Tinnitus from Flying with a Blocked Ear

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Richfs, Jun 29, 2019.

    1. Richfs

      Richfs Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Flying with blocked ear (Barotrauma)
      Hi everyone,

      I've been lurking a bit and decided to make my first post.

      On Saturday night the 8th of June I flew home from vacation, my left ear was blocked from a cold and on the descent I felt a lot of pain in my left ear. When we landed my hearing was very muffled, I couldn't hear much in my left ear and it was ringing very loudly.

      Went to see an ENT on the following Thursday who told me it was barotrauma, I did a hearing test the following week and then was told there was nothing they could do. I'm supposed be doing another hearing test soon.

      Since then I feel like my hearing has mostly come back to normal... but if I hold my hands over my ears the ringing sounds the same as when the plane landed.

      It's now been 3 weeks since it happened. I still feel some discomfort in my left ear and occasionally some throbbing pain... maybe there's still some fluid left in there? The doctor said my ear drum looked fine and it seems like they can't see past the ear drum?

      I've felt very down since this has happened, I hear the ringing constantly (though it's more like a whooshing and/or whistling sound unless I put my hands over my ears then it's more of a eee sound)... since my hearing has gotten more or less back to normal I hear the sound less when I'm walking around the city, but I can still hear it clearly. When it's quiet it's unbearable..

      I'm considering going back to the doctor to see if I can visit another specialist, but what more can they do? The last doctor basically told me I have to learn to live with it.. and that to me is not an acceptable answer. Right now I feel like I cannot live with it unless I have some hope of it decreasing and eventually going away.

      I'm still in shock.. I can't believe you could damage your ears from something like that. Plus I hardly ever get sick and I hardly ever fly, what are the odds :(.

      I guess I'm just looking for some encouraging words.. or something. I'm a little desperate right now. I feel like I simply can't live with this sound. It has been 3 weeks of torture so far...
       
      • Hug Hug x 3
    2. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not sure
      Welcome to the forum. I have empathy for your suffering at this new stage of your tinnitus. Most of us have been where you are, suffering intensely initially. At this stage all our senses can be focused on the ringing sensation as the brain thinks erroneously that it is a mortal threat. The limbic nervous system is activated to cause us function in fight or flight mode which tends to make tinnitus appear much worse. Saying that, you may need to focus on the positive and try to remain calm as much as you humanly can, because stress and anxiety can aggravate tinnitus. The positives are there from your description of your condition - that you can't hear it much outside in noisier environment. Some of us have tinnitus that can be heard constantly and my tinnitus can be heard over the jet noise in flights I took, and over the raging rapids in the salmon rivers I fish. Some like me have both both tinnitus & hyperacusis condition, and some have pulsatile tinnitus or one with constant beeping, and some even with episodes of vertigo. So take comfort that you may have a mild case of tinnitus and that your sufferings are due to the newness of the tinnitus. It may fade over time. Even if it doesn't your can learn to habituate to the condition like many others who have written their success stories like what I did. I like to share my success story of my mighty struggle with my ultra high pitched tinnitus and severe hyperacusis to illustrate some strategies which have helped me. Don't despair nor fear the future. It can get better. Give it some time and try to live your life normally. Your body needs the time to not react to tinnitus traumatically so it can learn to habituate to tinnitus or to fade it out. Take good care. God bless.

      My success story:
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/thread...w-i-recovered-from-tinnitus-hyperacusis.3148/
       
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    3. GregCA
      Jaded

      GregCA Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otosclerosis
      Did you do a hearing test and if so, can you post your audiogram? (blank out any personal info)
       
    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Richfs

      Richfs Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Flying with blocked ear (Barotrauma)
      Thank you a ton for this, I haven't looked through it yet. I've sort of been scared of coming back here as I just got more worried the more I read. I really appreciate this and you have my warmest sympathy for your condition.

      Yes, I did the first hearing test on the 13th of June, 4 days after the incident. I did the second hearing test yesterday (15th of July). I've attached them so you can see.

      I saw an ENT last week on Wednesday who said I still have fluid behind my eardrums in both ears, more in my left ear. He also said the majority of people get better from what happened to me. The strange thing was that he said there's no point doing a hearing test as my hearing isn't normal, even though to me it was normal.. except I'm sensitive to sounds especially in my left ear and sometimes hear some strange sound (distortion) when people talk, when I talk, when I hear loud sounds or like the water running in the shower. I was just at a restaurant with a few friends and after a little while, despite the music there not being that loud I could not stand it, it kept creating some type of distortion in my left ear.

      But then I saw another ENT yesterday who said my hearing was normal according to the hearing test (which didn't really surprise me as it felt normal). He also said there's no fluid behind my ear drums. I broke down in tears and was sent to talk to a doctor at psychiatry.. it was a rough day and I got no sleep last night. The ENT yesterday said I need to start learning how to deal with it and didn't give me much hope like the other one did. Considering I can't really hear any improvement in the sound itself and it has been over a month I'm scared it won't get any better.

      When I'm in quiet rooms the sound is unbearable and to me has not gotten any better since the first day other than my perception of it having changed because my hearing came back. I still hear it mostly wherever I go, though as I said before if there is a lot of sound around me like cars driving around it's more difficult for me to hear, though i still do hear it in the background.

      My left ear also sometimes feels uncomfortable with occasional throbbing pain, there has been some throbbing pain in my right ear too and when I put my right ear to my pillow at night, the sound there is unbearable too. In my right ear it seems to be more like EEEE *pause* EEEE and so on while in my left appears to be more constant.

      Neither of the doctors seem to know what's been damaged, the one yesterday said it's unlikely the haircells in the cochlea have been damaged as my hearing came back fairly quickly. I guess he's just speculating. Apparently there's nothing else they can do. I will do my best to get the help I can to start learning to deal with it.. but right now I see no future, I can't imagine how I'm supposed to cope with this in the long run. I will read through your post and hope to get some inspiration.. right now I just don't know what to do. I'm taking math during the summer but I can't study, I can't focus on what the teacher says. I had some difficulties concentrating before and now it's just useless.

      How do you guys sleep? At the moment I have a fan on full blast to the left of my bed, I have a laptop with a fan underneath so that absorbs some of the sound when I put my ear to the pillow, plus I put a podcast or something on. Then I also have some white noise on my phone on the right side of my bed. Despite this, when I put either ear to the pillow I still hear the sound loudly, I can't get away.

      Before all of this I've always slept in silence and to have this robbed of me..I'm distraught. I've always enjoyed being by myself in silence and now I can't have that anymore. I don't know what to do or even feel, I just feel empty. I'm desperate..

      Sorry for the rambly post, I can't think clearly right now.. I don't know what to do. I'm also aware several of you have it much worse than me and I sort of feel bad for complaining.. but I just feel awful.

      Thank you guys so much for your posts, support and this lovely community.
       

      Attached Files:

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    5. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not sure
      You have my empathy. I know how much suffering of fear and uncertainty at this new phase of your tinnitus. I can identify the struggle to sleep, to concentrate, to do anything at all without hearing the blasting T. Things will improve. Count on it. You are only 1 month into tinnitus. People here generally need a few months or more to get better in handling the new challenge.

      Most people have sleep issue, myself included. I had to depend on sleeping pills and masking even overnight by sleeping away from my spouse. It was rough in the beginning. But things will improve over time. Also remember, masking doesn't have to totally block your ringing. Even with TRT, they recommend that masking be done by setting the masker slightly lower than the T ringing so your brain can learn to accept the presence of the T while you learn to habituate to it.

      Try read the success stories to give you hope. Your suffering is temporary as the ringing is so alien to your body and your limbic system is activated while the amygdala is causing you to function in fight or flight mode which then causes you to zoom in on T and monitor it often. This can lead to a feeling that the T is extra loud. If you read enough success stories, then you realize this phase of suffering will slowly subside and things will improve. What really happen is that the brain can get bored with the ringing and won't react as sharply or as traumatically as initially. The normal parasympathetic nervous system will then return to replace the limbic nervous system and the pre-frontal cortex will take over the amygdala in processing the T stimulus. The cortex has the natural function to suppress or extinguish your fear reaction, making it much easier to handle the ringing (even if it stays the same). This makes a world of difference in managing our T. This is the time people will go back to live normally again, if slowly. So don't panic nor despair. Your suffering will get less and this phase will pass in a few months. But hopefully your ears or the barotrauma will heal itself and your recovery will even be faster. Hang in there. Don't lose heart and don't give up. Take good care. God bless your recovery.
       
    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Richfs

      Richfs Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Flying with blocked ear (Barotrauma)

      Thank you again for your kind words. The last week or so has been pure hell and it's the worst I've felt in my entire my life. An hour ago I sat at my mothers place on the 19th floor and kept considering jumping out, imagining it over and over again. But as much as I want to do it, I cannot. I can't do this to my parents and others who care about me.

      I've been sleeping 2-3 hours a night the last week. The white noise I've been using is no longer working, the tinnitus has taken over. Wherever I go it follows me. I can't get away. I seem to be able to hear it through all the traffic when I walk in the city now. It's like my skull is being pierced by it. It sounds exactly the same as when it happened. What hope is there that it will improve? It's now been almost a month and a half. I can't imagine myself continuing with this for much longer.

      Please someone, give me some hope, what can I do??
       
    7. winstona
      Balanced

      winstona Member

      Location:
      Toronto, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      Oct 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise exposure and excessive ear irrigation
      Richfs,

      Welcome to the forum! I know you are in a very hard place at the moment when Tinnitus has seemingly taken over your life. Please do not beat yourself up on this because it's not your fault and I can assure you that you will get better, as most of us in this forum eventually do.

      I see some similarities between your condition and mine because I also suffered distortion when I listen to music and sometime when people are talking around me as well. I get distortion when I listen to music especially vocals from recorded music. The "s" at the end of the vocals usually gets me and make me very uncomfortable I guess because those are high frequencies. My ears used to hurt when I hear music so I practically stopped listening to music for a while. When people talk around me, sometimes those same "s"es at the end of a word affects me as well. My ears would tighten up and feel painful for the next 30 mins or so after that. I believe this is a form of mild Hyeracusis.

      But the good news is, these will fade in time. I can now listen to music again and do not feel the discomfort when people are speaking around me. Although the sounds I hear sometimes (rarely) still feels distorted, it doesn't bother me or generate any pain. I believe and hope that one day this will return to normal.

      As for the tinnitus, you are still very early to this condition and there is no reason why you won't be better in time. For me, after around 6-9 months was the time it took me to get to a point where I feel a lot better. The times that the tinnitus feel intrusive will be less and less and you will get days where you feel totally normal and not hear the tinnitus as much. I am not talking about habituation but real volume reduction. Although not everyone can get full recovery but it is possible and it is almost guaranteed that you will be at a better place in a few months.

      The ears are very sensitive and heal slowly so I suggest you to start to be aware that you need to protect your ears from now on. Stay away from loud concerts, loud movies, concerts and listening to music via headphones/earphones at least for the first 6-9 months to give your ears time to heal. Eventually you can go back to doing those activities (but at times you still need to wear earplugs)when your ears get better and has gained the tolerance to everyday sounds again.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    8. Racehorse

      Racehorse Member

      Location:
      Staten Island, NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ototoxic
      I feel for you. You are in my Prayers my friend. Just give it time, and maybe you can take benzodiazepines to help calm you down. It will lessen over time before you know it.
       

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