Tinnitus, Out of the Clear Blue Sky? One Late Evening I Woke Up to High-Pitched Ringing

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Tailwind5, Jul 16, 2021.

    1. Tailwind5

      Tailwind5 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hello, I hope this post finds you well. I just wanted to quick share my tinnitus experience in the hopes that some of you may have some helpful insight or recommendations for me and also to perhaps create some affinity with those going through similar new experiences.

      I just turned 40 and there isn’t much noteworthy in my history of ear health. I had 1 ear infection as a child and I did foolishly shoot a firearm without hearing protection in my early 20s but it was an isolated incident. Other than that, I would say my noise exposure is pretty average though in hindsight I wish I had worn protection more often with things like lawn mowers and power tools as I am a bit of a do-it-yourselfer.

      Exactly 1 month ago I awoke late one evening to a persistent high-pitched ring in my left ear that seemed out of place and of course I couldn’t get back to sleep thereafter. No feeling of fullness, pain or pulsating just the ringing in the left ear.

      The next day I had a spell of positional vertigo set in as well which subsided in about 5 days. Of course, I immediately thought the worst like this was some neurological condition so I went to the clinic and they diagnosed me with BPPV and tinnitus, gave me some anti-nausea meds and told me to follow up with my primary care. I recall the first week the sound was noticeable but not that loud, like a soft cricket maybe. After a few nights I got back to sleeping without masking much but oddly I seemed to noticed that laying on my right side one evening the ringing got worse and has been that way since, it ranges from a 4-7 in intensity I would say. Now, I need some masking sound at night, usually symphony music and I sleep ok all things considered but I avoid sleeping on my right side. During the day its quite noticeable especially in quite rooms but I just do my best to stay occupied and not think about it, easier said than done of course.

      Primary care was in no hurry to schedule me for my symptoms so I began calling around to ENT offices who would see me with no referral. I found one but they had to schedule a hearing test together with the ENT consult so that would be a long lead time. Instead, I booked my own hearing test and was told I have moderate sensorineural hearing loss in my left ear and mild in my right and that I could benefit from hearing aids. A finally got my referral to an ENT and upon my first visit the PA told me that my tinnitus is likely due to the hearing loss at higher frequencies that she equated to something like phantom-limb syndrome where the lost tones are replicated by the nerves. I am scheduled to have an MRI in a couple weeks to rule out a tumor but I read on this forum that the noise of the MRI can make symptoms worsen so now I am having second thoughts.

      I have been offered no real therapies by the physicians other than Lipoflavonoid and some phone apps for masking sounds and physical therapy for the vertigo which went away on its own. I am scheduled for the hearing aid fitting next week but am internally debating whether or not it would be better to just ride out the tinnitus and habituate faster rather than get accustomed to the hearing aids by day and listen to the ringing all night with them out.

      The odd thing about all this is, I feel like I hear perfectly fine and suspect the reason I didn’t hear certain tones during the test was precisely because of the tinnitus and not because my hearing is damaged but I am also not a doctor of Audiology so what would I know?

      So many questions and oddities linger in my mind:

      · Why do some with mild hearing loss get tinnitus and others with more substantial loss do not?

      · Did my 5-day spell of positional vertigo and the one I had a few weeks before the tinnitus have something to do with all this? Never had this before in my life either.

      · Can hearing loss like this be temporary, perhaps due to an inner ear infection?

      · I notice more of a hissing sound while I am sleeping rather than a ringing but after I wake up it goes back to a ring, strange.

      · Should I have the MRI to rule out a tumor or just ride out the tinnitus and see if my vertigo returns?

      · Are any of the supplements or diets helpful for those with hearing loss related tinnitus? I haven’t noticed any change in intensity diet related. The only thing that alters the sound or intensity seems to be lying down for me. ​

      Anyway, despite the feelings of uneasiness and occasional struggle to concentrate I feel like I am coping reasonably well. Getting a decent night’s rest was the biggest obstacle as I am sure most would attest. The ringing is pretty loud for me at night but I simply lay there and listen to soft music on speaker as long as it takes until I eventually fall asleep. The first few nights I would stay up late moving around and this was exhausting and I found it better to lay and let sleep eventually come. Being active during the day and building up fatigue definitely helps in this regard.

      I stopped trying to mask the ringing during the day so it isn’t such a sharp contrast when I am in a quite room. I try to always have something to occupy my thoughts, like a crossword or book and I generally keep to the same schedule I had pre-tinnitus.

      Fingers crossed with time this will either decrease in intensity or simply blend in more psychologically and won’t bother me as much, this too shall pass as they say. And who knows the hearing aids might go a long way to making up for the lost frequencies so my concentration levels return to normal during the day. If there is a consolation, I feel this has been a wakeup call to preserve the hearing I have and not take it for granted. I am now much more inclined to remind others about hearing protection having gone through this ordeal.

      Thank you for taking the time to read my little synopsis and I wish you the best in your own dealings. If like myself you are new to this ailment, please hang in there and if the anxiety gets to be overwhelming seek refuge in friends, family, prayer or whatever it is that uniquely works for you and takes your mind off of it to allow the wave to pass, doing so helped me tremendously in the first few days.
       
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    2. Wrfortiscue
      Cowabunga

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Get an open MRI with earplugs and earmuffs. That’s what I’m going to do.
       
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    3. Jess Bouma

      Jess Bouma Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      July 2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not Sure
      I had positional vertigo that resolved quickly with some balance issues that took a couple of weeks to resolve. Then one night after swimming and diving in a lake I woke up to a loud ringing in my ears.

      It has all the ENTs confused is that the only time I get this ringing is when I try to sleep! The strangest part is that during waking hours I don't hear anything! All day long I don't have a problem with tinnitus.

      Please update us!
       
    4. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not sure
      Look up YouTube for the Half Somersault maneuver for BPPV. It was a lady MD who suffered BPPV herself inventing this technique. I tried it and it works wonder fast with no more vertigo after the maneuver is done. Wish you speedy recovery. God bless.
       
    5. Ava Lugo
      Dead

      Ava Lugo Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Virus
      Hey @billie48, I remember you brought up Zoe Cartwright a few times and mentioned that her tinnitus was unmaskable.

      Well mine is too. My tinnitus is very reactive and very intrusive and rides on top of pretty much all external sounds and I have a right ear that is like 85 percent deaf and some hearing loss in the left ear but not as bad as the right. I never have to look for my tinnitus to hear because it’s always in my face. I hear it very clearly over everything and I don’t know if I can take it anymore because the tinnitus affects my hearing and it feels close to impossible to habituate to this type of T cause it’s very difficult to ignore cause of it’s intrusiveness.

      I don’t know if your tinnitus has ever been this bad where it affects your hearing and your enjoyment of TV and music.

      I don’t know if Zoe had tinnitus this bad where it was all she could really hear over everything else?

      If you have this type of tinnitus, then how do you habituate? Is it possible to change your reaction despite hearing it every waking second? Can you hear it every waking second without it driving you crazy?
       
      • Good Question Good Question x 1
    6. Kenilworth

      Kenilworth Member

      Location:
      South Africa
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      I can relate. A few months ago, my tinnitus was the "quiet room" type that only bothered me when I sleep. It's been the same for 5 years until early this year when things started getting worse. I now hear my tinnitus wherever I go. I can't differentiate between baseline and spike. I hear my tinnitus outside, in traffic and its loud pitch. Not to mention, it's the reactive type that can't be masked. No rest, no day offs.

      I'm also experiencing some bad hyperacusis/distortions, where things I hear sounds dry or like a low quality radio/speaker. My hearing is a bit muffled but I hear just fine, except there's no comfort in anything I hear. I can't listen to my favorite music anymore because of the distortion. My life is mostly about tinnitus.

      I can't say much. What I can tell you is to hold on. Help may come sooner. Research is slow, but at least there's something to hold on to. In the meantime, let the mind and body adjust. Try to not put pressure on your self to get better. I've been suicidal everyday since I got worse but I'm still here. My ears are damaged to some degree but I'm thankful I can hear.

      Don't despair.
       
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    7. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not sure
      Zoe is more worse than most of us. She became totally deaf at young age 15 and developed loud unmaskable tinnitus. Hers is unmaskable because she can't hear any external sounds hence no masking sounds can help mask the tinnitus. Poor Zoe. But her story was and is still an inspiration to me and perhaps others that she shows even loud unmaskable tinnitus is livable given the will to live and to pursue her dreams as well as other aspects of her life. She made a short tinnitus film called 7.24.52.10 on YouTube which can illustrate her struggle with a silent world dominated by her relentless tinnitus. The film title means she has unmaskable tinnitus 7/24, 52 weeks a year and has been for 10 years at the time of the film. She has been my guiding light to know given time and the right attitude or approach, one can still live a life and achieve something like she did.

      The other guiding light I mentioned in my success story is Melody Gardot, an accomplished lady jazz singer who even performed in David Letterman late show despite severe tinnitus and hyperacusis and a bad traffic accident at 19 years old. You can read about their story in more detail in my success story "From Darkness to Light...".

      As for my tinnitus, you can read about the latest developments in my story. I suffered SSHL late last year with my left ear turning deaf over night. Besides deafness it comes with many nasty symptoms too such as a new jet-engine like super loud tinnitus, loss of balance, constant ear fullness, severely plugged and pressured sensation on both ears and brain fog. Of course it scared me at the start. But 10 months in the symptoms are the same and I am still standing and enjoying fishing and gardening plus spending time with family members, mostly virtually. Lol. I learned my lesson that I don't need to panic nor despair like I did a decade ago when my ultra high pitched tinnitus and severe hyperacusis first hit. I said screw it I will focus on other aspects of my life like Zoe and Melody did. The brain needs time to get used to the new sensations and I am giving it time this time. Check out my success story for more details on my SSHL and the strategies I use. Take care. God bless
       
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    8. robinbird
      Fine

      robinbird Member Benefactor

      Location:
      New Hampshire
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      high pitch hearing loss, both ears, right is worse
      Been there. Only thing finally helped was blue tooth hearing aids. I can’t live without them now.
       
    9. Tau
      Probing

      Tau Member

      Location:
      Europe
      Tinnitus Since:
      2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2019-Concert, 2021-headphones/acoustic trauma at 110dB,16kHz
      Tinny hearing can be a sign of nerve damage, most likely cochlear synaptopathy. I also hear pure tones just fine, but music is distorted at higher frequencies.
       
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    10. Kenilworth

      Kenilworth Member

      Location:
      South Africa
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      It's frustrating, isn't it?

      My tinnitus is severe, but I'm feeling very optimistic and hopeful on future treatments. However, I don't feel the same way about these distortions.

      How do you cope with it? Mine seems to be progressing. Does it stop getting worse?
       
    11. 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
      Oh Billie I’ve been thinking of you and wondering how you’ve been doing. I’m so sorry to hear that you didn’t regain any of your hearing. Your positivity support and strength is a gift to us all.
       
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    12. 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 Ava,

      I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Is your hearing loss new? Have you considered hearing aids? I know some people have had a lot of success with hearing aids.
       
    13. 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
      So sorry to hear that you were going through this. It must’ve been shocking to find out at 40 that you had hearing loss.

      I want to respond to your question about why some people with hearing loss have tinnitus and some people without hearing loss have tinnitus while others with hearing loss don’t. From what I’ve learned it’s all in the brain. I have a friend who has way worse hearing than me and she doesn’t have tinnitus. Both my parents have hearing loss. My father’s is occupational and he wears hearing aids. Can’t hear a thing without them. My mom has the usual age related hearing loss at 78. And I have actually really pretty good hearing for my age. For some frequencies I’m on the lower end of normal but I’m still in the normal range. But as I age I’m going to be looking forward to probably worse tinnitus because that’s what my brain does.

      I have to confess I’m quite envious of people who develop tenderness and it never changes. I know a number of people had 10 of us and hasn’t changed in years and years and years despite their hearing worsening as they age. I don’t think I’m gonna be that person but perhaps you will be. So you can always have hope.

      Also I want to address your question about your hearing improving. I’m not sure how much hearing loss you have, but I had mild hearing loss in my left ear and then when I was tested again a year later it was back up in the normal range. But according to my ENT, the hearing tests just aren’t that reliable. The standard deviation I believe is 5 dB. I had one frequency where in my left ear where I tested at a 10 dB 6 years ago and then last year it dropped to a 30 dB. I have a short course of steroids but it did not improve. Then this year it dropped to 35 dB and i also had a higher frequency drop to a 25 dB from 10 dB. I was on a longer course of steroids this time, and when I was retested it went back up to 25 dB and a 10 dB respectively. Also my tinnitus in my left ear that accompanied my hearing loss completely resolved. Of course I’m always waiting for the next time it’s going to come back. I keep telling myself that if it does I’ll find a way to adjust. I’ll consider hearing aids, or in ear markers if I need to.

      Hang in there. Most people on this site report that they do get used to the tinnitus and for many, although it may not completely resolve it does improve.
       
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    14. Ava Lugo
      Dead

      Ava Lugo Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Virus
      No I was born with severe hearing loss and have always had mild maskable tinnitus that I never heard during the day. My tinnitus became severe and intrusive and unmaskable after I was getting over a cold 2 years ago. I got checked out by several ENT doctors but they just blamed it on the hearing loss and the hearing tests showed my hearing loss remains the same as I had it since birth. I have always worn a bone anchored hearing aid and I still wear one with the intrusive tinnitus but it doesn't mask it at all unfortunately, but it used to before I got that cold or whatever illness it was. I didn't get vertigo or anything like that but I used to be dizzy when I got the flu sometimes as a child and I'm sure I got ear infections too back then.
       
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    15. 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’m really sorry Ava. That just stinks that there’s nothing you can do. My tinnitus isn’t maskable either. Too high pitched. I’m aware of it all the time, and it’s exhausting.
       
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