What Caused My New Low-Pitched Vibrating Hum? Should I See an ENT and Try Steroids?

Discussion in 'Support' started by SaraK18, Sep 19, 2022.

    1. SaraK18

      SaraK18 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sound exposure
      Hi,

      I'm sorry to write that, the last couple of days, I have had a new tone in my right ear.

      I am trying to figure out why this happened. I have had high pitched tinnitus and hyperacusis from an acoustic trauma 2 years ago (and a worsening of it from another loud-ish sound one year ago). I was getting a lot better. Ringing much quieter, hyperacusis was almost unnoticeable. I have been trying to do everything right. I had peace of mind for the most part.

      And then Friday night I went to sleep on my right side, and woke up about an hour later with a low-pitched vibrating hum in my right ear. Like a motor running. It was still there the next morning, and today is Monday and it is still there. The volume fluctuates. Seems worse in the morning. Barely noticeable during the day. I think that's a good sign. I have had this sound very briefly over the last year, but it always went away after a couple of minutes. I always attributed it to jaw tension or something. I am super anxious and depressed. I also have a slightly stuffy feeling in my right ear and some wetness when I wake up in the morning. I typically have had some wetness since the initial injury, but maybe this is more?

      Any opinions on if I should see an ENT? Generally, audiologists have not helped me at all. But this feels like new territory. And if it is from a sound injury, I want to try steroids. I have not taken them in the past, but maybe that was a mistake and it could have saved me years of suffering.

      Here are the things that happened leading up to this hum in the right ear:
      1. Partner kissed my hand and it made a loud sound about 8 inches from my head a few hours before this started.
      2. I smiled with a foam earplug in the day before and heard a "pop" in the right ear - the earplug popped out of its suction when I moved my face.
      3. I am studying for a huge exam - so I was having lots of shoulder and neck tightness plus probably added stress.
      4. I used the LLLT (Low-Level Laser Therapy) on my ears a little longer than I normally do about an hour before this started (still, it was a very tiny dose of laser).
      I know these things are all pretty minor, but I'm trying to piece this together to determine if steroids would help me. If it is just from stress or something, I will forego the audiologist. I will say that in the past, my ears have gotten messed up from sounds that don't seem to be that THAT loud. I think I have very sensitive ears.

      As a side note, my older brother is having similar issues with his ears after an alarm went off near him. I wonder if I have a genetic weakness in the ears.

      Thanks for reading all my ramblings. Wisdom and advice appreciated.

      X
       
    2. Johan82

      Johan82 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Infection or noise
      I also had that humming sound before. It didn't bother me at all because it was only noticeable when I was in bed at night with my ear on the pillow. I didn't call it tinnitus. After some months I really got tinnitus.

      My first guess is that this humming sound comes from fluid behind your eardrum. It's called otitis media with effusion. Did you catch a cold or middle ear infection? Maybe you have a problem with Eustachian tubes, causing the ear fullness? So no worries.

      I would go to your GP or ENT to check you ears. I would definitely not be anxious or worried about this minor sound. Although it's unusual, and I know people with tinnitus are on high alert about their ears and sounds.

      I wouldn't think about steroids like Prednisone for now. Only when there is an acoustic trauma or infection and your tinnitus is spiking. Prednisone can cause a lot of side effects.

      A nose spray, on the other hand, could help, or Neti pot, etc.

      About the possible causes you mentioned, the first two are not the culprit.

      Stress can exacerbate tinnitus (but I have never experienced a humming sound from stress), and maybe tension in your jaw, neck and ear muscles could be the culprit. I don't know if LLLT could be the culprit.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      SaraK18

      SaraK18 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sound exposure
      @Johan82, thank you! I don't have a cold or anything but I did wake up slightly congested Saturday morning which was right after this occurred.

      Maybe it's more allergy or inflammation...
       
    4. Johan82

      Johan82 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Infection or noise
      Yes, I think you have to search the culprit in that direction. Congestion or inflammation.

      But it's OK to visit your GP or ENT to check your ears. And let me know ;)
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    5. Ben Winders
      Pensive

      Ben Winders Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic
      IMHO it has nothing to do with congestion or inflammation. If you have pre-existing tinnitus or hyperacusis, look in that direction for the cause of your low frequency tinnitus.

      I had the exact same happen. I had tinnitus and hyperacusis, then one night 2.5 years ago I was sleeping on my right side and the motor-noise began.

      My opinion is that it's just damage, same damage that is causing our other tinnitus and hyperacusis.

      Dr. De Ridder and all the other specialists have no clue what is causing the low humming tinnitus, but congestion and inflammation probably is not it (unless you are very, very lucky).

      Search for "low frequency tinnitus" on this forum - you'll find many other people with the same issue, almost none of them caused by inflammation or congestion.

      Sorry to be the bearer of crap news, probably not what you wanted to hear.
       
    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      SaraK18

      SaraK18 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sound exposure
      @Ben Winders, it’s OK. I know this is a possibility. When this happened to you, was it caused by any loud sound or new damage? Did it just happen randomly? I’m wondering if steroids would be helpful. Definitely not something I want to take unless absolutely necessary.

      I had a Tele consult with an audiologist and he thought it was from my neck getting cramped up when I was studying for this exam. I pray.
       
    7. DebInAustralia
      No Mood

      DebInAustralia Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Advocate

      Location:
      Geelong, Victoria
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      I've had that engine noise for years alongside my surround sound high frequency head hissing... it's mostly only noticeable at night. I feel it as well. I try not to focus on it. Certainly doesn't interfere with my quality of life like this current worsening does. I ddon't know what causes it.
       
    8. Ben Winders
      Pensive

      Ben Winders Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic
      Lol yeah, it's in the ENT handbook because they don't understand low frequency tinnitus: "in case of low frequency tinnitus > tell the patient it's probably neck related and send them home."

      I've had 3 ENTs in 3 countries tell me the exact same thing.

      One of them (in one of the most renown University Hospitals in the world) told me: you are one of the lucky ones (of his tinnitus patients) as yours will go away because it is neck/muscle related, this cannot be from noise damage. 2.5 years later I'm lucky to still be alive. He couldn't have been more wrong.

      It's so obvious it's not neck or TMJ, just damage/tinnitus, but it is rare, so I guess we can't really blame ENTs.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      SaraK18

      SaraK18 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sound exposure
      @DebInAustralia, did yours start randomly or was there a clear cause?

      @Ben Winders, in Chinese medicine they say low frequency tinnitus is due to kidney deficiency. My right ear also feels a little plugged, and sometimes has feeling of heat or cold. Have you had any of those symptoms?
       
    10. Jonnie
      Happy

      Jonnie Member

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @SaraK18, while I can't offer any solutions as I am a new tinnitus sufferer, I just want to share that I came across one of your messages to @JoeBattams from back in the day, and found it inspiring. Keep up the good fight, as your words and actions give others hope!

      My tinnitus sounds have also been changing lately, so I can definitely relate with the anxiety :(

      Just re-sharing things wonderful folks like yourself have shared on these forums:

      - Tinnitus spikes can/will happen, but it will get better (you managed acclimating before, you'll be able to do it again).

      - Be compassionate and patient with yourself; don't blame yourself for things you did or didn't do.

      - Find ways to calm/address the anxiety, whether through holistic healing, CBT, etc. since the anxiety itself can exacerbate the issue and feed on itself.

      I hope that things calm down for you and you're able to find a bit of peace. Good luck on your exam!

      @Johan82, I recently caught COVID-19 (while being a new tinnitus sufferer), and have noticed my ear pressure have been a bit all over the place. As of a couple days ago, I felt my left ear get a sort of hissing sound, like air being let out or a ventilated echoy room. I also noticed that when I put my left ear on a pillow, I notice humming more. Do you think this can be a sign of "otitis media with effusion" like you mentioned?
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    11. benjd2016
      Irritated

      benjd2016 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      May
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Get on steroids ASAP. That full feeling is a sign of hearing loss and it obviously came on suddenly.

      Please get help FAST. Time runs out on this shit.
       
    12. Sammy0225

      Sammy0225 Member

      Location:
      Texas
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      COVID-19, ear infection, stress
      Hi! I have this humming too!

      Sounds like a car approaching in the distance. But there is no car.
       
    13. benjd2016
      Irritated

      benjd2016 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      May
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      If this appears suddenly, then yes, it could indicate something serious. I would take a short course of steroids just in case it is anything serious. They should help to clear it up but, as with anything involving steroids, they won't always work. But they are worth a try.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    14. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      SaraK18

      SaraK18 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sound exposure
      Hey everyone I think I missed a bunch of responses on here so sorry about that and thank you for all of your responses!

      An update on that sound in my right ear: it went away. I will get it rarely if I’m really stressed out but it’s mostly gone now. I’m not sure how long it took to go away. Maybe a month or two? I had been studying for an exam and my neck and upper back were super tight and ended up getting quite painful. I think it might’ve been connected to muscle tension for me.
       
    15. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      SaraK18

      SaraK18 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sound exposure
      @Jonnie, how are you feeling now? I hope your symptoms have improved. Thank you for the kind message, the support on this forum is nice :)
       
      • Friendly Friendly x 1
    16. Jonnie
      Happy

      Jonnie Member

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hi @SaraK18, I'm really glad to hear the intrusive sound has subsided for you, and welcome back to Tinnitus Talk!

      Overall, my situation has improved significantly since last fall. The tinnitus is still there, but I have many more good days than bad. With a bit of help from Mirtazapine for sleep, I'm able to live a pretty normal life now. I started a new job, moved back out on my own, and am getting involved in many activities. :rockingbanana:

      Here's hoping that when I hit the 1-year mark, it may go away altogether.
       
      • Like Like x 2
    17. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      SaraK18

      SaraK18 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sound exposure
      @Jonnie, that's great news! Keep healing :)
       
      • Friendly Friendly x 1
    18. Matchbox
      Wishful

      Matchbox Member

      Location:
      BC Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced, Prednisone (drones), Barotrauma (distortions)
      How long did it take?

      Don't count hydrops or otosclerosis out, especially if you recently were pregnant.
       
    19. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      SaraK18

      SaraK18 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sound exposure
      It took a month or two to resolve. It comes back occasionally if I am very stressed. I recently had a head cold and it came back then, but resolved when my congestion cleared up.

      I wondered about hydrops in the past, especially closer to the acoustic trauma because my ears would have a "wet" sound when I got up from a pillow or even feel a little wet inside. That cleared up as my ears healed but will occasionally resurface if my ears are irritated. From what I read it can be part of the sequelae of acoustic trauma.

      It's hard to say what that sound was for sure, maybe a combo of factors but I think neck tightness/jaw clenching was a component, if not the cause.
       
      • Hug Hug x 2
    20. Jon R.

      Jon R. Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2001 & then again in 2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      1st tone 2001 ear plugs, 3 other tones 2021 Pfizer vaccine
      Interesting. About 15 or so years ago I got the low rumbling truck engine ticking over on idle sound when I used a foam earplug to block out a neighbour's dog barking at 6 am every day. That noise then used to only come out for a month or so when I was sick with a cold. I would do everything to avoid colds as I knew it would come back for a month every time. Then fast forward 13 years and I had the COVID-19 jab and the noise came back permanently and I got 2 new tones, including reactive tinnitus and it has now been with me permanently for 2 years. Not sure what has happened. Sounds like you are in the stage I was years ago. I so wish we had an answer.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    21. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      SaraK18

      SaraK18 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sound exposure
      I'm so sorry to hear that. I know a lot of people who have had adverse effects from the COVID-19 vaccination, especially those with autoimmune or pre-existing inflammatory conditions.

      It might not be permanent for you. Are you doing anything to decrease inflammation in your body? You might consider seeing a holistic practitioner, specifically one who has treated people for adverse reactions to vaccines.
       
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