Tinnitus Worsened and Developed Hyperacusis After an MRI — Feeling Depressed and Stressed

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Scarecrow, May 14, 2022.

    1. Scarecrow

      Scarecrow Member

      Location:
      Singapore
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otitis media and loud noise exposure?
      Hi folks, I'm Morgan. I'm new here.

      This is my story:

      I started to developed mild tinnitus in my left ear last December. I visited my family GP and was diagnosed with otitis media in both ears. I have had long term sinusitis for years so I believe this might have led to it. The tinnitus was quite mild and I didn't care about it.

      Last month I had an MRI scan (1 hour) for my spine. Foam earplugs were rather loose but nurse told me it doesn't matter because she will give me an earmuff. During the session, the loud machine noises made my ears painful but I still tolerated to finish it. Since then my tinnitus in the left ear has worsened and gotten much louder (moderate), right ear also started to have tinnitus but milder compared to the left. I also developed hyperacusis. Loud sounds make my ears painful and uncomfortable.

      I consulted two different GPs and both said this is acoustic trauma and my otitis media is still here. One advised me not to do any hearing tests for the time being as some of them might exacerbate my condition. It's been almost 5 weeks since the MRI incident and I can feel my hyperacusis is getting slightly better. Tinnitus is same.

      However, I have also had a few exposures like hair clippers near my ears for like 10 seconds and walking along the highway for like under a minute. Today I had a 11 minute bus ride, the bus was old and the engine was rather loud while moving. I not sure how many dB (maybe 70 to 80 dB?) but I could see fellow passengers weren't bothered by it. My ears didn't feel any pain during the ride, but I'm not sure if it's my paranoia or if my tinnitus has spiked after today events. I am feeling depressed, scared and panicked. Are spikes temporary or permanent after such noise exposures?

      These kinds of exposures were very normal to me and didn't affect me at all before the MRI incident.

      Sorry for the long post. I would love to hear advice and suggestions. Thank you all.
       
      • Hug Hug x 6
    2. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Hi Morgan,

      Many things can cause tinnitus. One or more of the symptoms you describe could be responsible for it. Therefore, I will attempt to narrow this down and hopefully give you something to think about as to the probable cause of the tinnitus.

      I first want to ask: were you ever given any treatment by the doctors you have seen for the otitis media?

      Exposure to loud noise is one of the most common causes of tinnitus. It is typically brought on by regularly listening to audio through headphones, earbuds, AirPods and headsets at too high a volume without realizing it. If you have been using any of these devices regularly in the passed, and still do even at low volume, they are probably the cause of the tinnitus.

      This type of tinnitus is known as noise induced. If you listen to audio through any type of headphones my advice is to stop using it even at low volume. You mention having some oversensitivity to sound, which could indicate that you have hyperacusis. This condition often accompanies noise induced tinnitus.

      Your history of sinusitis could be the cause of the tinnitus. However, taking into account your oversensitivity to sound, makes me believe your tinnitus is noise induced. It is something for you to think about especially if you have been a regular user of any type of headphones in the passed.

      Please click on the links below and read my posts: New to Tinnitus, What to Do? Tinnitus, A Personal View.

      All the best,
      Michael

      New to Tinnitus, What to Do? | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/tinnitus-a-personal-view.18668/
       
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Scarecrow

      Scarecrow Member

      Location:
      Singapore
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otitis media and loud noise exposure?
      Hi Michael, thank you for reading and replying. Appreciate it.

      Yes, I was given some tablets to remove the phlegm/mucus trapped in the middle ear last December (forgot the name) and Vasican recently.

      I stopped using headphones and earbuds since my early adult years. I do have a Marshall speaker on my computer desk and play at a moderate volume. 20 years ago during high school, I got a slap in my left ear and there was ringing noise and ear fullness. But it only lasted for a few minutes. I also had two microsuctions in the past few years due to bad earwax blockage. After the session, I experienced funny water noises inside my ears but they disappeared after a day. Since then I have the habit to use cotton buds to remove earwax quite often. I still do it these days for the itch but way less. Didn't go in deep but do you think touching the ear canals will worsen hyperacusis and be dangerous?

      Not sure if all this stuff accumulated (including otitis media and MRI) have damaged my ears.

      And come to think of it, I think I already had hyperacusis before the otitis media. Loud sounds made me a bit uncomfortable but they didn't make my ears painful back then.

      Since after the MRI, my tinnitus and hyperacusis have worsened. I don't know what to do and am feeling depressed and scared. My ears feel painful listening to moderate to loud sounds and maybe high frequency sounds as well.

      And as I said on my previous post, after the acoustic trauma I was also exposed to typical loud noises in life like hair clippers near ears (10 seconds), traveling inside an old bus with loud engine (11 minutes) and talking in raised voice (20 minutes) etc. Do you think such noises will worsen my current condition further? These kinds of noises were very normal and didn't affect me at all before the MRI incident.

      Are earmuffs necessary for going out?

      I also don't dare to visit ENT after listening to one of my GPs advice and reading some fellow members about their conditions getting worsen after doing multiple tests. Do you think it's a safer bet to wait for the ears to heal on their own?

      Thank you again and sorry for the questions. I will read your threads.
       
    4. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Hi Morgan,

      I don't think it's a good idea to start wearing earmuffs when you're out. You can use noise reducing earplugs but be careful, as you shouldn't use them too much. Please click on the link below and read my thread: Hyperacusis, As I See It. It explains more about hyperacusis, earmuffs and other types of hearing protection and self-help techniques.
      ENT doctors treat underlying medical conditions that cause tinnitus but they do not treat tinnitus, because this is not their area of expertise. The correct health professional to see is an audiologist, that specialises in tinnitus and hyperacusis management.

      Please go to my started threads and read my posts mentioned below, which will give you more information on tinnitus and hyperacusis treatment and how to habituate to tinnitus. If you have a printer my advice is to print the articles instead of reading on your phone or computer screen. This way you will absorb and retain the information better because it is a lot to read.

      How to Habituate to Tinnitus, The Habituation Process, Will My Tinnitus Get Worse? The Complexities of Tinnitus and Hyperacusis, Tinnitus and the Negative Mindset, Acquiring a Positive Mindset, Can I Habituate to Variable Tinnitus? Habituation and Tinnitus Treatments, TRT As I See It.

      Hyperacusis, As I See It | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum

      Michael
       
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    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Scarecrow

      Scarecrow Member

      Location:
      Singapore
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otitis media and loud noise exposure?
      Thanks Michael, really appreciate your help. I have read through some parts of your threads and will continue reading the rest. My GP also gave the same advice like your article, don't overprotect the hearing too much and hyperacusis will improve.

      However, I am still feeling stressed when going out. Earlier today, someone just slammed a full glass door (with handle) right where I was sitting in the clinic. It wasn't very loud compared to wooden or car door but it freaked me out a little. Not sure I'm being paranoid/over sensitive but I am worried continuous exposures like these will worsen my condition and disrupt the healing process.
       
    6. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Hi Morgan,

      Thank you for your kind comments. If you find my advice helpful then I am pleased because I know how much tinnitus and hyperacusis can affect a person's life.

      Do not despair because your situation will improve with time. For this to happen take things slowly. Read my articles as they are a form of counselling. Gradually engage in the things you like to do or consider taking up a new interest. If possible go out and socialise. Doing these things will help reduce stress and anxiety by incorporating positivity into your life. It takes time so stay with it.

      Try some of the self-help techniques mentioned in Hyperacusis, As I See It. In addition to this talk to your doctor about how you feel. It might be suggested to take medication to help manage stress and anxiety. Please do not be quick to dismiss this. More information about medication are in my posts and in the link below.

      Your tinnitus and hyperacusis will not get worse by the sudden slamming of a door or hearing an emergency siren go off in the distance. I understand how you feel. You can use noise reducing earplugs only on a temporary bases as mentioned in Hyperacusis, As I See It.

      Try my suggestions and if you can, see an audiologist that specialises in tinnitus and hyperacusis management. If this is not possible then take your time and follow the advice in my posts. Start using sound enrichment at night by placing a sound machine by the bedside.

      All the best,
      Michael

      Tinnitus and Mental Health | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
       
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    7. AnthonyMcDonald
      Confused

      AnthonyMcDonald Member

      Location:
      Russia
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      This is horrible advice. Advice like this caused me to worsen to catastrophical levels. True, you should not wear hearing protection 24/7 but you DEFINITELY should protect when out and doing anything remotely noisy + risky.
       
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    8. UKBloke
      Caffeine

      UKBloke Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      1991
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Music / family history
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Scarecrow

      Scarecrow Member

      Location:
      Singapore
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otitis media and loud noise exposure?
      Update - After doing some research, I think my tinnitus and hyperacusis on my left ear seem to get worse after using a typical PlayStation 5 headphone (not playing music) to block noises, but only to be exposed to occlusion effect/low frequency noises from vehicles engines and aircraft flying over. I only realized the air pressure inside my ears getting stronger and uncomfortable when the aircraft flew over and I took the headphones off after like 10 seconds. I've also had a few exposures in bus rides last week.

      Feeling depressed and anxiety over the roof.
       
    10. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      As I have already mentioned, you need to be careful of overusing hearing protection. I don't think using headphones or earmuffs to block out sounds are a good idea because of the occlusion affect which you have found. Use noise reducing earplugs as advised in my post: Hyperacusis, As I See It. They will reduce outside sounds but won't cause an occlusion effect.

      Noise reducing earplugs should not be used too often.

      Michael
       
    11. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Scarecrow

      Scarecrow Member

      Location:
      Singapore
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otitis media and loud noise exposure?
      Hi Michael, thanks again for the response.

      I don't wear hearing protection much like you advised, but only in rather public noisy places. And I even took it off to adapt to low noise levels.

      I always thought occlusion effects will only occur when one is talking or in dental sessions (drilling and vibration from your own body), didn't know external noises will play a factor. A lot of posts also didn't mention about it. But it's mainly on my own ignorance.

      The reason I'm not using earplugs is because I have a hard time fitting them and worried they might push my earwax inwards.

      Will wearing earplugs loosely or not properly cause occlusion effect too? Now I suspect not wearing the foam earplugs tightly during my MRI sessions played a major part of damaging my ears.
       
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