Unilateral Tinnitus After Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by npfedriz, Jul 5, 2021.

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    1. npfedriz

      npfedriz Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/14/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hello Everyone - Sharing my experience in case there are others out there who may have had this happen to them. I am a 34-year-old male with a very active lifestyle and prior to what I will explain below, in good health with no known underlying issues. I have never experienced tinnitus before.

      On May 14th, 2021 I developed a very light vibrating sensation in my right ear combined with slightly muffled hearing. Over the course of the next few days that turned into very loud tinnitus. The best description I can give of the sound is TV static inside a seashell up against your ear. Constant and not pulsating. I was not exposed to any loud noises that I recall. The only recent abnormal event at the time was getting the COVID-19 vaccine. On April 30th, 2021 (two weeks earlier) I received a second dose of the Moderna vaccine. My reaction to the vaccine seemed to be worse than what most people had reported as I had flu-like symptoms for a full 24 hours and then developed swollen maxillary sinus on both sides of the face which lasted about 5 days. On day five I took an allergy pill and the next day woke up fine. I am not prone to seasonal allergies and had no postnasal drip, stuffy or runny nose.

      For the first two weeks of tinnitus, it was 24/7. I don't need to go into how maddening it was because if you are reading this you know. The severity was such that I could not have intelligent conversations with other people because the sound was so loud in my head, it completely overtook my ability to think critically. I decided to go to urgent care as the tinnitus was worsening in intensity day by day and was now accompanied by the feeling of fullness of the ear and increased hearing loss. I was treated for a middle ear infection. The doctor reported that my right eardrum was opaque indicating fluid buildup and possible Eustachian tube malfunction. I was put on a 10-day course of Prednisone and an antibiotic in case of infection.

      On day 2 of Prednisone, I was almost back to normal. The tinnitus was only faintly noticeable in the mornings and my hearing was fully restored except for having slight hyperacusis to high-pitched noises, like a baby crying. However, the Prednisone treatment was a taper, and by day 7 the tinnitus began to come back as the dose decreased. One day after the last dose (24 hours off Prednisone) I woke up to the loudest tinnitus I have had to date, so loud that I was concerned enough to drive myself to the ER. They brought in an ENT doctor who did some basic tests in the ER, and then had me go get an Audiogram, which showed very mild low-frequency hearing loss. They concluded a "wait and see" diagnosis and advised me to schedule an appointment with the hospital's ENT clinic in 6-8 weeks. The audiogram was taken while I was experiencing very bad tinnitus.

      I had already scheduled an appointment with a private ENT which was one week after my ER visit. They were a little more concerned and ordered an MRI, bloodwork for an autoimmune disorder, and a referral to a neck and jaw therapist in case of TMJD. I also went to my dentist who took x-rays gave me a clean bill of health. The ENT prescribed another round of Prednisone which produced similar results as the first. Full recovery while on the max dose, but symptoms began to return during the taper. I am now a little over a week off this round of Prednisone and the tinnitus has shown up consistently every day in the following way: Extremely loud in the morning with muffled hearing that gradually turns into 95% restored hearing and only the faintest tinnitus that I have to actually try to hear. The tinnitus typically starts to return later in the evening around 10-11 PM.

      I had my first physical therapy appointment last week and received treatment in the form of manual manipulation of the jaw joints./muscles, but the therapist was not convinced I have TMJD, just some tightness which is on my right side. This first treatment did not result in any change in tinnitus/hearing loss. My follow-up ENT visit is this coming Wednesday to review the MRI and hopefully rule out a neuroma. The bloodwork all came back negative for abnormalities.

      As I begin to check off the boxes of possible underlying causes and enter the land of "we don't know what caused it." I keep thinking back to the reaction I had to the COVID-19 vaccine and if there could be any connection. There seem to be reported out there of tinnitus associated with both getting COVID-19 and the vaccine (I did not get COVID-19 that I know of), but they are not en mass so I figured I would post this out there and see if anyone had any thoughts at all.

      Here are a few things I have done to try and control the tinnitus:

      - Running: If I go for a 3-5 mile run, the tinnitus goes away or significantly decreases afterward for several hours
      - Quit caffeine: no change
      - Quit Dextroamphetamine prescription: no change
      - Started taking supplements B12, Magnesium, Turmeric (Curcumin), ALC, 5-HTP, Lipoflavonoid, and a Multivitamin: no change
      - Hot and cold packs on the ear: provides some relief but is inconsistent

      Thanks for checking out my post, I look forward to any comments you may have!
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    2. Exit

      Exit Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      You got some Prednisone in your system which had an effect so you have done something good there.

      Hopefully your ears looks normal at ENT follow up. I would do what I can to have that happen as it’s your best chance of recovery.

      Hopefully the Prednisone and antibiotics helped. Doctors often give out too short antibiotic treatments. Perhaps another type of antibiotic would work. Read up on which type of antibiotics you dare take so you’re prepared if another course is suggested. Some types are awful for the ears.

      Try to relax and perhaps sleep on 2 pillows, and go moderate on exercise that increase cranium pressure.

      Just a thought, wouldn’t hurt at least.

      Physiotherapy can’t hurt either.

      Some background calming low volume music is often recommended too. Many sleep with some fans or music. Some prefer sleeping in silence, so try and see.

      I also recommend avoiding loud bangs for a while :)
       
      • Funny Funny x 1
    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      npfedriz

      npfedriz Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/14/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thanks for your suggestions! Fortunately I have no trouble at all sleeping. The tinnitus is actually just like white noise. The problem is trying to overcome the noise during the day. Exercise is the only thing I have found that works consistently but it’s not practical to go for a jog before a business meeting…
       
    4. Gandalf

      Gandalf Member

      Location:
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      You and your doctors have been impressively thorough in exploring different strategies to address your tinnitus. I'm not surprised by your diminishing returns-response to prednisone; it's typically a short-term solution.

      Did your MRI reveal anything of note? (I postponed getting mine, but I'll probably get it).

      I envy the fact that you've had no trouble at all sleeping, that's a real plus in your favor.
       
    5. Overworked724

      Overworked724 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loss of mid range hearing
      Sorry for your frustrations. If it weren't for someone else writing this, I'd say it was my story with a few differences.

      - I took the J&J shot at end of March 2021
      - I had a head MRI and it's clear
      - I have both high pitch (monotone) and pulsatile tinnitus in both ears

      My symptoms began a few weeks after the shot... but it was definitely inner ear inflammation. It began as a loud (7 out of 10 intensity) ringing in both ears which literally made me non-functional and led to some anxiety issues which I can only describe as epic.

      Some good notes since then:
      - Rather than monotone high intensity sounds it cycles during the day (like your own)
      - Doctor (ENT) diagnosed me with allergies (that's a first) and prescribed nasal sprays (one corticosteroid and one antihistamine) which have seemed to help some

      Either way - I'm fairly certain this was vaccine related as I have no other health issues or comorbidities. I'm just taking it a day at at a time. While not painful - it is mentally taxing.

      I am thankful for those moments of silence and respite which I occasionally get, and am not kicking myself so much anymore. Just trying to find my own personal 'normal' and not let this thing run my life.

      Cheers!
      OW724
       
    6. Gandalf

      Gandalf Member

      Location:
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Very well-articulated history, thanks for that! There’s a lot of talk about tinnitus being a possible adverse effect (AE) of the COVID-19 vaccine. I had both doses of the Pfizer vaccine and although my longtime career has been in pharmaceutical advertising and have extensively researched AE charts for a miltitude of pharma products, something about the nature and suddenness of my tinnitus makes me think the vaccine — whatever AE rates Pfizer is reporting — has something to do with it. Time will tell.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    7. Sara May

      Sara May Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      4/3/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @npfedriz, I am in a very similar situation as you are. Thank you for your thoughtful and thorough post.

      I was a very healthy fit 50-year-old female who had absolutely no health issues January 2021. I was very careful about protecting against possible COVID-19 infection since the beginning of 2020, so do not believe I had any exposure.

      (My husband took vaccines on the same lots and is perfectly fine today, and had relatively much milder initial reactions.)

      1st Moderna jab I told a few people "I have not felt so physically fatigued in my life" , which lasted for 24 hours and resolved.

      2nd Moderna in February 2021 resulted in 48 hours of harsh side effects which included light sensitivity, sweating, fever, head pounding / pulsating, couldn't lift my arm, barely slept.

      A few weeks later tinnitus took hold which interestingly similar to you I would describe as a very high frequency "old TV" static.

      In addition, I have had what I believe are swollen and sensitive lymph nodes in my head, behind my ears, in my throat.

      I was referred to ENT... 2 lots of Prednisone (same as you, tapered, tinnitus was reduced slightly on day 1 and 2 and effect immediately wore off)

      Blood work is apparently clear BUT I looked up the results directly from LabCorp login and Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO) Ab antibody was HIGH at 80 iU/ml. I didn't even know that the ENT had tested for Lyme disease before I looked at results, whilst he had dismissed any possible connection to vaccine I had given him no reason to believe I may have been in a situation like hiking where I may have contracted Lyme but I guess that's something they test for - which bothers me that whilst doing so they totally dismiss any connection to what I feel is the only unusual physical event I've had in years.

      MRI with and without contrast is apparently clear.
      And I was basically dismissed and felt I was being told to live with it.

      Today I feel there is a probability that the tinnitus is connected to swollen lymph nodes in and around the head and throat. I have scheduled an appointment with an endocrinologist. The appointment is now in 2 weeks time. I have been waiting months for this appointment as I researched this doctor who seemed to have good reviews. Since prior to this event I was healthy I have no doctors and am a 'new patient' hence the long wait for an appointment!

      While I'm waiting I have been trying to eat healthy anti-inflammatory foods and take additional anti-inflammatory supplements such as Magnesium, Turmeric, Ginger, low dose Aspirin, looking for an anti-inflammatory support.

      1- Could you tell me if your blood tests included Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO) Ab antibody test and if your result was unusual?

      2- Do you have any sensitivity of your lymph nodes behind your ears, around your throat / thyroid, around your head?

      Thank you.
       
    8. Juan

      Juan Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      How are you doing now? Did your symptoms improve?
       
    9. Juan

      Juan Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      How are you doing now? Did the tinnitus disappear?
       
    10. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      npfedriz

      npfedriz Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/14/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      It took forever to get approval to have the MRI done for some reason. Nevertheless, I received the results and not surprisingly it did not reveal anything abnormal. Back to square one!
       
    11. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      npfedriz

      npfedriz Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/14/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Sara, thanks for your response! TPO test was not unusual. I have no typical sensitivity to the lymph nodes but post 2nd dose of Moderna the maxillary sinus on both side blew up, so obviously some allergic reaction there. I have had so many random side effects and symptoms since the vaccine that I have never experienced in 35 years of life. Each doctor I see (PC, ENT, PT, Chiro, Neuro) all give me a possible diagnosis that fits conveniently within their field and that can not be confirmed definitively. However, one thing they do all agree upon is that the vaccines are now known to cause significant inflammation in some people, and that most likely triggered whatever reaction I am now experiencing.
       
    12. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      npfedriz

      npfedriz Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/14/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Juan - thanks for checking in. It went away for two weeks but then re-appeared and is back to 8/10. I recorded no significant changes in diet, exercise, sleepy, etc during that time so am unable to pinpoint why it went away. Needless to say, the resurgence has me more frustrated than ever. I am working with a new doctor who is exploring the cervical spine, I will soon get an MRI of that area to find out more.
       
    13. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      npfedriz

      npfedriz Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/14/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      The most rational thing I’ve been told so far by any physician is that the viral reaction which occurs when your body acclimates to the vaccine is known to cause inflammation, significant in some people especially women in the breast tissue. Nevertheless, I don’t know how any of this works but I was able to verify some of this in some online medical publications doing some basic Google searches. Like I said, best explanation so far seeing that the dentist tells me I have TMJD, the ENT tells me I have Meneires, primary care told me I have an ear infection, and so on. I am finally working with a doctor who is demonstrating some interest in solving the case and is taking a real diagnostic approach and researching/sharing my case with her colleagues. Will keep you updated.
       
    14. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      npfedriz

      npfedriz Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/14/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thanks for your response - very Interesting.

      Any developments?

      My tinnitus went away for two weeks but then came right back. Can’t track down anything that might have caused it to break cycle. The cycle is more predictive now. Begins when I go to bed, as soon as I lay down the humming ramps up and then becomes a roar. Somehow I am still able to sleep. The problem is that the roar will continue infinitely until I do some sort of high intensity workout. When I wake up naturally in the morning, the roar is there like someone left the TV on channel 4. Sometimes it is more of a metallic ring vs. a static. Nevertheless, It will persist until I run it off. What makes it weirder is there seems to be some correlation between how long I exercise. If I run 4 miles, or about 35
      Minutes, it will go away completely within 30 minutes of the run. If I run 2 miles, or 15-20 minutes, it will drastically reduce the volume of tinnitus and resolve my hearing to about 80%, but will not completely go away. This sort of has all of the doctors I’ve seen baffled, and they seem to just not believe me. I’ve found no other cases after scouring the internet for someone with a similar issue.
       
    15. Juan

      Juan Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      Hearing problems are tricky, and in the long term changes are baffling, it's just unbelievable how things change... I started out having severe hyperacusis, and now have a combo of hearing loss, tinnitus and hyperacusis.

      Lately I have the weirdest feeling, it is like sound is hitting my ears but the quality of sound perceived is so poor that my brain struggles to understand what is said. It's like my brain was working in slow motion or something. When there is some background noise I sometimes struggle to understand people.

      And sometimes I feel a bit dizzy. This does not happen often but it is just weird. It's not a vertigo attack, according to what I have read.. it is just like a light head. Very annoying thing.

      So that's why I decided not to get the vaccine. I cannot risk my hearing taking still another turn for the worse.

      If your hearing is fluctuating, or your tinnitus is fluctuating, as you say, it may be very hard to pinpoint the exact cause. If your diet is the same, stable, you do exercise, sleep well etc... there are other factors that could play up, like stress, cramps (bad neck, bad back, etc), tension, etc Still, I think there is a lot that is unknown about hearing issues.
       
    16. GlennJ

      GlennJ Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I had the COVID-19 vaccine in March 2021 and developed tinnitus for the first time in my life in April. I have no way of knowing whether the vaccine was the cause but I suspect that it was. I understand that, if the vaccine did cause this, that it would be due to an inflammation response. This does not add up as I had no noticeable reaction to the vaccine - not even a red mark on my arm. The only thing was the tinnitus which came a few weeks later.

      As I write this in October it has not gone away and is as disturbing as ever.
       
    17. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      npfedriz

      npfedriz Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/14/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Glen, thanks for your comment. It's been a few doctor visits since I have posted. Trust me I understand what you are going through, this experience has literally been a living nightmare and has had drastic negative social and mental effects on me.

      My current ENT diagnosed me with endolymphatic hydrops a few months ago. They pretty satisfactorily justified all of the symptoms I had with this diagnosis. Especially the strange ability to make the tinnitus go away for hours with intense exercise, the fact that it seemed to gradually ramp up throughout the night until it was so loud it woke me up, that I would randomly be unable to hear in the affected ear but still register no hearing loss during a hearing test.

      The exact cause, we will never know, however, they are pretty certain based on all evidence and testimony I could provide that it was caused by an inflammatory response. This is a well-documented cause of hydrops found in many research articles and medical journals I have read through online.

      The treatment comes down to fluid regulation. My understanding of what may be happening within the inner ear is that too much fluid is causing some sort of sack to bulge and press up against the stereocilia, which are the small hairs that pick up noise coming in the ear. This in turn causes your brain to turn on the tinnitus. To try and regulate fluid, the ENT prescribed Acetazolamide, which I guess is a drug used for controlling high blood pressure, but also helps with fluid retention issues.

      Over the course of a month, the tinnitus waned and finally went away, but then out of nowhere, it came back full force.

      I started researching more possible remedies for hydrops that day and came across a series of articles and studies from Japan where patients were simply instructed to drink 35ml of water per 1kg of body weight per day. There are other articles where this treatment is documented for patients with Meniere's Disease as well (a related disorder). Then I also remember the doctor stressing the importance of drinking a lot of water (but who ever follows those instructions). So, that day I started drinking at least 1 gallon of water a day. I also stopped taking the Acetazolamide because I wasn't sure it was doing anything and had nothing to lose at this point.

      The tinnitus gradually dissipated and was gone within a week and has not been back since; it's been almost a month.

      Anyway, this was a really long response to your comment, but I am hoping there is some shred of hope for you, and if you haven't tried it yet, I would suggest increasing your water intake and see what happens.

      Good Luck!
       
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