s only on the side I put water in, and it happened right after I did it. Shouldn’t I have tinnitus in both ears? Very confusing.
       
    2. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      @Blake O

      HI Blake and welcome to the forum.

      After reading your post, I believe your tinnitus has been coming on for some time or a least in the background where it was probably masked by normal everyday sounds. The ear flushing may have been a contributing factor in bringing it to the fore and making it more noticeable as it is now. However, the fact that you are a guitarist and frequently attend venues where loud music is present, leaves me to the conclusion it was just a matter of time before the tinnitus would make itself known.

      Tinnitus and exposure to loud noise/music do not go well together and I am sorry to be so sobering. The fact of the matter as I see it, based on many years experience with noise induced tinnitus, is that you have to reduce your exposure to loud sound otherwise the tinnitus is likely to get worse. I realize how important music is to you as I am an Audiophile, so have some understanding that you want to enjoy playing your guitar in your new setup. Therefore, please think carefully about what I have said. Noise induced tinnitus can be very debilitating when it becomes severe. I advise you not to listen to music through headphones even at low volume.

      Please click on the links below and read my posts.
      Hope you start to feel better soon.

      All the best
      Michael

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/new-to-tinnitus-what-to-do.12558/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/tinnitus-a-personal-view.18668/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/hyperacusis-as-i-see-it.19174/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/acquiring-a-positive-mindset.23969/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/tinnitus-and-the-negative-mindset.23705/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/the-habituation-process.20767/
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/is-positivity-important.23150/
       
      • Like Like x 1
    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Blake O

      Blake O Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      December 20, 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Water in ear
      Thank you for the reply. I really appreciate it. I just find it really odd how I literally heard nothing before the water flush, even with earplugs or earmuffs on in silence. Right after the water flush, it started and became noticeable all the time. Possibly irritation of the eardrum from tap water that could have been not completely pure? And it’s only in that ear. That’s what I can’t understand.
       
    4. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      The reason I have said I believe the water flush probably brought your tinnitus to the forefront of your mind, is that I have bean told very similar experiences to your own. It is quite surprising how common this is and how good the brain is at dismissing or pushing tinnitus into the background, until one day the tinnitus becomes so loud the brain then takes notice of it.

      Of course I may be wrong but I don't think so, as you have history of being exposed to loud sounds: Going to concerts. You play a guitar, so I assume this is electric and you play in a band or at least you play regularly through an amplifier and speaker? You probably use headphones? I have mentioned these things not to make you feel guilty but just to let you know, exposure to loud noise is the most common cause of tinnitus. Putting all this aside the goal now is to not make the tinnitus become worse. Perhaps with time you can resume playing your guitar but for now I advise you give your ears complete rest and stay away from loud music and don't use headphones even at low volume. Please read my posts.

      Tinnitus usually improves with time so try not to worry too much.
      Take care

      Michael
       
    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Blake O

      Blake O Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      December 20, 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Water in ear
      Fair enough. That’s essentially what the ENT at Mass E&E told me. I guess only time will tell how things go. To answer your question, yes, I have played electric guitar with a full band setup for about 12 years now. I have a 100 watt Marshall half stack that I like (or liked... I guess) to play loud. Not all the way up, but loud enough to get the tubes cooking where it sounds nice and can be heard over the drums. Out of curiosity after the concert incident, I put muffs on (again, zero tinnitus before the water), and played my guitar through the amp while it was turned up to what was my regular playing volume and measured the decibel level with an app on my phone. It was 94-97 decibels standing in front of the amp. Then I played the drums, and they measured about 102 decibels. We played pretty loud it seems. Never used headphones as I’ve never recorded music, just played it in a jam setting and gone to concerts. I’d say I averaged 4-5 concerts a year for the last 8 years. That’s when me and my girl started really going and seeing shows frequently. Concerts ranged from tame country shows to all-out doom metal (the concert that did the damage was Electric Wizard, in a loud indoor venue, medium sized standing room club). The second I heard the bass at that show I knew it was bad news, but i didn’t listen to my gut. Turns out, you ALWAYS should.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    6. alex1975

      alex1975 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Las Vegas
      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably sound induced
      When my tinnitus started, exactly a year ago, I was crossing a street in Chiang Mai, where I was vacationing at the time. It just started out of nowhere and was very loud. That triggered a long road of ENT visits (6 in total), ER, brain MRI, over 300 blood tests at my GP, it was crazy but everything came out perfect, except that I had mild hearing loss at 6.5 kHz on down. But I was convinced it was anything but noise induced hearing loss, since it came on a week after I went to a very loud club for new year, as opposed to having tinnitus the day after the club.

      Looking back at my life, I always exposed myself to loud environments; I worked in night clubs, operated jack hammers and all other power tools (I flip houses), shooting guns, loud car stereos and the list goes on. I’m surprised, and very fortunate, it hit me now in my 40’s.

      My tinnitus has definitely calmed down from a year ago, it bothers me less and yours will more than likely as well. Focussing on it makes it worse for sure. If you’re an anxious person by nature, it doesn’t help either (I am big time).

      I would recommend you have a look at the discussions in the Doctors’ Corner, located at the bottom of the forum, I’m sure you’ll find some threads that you’ll be able to get some input from.

      In a way we are lucky to have tinnitus now as opposed to 10 years ago or whatever, since there is a treatment option available (Lenire) and more treatments on the way.

      I hope this helps. I know the beginning is tough, but for most it gets much better and some it even goes away on it’s own.

      Also, I would invest in a good pair of earplugs and enjoy your music (maybe at a slightly lower level just in case, lol).
       

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