Tinnitus Spike, Not Sure of Cause

Discussion in 'Support' started by Cloudberry, Apr 15, 2015.

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    1. Cloudberry
      Procrastinating

      Cloudberry Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Hi everyone. Long time lurker, first time poster. :) I’m going to try to keep this as concise as possible, as typing out my entire story is likely to depress me more. Long story short, I’ve had T since 2012, when due to severe TMD (most folks refer to it as TMJ) caused me to develop ETD, which along with stuffy, congested ears and popping/clicking every time I swallow, also involves a low-level of tinnitus. At first I was a nervous wreck and went through the initial stages of panic and anxiety that most folks who develop T go through. However, over time I eventually began to habituate, especially since my T was really only noticeable when it was silent or when I went to bed. Within several months, I reached the point of not noticing my T at all and was able to resume life as I had known it before. Cut to a few weeks ago, when I made the mistake of attending a concert. I wore earplugs and watched the show from a place in the venue that was literally the farthest point from the stage, and even went outside regularly to take breaks. I was there for a few hours, max. The show ended, I took out my plugs and noticed no stuffy ears (at least not any more so than they already are due to my ETD) and no increased ringing. I felt I had done good. Went to bed that night but awoke the next morning with a slight, ever-so-quiet ring in my left ear (my sensitive ear since the TMD onset) that would disappear/increase in volume depending on how I bent my neck (my T has always responded this way). It was so quiet when I first noticed it that I honestly wasn’t worried. I went about my day and hoped it’d resolve itself, thinking it was likely from my TMD. However, it hasn’t resolved. About a week later I started to get somewhat anxious over the noise and of course, it seemed to increase in volume once that happened. I had a couple of nights of restless sleep which I know didn’t help matters, but as this is my 2nd time going through the whole T panic, I feel I am in a much better place than back in 2012. I am very depressed about it though. So, I guess I just wanted some veteran opinions on whether or not anyone thinks this spike will resolve itself, or if it’s possible I’ve done permanent damage, despite attempts to be a responsible concert-goer (I know, I know -- having ETD and pre-existing T make concerts something I probably should never do again, which I won’t). I suppose I was under the impression that since my T did not originate from noise-induced trauma, and that over the years I’ve been quite protective over my ears, that going to this concert wouldn’t be enough to do any real damage. I really regret going and wish I could take that evening back. One thing I should add is that for a while, I’d stopped wearing the daytime mouth splint my TMD specialist had made for me to reposition my jaw. Due to dental work several months ago, it made wearing the splint uncomfortable. Lately, I’d noticed some increase in my T when chewing, but only then and it never stuck around. Since the concert, in desperation I’ve begun wearing the splint and it seems to alleviate the T by about 30% or so. Sometimes I can’t even hear it at all, other times it’s definitely there – especially in the morning. So, it’s possible this could all be a coincidence and perhaps the increase in T is jaw related and not noise induced – although a spike is a spike, regardless the origin. I know I should make an ENT appointment, but I am dreading finding out that I’ve hearing loss and that this was all a result of me attending that concert. If this is noise induced, will the volume eventually decrease? It’s only distressing when I fixate on it. Most ambient noise seems to mask it pretty well.

      Well, I guess this post turned out a lot longer than I had intended. Thank you for reading this far, if you have, and any suggestions you might have would be appreciated. I am doing okay with it all, but just needed to vent to folks who understand what I’m going through. I’ve never had a spike of this magnitude before. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had a true spike, aside from the random bout of fleeting tinnitus. My fiancé actually has low-level, noise-induced T but he has habituated so much that it’s as though he doesn’t have it at all. He seems to think I am hyper-fixating on this and making it worse and isn’t the most sympathetic about it. Incidentally, he attended the concert as well and was just fine afterwards (fortunately). Thank you again for reading my story.
       
    2. Stink

      Stink Member

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2000
      you have mega mild tinnitus. if ambient noise masks it you will habituate to the noise in a couple weeks.

      try cognitive therapy if you continue to fixate on it. you find ways to unfixate it.
      be happy your tinnitus is mild! many of our tinnitus is louder than the ambulance siren
       
    3. Cloudberry
      Procrastinating

      Cloudberry Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Hi Stink, thanks for replying. Just wanted to reply back that I'm doing ok. My spike has faded somewhat, although I can on occasion hear the elevated ringing, especially when I bend my neck in certain positions. I still cannot determine whether or not this was noise induced from the concert, or if it's from my TMD. While I'm certainly thankful that my tinnitus is considered "mild," it still makes me anxious if I fixate on it. It's a very high pitched head noise that when it's completely silent, can overwhelm me. I guess I'd equate it to a dog whistle -- almost imperceptible at times, but when it's the only noise in the room and I concentrate on it, it's crazy loud. It's very different from the tonal T sounds of fleeting tinnitus, where I actually hear an audible tone. I don't know, hard to explain. Anyways, I just wanted to update that I'm doing okay and trying to move on. Regardless of the origin of my spike, I think I'm going to stay away from concerts for a bit and baby my ears.
       

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