Tinnitus in Left Ear from Neck Problems?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Forever hopeful, Apr 26, 2020.

    1. Forever hopeful
      Depressed

      Forever hopeful Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015 resolved, 4/20 L ear, increase 2/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2015,noise,2020-21 SNHL
      I am re-introducing myself. I first joined this forum in 2015 after developing bilateral tinnitus. At the time, I did not know the true cause. I had attended a loud concert without ear protection a few days before but I was also diagnosed with bilateral fluid in my ears. I also had aural fullness in both ears. Needless to say it was horrible and I went into a terrible depression. I was put on Zoloft (gained 60 lbs on it ugh) and Klonopin to manage my acute anxiety. I used masking devices and a sound pillow to sleep - I even had a travel sound pillow to take with me when I had to travel for work. I brought sound machines to meetings at work. It was awful. I was lucky though, in that my ENT had a lot of experience with tinnitus and has tinnitus herself. She was very supportive. My hearing test was in her words “perfect.” She told me ears take a really long time to heal as long as the damage isn’t permanent and to give it time and to move on with my life. And try really really hard not to focus on it. So I was left with trying to cope.

      This forum was a tremendous source of support and hope. Over time, I started not to notice it anymore. I stopped using sound machines or the sound pillow. I would say for the last almost 4 years it has been all but gone. I would have to struggle to hear it and most of the time I didn’t even bother because it was imperceptible. That is not to say that the first year or so wasn’t pure Hell. My tinnitus was all I could think about. Every day was a marathon just to get to the point where I could knock myself out and sleep, only to wake up and realize I was still in Hell. But I got better. I never had spikes. It was just way, way in the background or for all intents and purposes, essentially gone and I could no longer hear it.

      Fast forward to this past Tuesday. I’m sitting in a quiet living room talking to my husband and all the sudden out of my left ear I had this weird noise. I thought I was picking up some sound in the living room but when I got up and moved to the dining room and the kitchen I realized that it was in fact my ear. And I was right back where I started. The excruciating anxiety and the fear. Because this is the biggest fear of someone who has / had tinnitus right. That once you habituate, it will come back or get worse? That was certainly my fear.

      So I went to my ENT, who of course, wants to do another hearing test although he does not suspect that I have hearing loss because I have been very good about protecting my ears. And yes, I am aware of the hidden hearing loss that isn’t picked up on the hearing test. My exam was in remarkable. I actually thought I had fluid in my ear because I had the aural fullness again and pressure in the ear but the ear looks fine. He actually thinks that my problem is related to my neck/TMJ. He said he actually sees a lot of people in his practice who have whiplash and other neck problems and have had tinnitus as a result. Since COVID -19 , I’ve been working from home and have been ergonomically in all the worst positions possible. Additionally, I bought a special memory foam pillow and all it did was cause neck pain and give me headaches. It was very awkward to try to sleep on particularly because I’m a side sleeper. He has referred me to physical therapy. I spoke with my physical therapist yesterday who is seeing people on a limited basis. He too has treated people with neck problems and resulting tinnitus.

      Has anyone had this kind of experience and success with physical therapy? Or does this sound like a spike that I just need to wait out? This is far more intrusive and louder than it was before and I can hear it over the TV in the room.

      I would appreciate anybody’s insights.

      Thanks so much.
       
    2. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      HI @Forever hopeful

      I remember you from way back and pleased to hear that you habituated for quite a while. The resurgence of your tinnitus can be caused by many things so will start off with the most common, since I suspect it was originally noise induced. Are you a regular user of headphones, headset or earbuds? If not then the tinnitus could be caused by stress. Since you have had a hearing test and no significant loss of hearing was detected, the tinnitus is not likely to be related to that. I suggest that you try to avoid quiet rooms even when the tinnitus hopefully goes away. Use low level sound enrichment.

      A long habituation period of the kind you have had, to suddenly notice it return is usually (but not always) a result of exposure to loud sounds or headphone use, especially if the original cause of the tinnitus was exposure to loud noise. You have experience of tinnitus and that is in your favour. Therefore, I suggest you return to basics and see how things go. Please read my posts in the links below, just to recap on the things you already know.

      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/
       
    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Forever hopeful
      Depressed

      Forever hopeful Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015 resolved, 4/20 L ear, increase 2/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2015,noise,2020-21 SNHL
    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Forever hopeful
      Depressed

      Forever hopeful Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015 resolved, 4/20 L ear, increase 2/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2015,noise,2020-21 SNHL
      @Michael Leigh,
      Thank you for your response. I don’t have any recent noise exposure and I almost never use earbuds. I did listen to the radio in the car that day for maybe 20 minutes. I keep it at no more than 50% as I follow all of the requirements set forth by the audiologist. I’d be surprised if it was noise induced as I would think it would affect both ears rather than just one and I would not have aural fullness. But you never know. Thanks so much for your support. I keep hoping it will simmer down. I am on the precipice of ordering a new sound pillow. Ugh!
      Take care.
      Danielle
       
    5. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      HI @Forever hopeful

      I agree with you that the tinnitus is not likely to be affected by sound. You are experienced and have taken good care not to expose yourself to overly loud sounds. I hope the tinnitus settles down but if it doesn't, I suggest seeing your ENT doctor again.

      Best of luck and take care
      Michael
       
    6. HeavyMantra
      Bugridden

      HeavyMantra Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Steadily worsening since 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      In my experience, PTs understand and can explain how nerves that sometimes mess with the audiotory system run through a small hole in the neck. There are many muscles that can mess with proper alignment and allegedly cause tinnitus and ear pain. Try to find a PT specialized in stress. Going to one physio and hearing their take on it is a crapshoot, especially if they cannot admit they don't know enough about the subject. You'll probably have to do most of the work yourself.

      That said though, I haven't met a single one with any actual strategies to alleviate it. It's been the usual: you're causing this yourself by being stressed. You're causing this by how you sit and move. They could be right, but they honestly don't seem to fully understand what they're talking about and play the "stress card" instead of admitting it. There are probably better physios in private healthcare systems.

      There are many stretches to try on various youtube channels for tinnitus specifically. I did not have any luck with them but that means nothing.

      I too got a spike from my new memory foam pillow after 2 hours of use.. It took some time to get used to it but now I couldn't imagine sleeping without one.

      The body is a slow, slow ship to turn around in many cases. For me it's been a game of elimination: stopping activities that strain the neck. Trying new activites and observing effects. Not maintaining strength in the thick neck and upper back muscles I've developed for many years. Since I'm not sure what causes my ear problems I've experimented with different things for about a year now. My tinnitus has improved a lot but that could have been the case if I had done nothing as well..
       
    7. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Forever hopeful
      Depressed

      Forever hopeful Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015 resolved, 4/20 L ear, increase 2/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2015,noise,2020-21 SNHL
      @HeavyMantra,

      Thank you so much for your response. I live in the US and we actually have a lot of private healthcare here. My physical therapist actually has a ton of experience in cervical and cranial conditions so I feel pretty good about that. And I feel good that my ENT actually picked up the neck issue rather than just dismissing me. I don’t know if it’s going to take care anything but it might help. I can feel my upper back and neck strain and tension in my TMJ joints. I move my neck either way and my joints crack as do my TMJ joints when I open my mouth wide. My ears pop constantly. I’m not really sure any of this is stress related but given the state of things in the world, it wouldn’t surprise me. I think it’s more physical than that. And that damn pillow killed my neck. Glad you like yours and that your spike was brief. I for me think it’s definitely more postural. I’m just praying it improves over time. Meanwhile, I am back to the maskers and the anti anxiety meds and probably another bought of depression.
      Best,

      Danielle
       
    8. oceanofsound26
      Dreaming

      oceanofsound26 Member

      Location:
      Delaware, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      TMJ, Neck Issues, and Accompanying Postural Deviations.
      Hi @Forever hopeful -

      I am in the process of recovering from tinnitus likely due to musculoskeletal misalignment and neuromuscular imbalance. After ~9.5 months, my tinnitus is under control and rarely peaks above a 2/10 now. The neck and jaw are definitely part of my problem and having thought most of my issues below in the lower body have been resolved, I now concentrate on the cervicothoracic junction (C7-T2) and associated postural problems (rounded shoulders and winged scapula). My posture was shot when my tinnitus started, but as things have improved over time and tinnitus comes and goes now. When I lean one direction or stay in incorrect postural positions, new sounds fire usually in one ear for a moment or two before going back down to baseline once I correct myself. Problems with C7-T2 can migrate up the neck and affect your C1-C2 and TM joints eventually. Depending on your overall health, the cervicothoracic junction may be worth exploring. General info video below.

      Sue Falsone, Cervical Thoracic Junction:...


      Also, if you have lots of tension in your neck and upper back, you might have lost the rotation and range of motion in your thorax and thoracic spine. If so, try looking into exercises to mobilize your thoracic spine. Another video below - the flight or fight position this guy describes in the first minute is a problem I had.

      Thoracic Flexion vs Thoracic Spine Flexion


      Plenty of stretches for both issues on Youtube or consult with your PT as you allude to in your earlier posts.

      Best of luck,

      -Oceanofsound26
       
    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Forever hopeful
      Depressed

      Forever hopeful Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015 resolved, 4/20 L ear, increase 2/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2015,noise,2020-21 SNHL
      Hi @oceanofsound26,

      Thank you so much for your response I really appreciate it. This information is very helpful. I am looking forward to seeing what my physical therapist has to say. More importantly, I’m looking forward to the swishing/ring in my ear to die down. I have to keep reminding myself whatever the cause, I’ve been through this before and I will get through it again. I just wish it wasn’t so loud this time. Thankful it is only in one ear.

      I am happy to hear that your T has decreased. Incidentally, even when I first got T, I would wake up sometimes and I could hear it and all I had to do was turn my head and it would stop. I wonder if there’s always been some sort of somatosensory connection there that I haven’t ever realized. I also noticed that if I pull my earlobe down and try to open up the air canal the T just goes away. But I guess I really can’t walk around doing that all the time.


      All the best to you.

      Danielle.
       
    10. oceanofsound26
      Dreaming

      oceanofsound26 Member

      Location:
      Delaware, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      TMJ, Neck Issues, and Accompanying Postural Deviations.
      Hi @Forever hopeful -

      Glad to hear you found the information helpful. Posture can definitely affect breathing.

      What you reference here may have to do with some sort of facial asymmetries (which I have) which can affect breathing and respiration. Downstream effects can lead to poor gas exchange in the lungs and can eventually lead to issues with delivery of oxygenated blood all over the body. Comparisons of bloodwork at tinnitus onset and 8 months afterward makes me suspect I had/have some issues with this. Seems like the sphenoid and temporal bones are involved (both close to the ear and jaw) and may represent another frontier to explore and speak with your PT about especially because you have connected poor posture, neck problems, and issues with your TM joints. More helpful videos below.

      The Right TMCC Pattern and Facial Asymmetries


      Impact of correcting the cranium on seated...


      Also, the vertebral and basilar arteries run through this region as well. A google search of sphenoid bone and respiration would yield more information as well.

      All the best,

      Oceanofsound26
       
    11. Tybs

      Tybs Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Fall from stairs
      My T just passed its first birthday: it was caused by a fall down the stairs, resulting in minor neck trauma. "Minor" in the sense that the rest of my body's functionality is fine, but mentally I've been in for a ride.

      I'm mostly doing quite well these days though, and PT has been the first big step towards improvement. In the first months my T just kept getting worse, but once neck treatment started, it stabilized in the first two weeks and then started reducing over the next month. Keeping in mind that clear measuring of T can be hard (individual days could differ a lot), on average it went down from 9 to 2. Eventually I ended up with my current baseline, where T is noticeable in quiet rooms and when I go to sleep, but masked by everything else.

      The exercises I used are described in this post. The videos are in Dutch, but the post contains a summary. I hope your T gets better again in the coming period :)
       
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    12. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Forever hopeful
      Depressed

      Forever hopeful Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015 resolved, 4/20 L ear, increase 2/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2015,noise,2020-21 SNHL
      Hi@Tybs,

      Thank you for your reply and I am sorry to hear of your injury. Glad PT was helpful. They think mine is both TMJ and neck related. Did you have aural fullness in your affected ear? I do and it is awful.

      Best,

      Danielle
       
      • Like Like x 1
    13. Nathan31301

      Nathan31301 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/20
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      I have seen that if u go to a chiropractor and get your neck cracked or whatever that it could help tinnitus! Might wanna do a little research forst but either way the chiropractor will help.
       
    14. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Forever hopeful
      Depressed

      Forever hopeful Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015 resolved, 4/20 L ear, increase 2/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2015,noise,2020-21 SNHL
      Hi@Nathan31301.

      Thank you for your response. I have considered the chiropractor as well. The current COVID 19 situation is making it difficult to get care right now.

      Best,

      Danielle
       
    15. ASilverLight
      In pain

      ASilverLight Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably noise, stress and a neck injury.
      I would be careful with chiropractors as it can go either way - make sure you do your research and only go to one who really knows what they're doing and does things gently. Also consider physical therapy before anything - I'm currently going to one who's going to start me on a very slow, gentle but steadily increasing muscle massage/adjustment treatment.

      I'm also someone with a neck injury and horrible posture and I suspect most of my issue lies there.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    16. oceanofsound26
      Dreaming

      oceanofsound26 Member

      Location:
      Delaware, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      TMJ, Neck Issues, and Accompanying Postural Deviations.
      If you are considering a Chiropractor, be sure to do your due diligence ahead of time as others have suggested. If someone offers free or discounted services beyond a consultation, AVOID them! They are most likely trying to drum up business for themselves. I went the Atlas Orthogonal route for awhile, but will be starting NUCCA here shortly. If you have pulsatile tinnitus, you may want to avoid upper cervical chiropractic work.
       
    17. leftearguy

      leftearguy Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/10/20
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Weed, Hidden Hearing Loss
      A couple nights ago I was wearing closed back over ear headphones for about 2 hours until I felt a pop in my left ear. All of a sudden the static that I've been hearing in my head for a while is a good bit louder. It seems like I can change it by moving my neck and jaw. Is this likely caused by hearing loss or maybe something in my neck that can be fixed?
       
    18. Tybs

      Tybs Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Fall from stairs
      Sounds similar to the static(s) I've had. Can be neck related, in which case it could heal by getting some treatment there. In any case, fair chance it will go back to baseline.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    19. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Forever hopeful
      Depressed

      Forever hopeful Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015 resolved, 4/20 L ear, increase 2/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2015,noise,2020-21 SNHL
      Hello, I’m a repeat visitor on the site.

      After suffering initially for two years with bilateral tinnitus after a rock concert, symptoms completely resolved for 3 wonderful years (no measurable hearing loss on audiogram). Last year, it came back in one ear. Completely different sound, sounded like the echo of a seashell. ENT thinks it was a virus because they noticed some very mild hearing loss at one low frequency in my left ear. Right ear still perfect.

      Yesterday, I noticed that the noise had changed to a pure tone hum like when your TV goes off-line. It is so much more annoying than the seashell noise. I had experienced this pure tone on and off for very short periods of time over the last year but it always went away and I was mostly dealing with the echo/seashell noise.

      I was actually preparing to come back to the site and write a success story because I was doing really well. Seashell noise didn’t bother me and I was able to ignore it. Now I have this unbelievably annoying sound in my ear that I absolutely hate. And I feel like I’m starting all over again for the third time. Each time spiraling back into anxiety and depression. I’m back on the sound machines etc.

      I know some people with tinnitus and I’ve even called a few people through the ATA who live in my area. All of them have developed tinnitus and have been stable for 20+ years. No changes, no worsening. I think those of us who have changes are in the minority, not the majority.

      Does anyone have any experience with this and any ideas as to how to cope with a condition that is completely unpredictable and keeps changing? I now have to go to bed every night wondering if the next day is going to bring some new change or worsening of my condition.

      I take really good care of my ears by the way. I don’t go to nightclubs, I don’t expose them to loud noises, I don’t use earbuds or headphones. As a matter fact I rarely listen to music. I have custom-made musicians earplugs that I use for things like the movies but I don’t overprotect because I don’t want to develop hyperacusis.

      Thank you in advance.
       
    20. ajc

      ajc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2002; spike 2009; worse 2017-18
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music - noise damage
      It's literally been 24 hours with your new tinnitus tone.

      Give it a few weeks to see where it develops. Don't worry yet.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    21. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Forever hopeful
      Depressed

      Forever hopeful Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015 resolved, 4/20 L ear, increase 2/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2015,noise,2020-21 SNHL
      @ajc

      Thank you for your response.

      I know that the intellectual side of me says I should wait a few weeks and see what happens. That’s assuming and I don't jump off a bridge between now and then. But i have to say, that in my experience, it’s never gotten better. I mean apart from the time it actually went away and that took years. Last year when this came on I was hoping against hope it was my Eustachian tube’s or my neck or something. But alas, it was probably a result of hearing loss. I actually miss my seashell noise. I don’t want this new ring hum that is much harder to mask. I’m trying to work and even though I have plenty of noise machines on I am so ridiculously distracted. I actually broke down to my 16-year-old son saying I didn’t think I could survive it this time. He called my husband and said you better come home. Not that he can help me.

      I made an appointment with my ENT for Monday and I’m sure they’re going to tell me that my ear is fine and I need another hearing test. What I worry about is that as I age this is just going to continue to happen. Stop by some grace of God I will perpetuate and move on from this too. However, you lose hearing as you age. That is a fact. I worry that I am going to have a new tone, new sound, new spike every time my hearing ages. I’ll likely kill myself by 60.
       
    22. Greg Sacramento

      Greg Sacramento Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame Advocate

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Syringing + Somatic tinnitus from dental work
      Hi Danielle: Do you think that your first tinnitus was caused by noise and was it then only one ear?
      A 33% possibility that new increased tinnitus is partly influenced by changes in neck. Have you had any change in weight since first tinnitus - increase or increase and then decrease?

      Possible that you had nerve firing with first and now more activation due to neck stress.

      Consider the following:
      Moist warm not hot compresses on back of neck reaching to top of neck for one session of 5 minutes. Then side with tinnitus and behind ear a few hours later.
      Sleeping more on good ear side.
      1/3 of a 400mg Magnesium Glycinate three times within 24 hours for a week or two.

      If interested in a discussion, we probably should go to an unilateral tinnitus thread. There we can also discuss other possibilities for increasing tinnitus. Hopeful to get your tinnitus out of the park - gone - over the green monster of Fenway Park.
       
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    23. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Forever hopeful
      Depressed

      Forever hopeful Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015 resolved, 4/20 L ear, increase 2/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2015,noise,2020-21 SNHL
      @Greg Sacramento, well hello again Greg. I think we chatted about a year ago. To answer your first question about my tinnitus going away, I had bilateral tinnitus for a little over two years. I do believe it was exposure to noise. It started about two days after I attended a very loud AC/DC concert. I was talking to somebody from the American Tinnitus Association last night and he was quite perplexed to hear that it actually went away and he asked me “what did you do what did you do”? And I said I did nothing. I adjusted to it, forgot about it and then noticed it just wasn’t there anymore. And that lasted for about three years. When it came back, it came back in only my left ear. And it seemed more like a seashell echo sound. I had another audiogram and I had some hearing loss at one low tone and it was ridiculously mild according to their definition. Per the ENT, they thought it was viral because it’s very unusual to get unilateral tinnitus. It is that ear that I’m having a problem with now.

      As for my neck, well I think I probably always have some neck issues. When I first got the tenant is back in my left ear the doctor also suggested that I see a physical therapist because I was having problems with my neck related to a new pillow I purchased. Let’s just say the PT did nothing. I just learned to live with it.

      Then this started two days ago. Louder, different tone, more like a pure tone sound like when your TV goes off-line. Or like the noise you hear when you’re taking a hearing test.

      I have an appointment with the ENT on Monday to just rule out the fact that I don’t have fluid in the years or anything else going on and I’m sure she’s going to tell me that I don’t. And I strongly suspect she’s going to want me to do another hearing test.

      Ask for weight gain, haven’t we all gained the COVID-19 while we’ve been buried in our homes? I certainly follow in that category. The only other thing that’s different is I took a barre class from home two nights before this happened. Perhaps I did something to my neck but I’m not in pain so I doubt it.

      I suspect it is here to stay. I didn’t know there was a unilateral tinnitus thread. I will have to check it out. I would love for it to be gone over the green monster. Thank you so much for reaching out.
       
    24. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Your tinnitus can improve @Forever hopeful although it may not seem this way at the moment. Carry on using low level sound enrichment. Give it time and try to engage in the things you like to do. This will help take away your focus on tinnitus and it will recede into the background. Best of luck at ENT.
       
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    25. Greg Sacramento

      Greg Sacramento Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame Advocate

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Syringing + Somatic tinnitus from dental work
      Very possible. It's best to strengthen with submaximal resistance and a low number of repetitions. Muscles of neck and joint of neck may not be ready for eccentric exercise after inactivity and body weight changes. Peripheral nerves and increased blood pressure can impair motor units. I can discuss more about motor units per tinnitus, but I would consider my mentions in post above under Consider the following.

      The BTA has an article about the correlation between acute increases in blood pressure during strenuous exercise and a worsening of tinnitus.

      Getting checked by your ENT for fluid concerns and other possible conditions is a good idea.
       
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