What's Happening? I Hear a Very Faint High-Pitch Noise

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by CCM, Jan 17, 2021.

    1. CCM

      CCM Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hi everyone, first time posting. I'm 19 and just moved into college dorm.

      So last Saturday, January 9th, I went to bed and my left ear started beeping very loudly. It lasted the entire night and the next day was better, no more loud beeping, just soft tones in the one ear (don't really know how to describe it - chimes?).

      I've spent most of the week crying and focusing on it, and since Saturday my anxiety has been at an all time high. It's been fading which I'm taking as a good sign. There are times that even when I plug my ears I can't hear it but those times don't seem to last long.

      Now, it's kind of like a very very faint high pitch that is so faint that I can hardly tell it's there but I'm very much aware of it. I know a lot of people here will say that's good - and it is, most likely - but it's driving me insane and I can't stand it. It's also come to the point that I keep expecting it to pop up into my right ear, enough to the point that there's almost an anticipatory feeling in my body and ear. There has been the occasional little chime in the right ear but never more than half a second.

      Prior to all this, I only ever had fleeting tinnitus (the high pitched ringing lasting only a few seconds) which was perfectly fine and normal. The only things I can think of that caused this is stress and/or noise exposure. Stress-wise, I just moved into a college dorm by myself during COVID-19, and this week has been so stressful because I've been so anxious and depressed over this new tinnitus thing. I had a week-long road trip where I used my AirPods at maybe 60-70% volume for hours (perhaps around 6-7 hours/day). I did not notice anything after the road trip, though.

      For two weeks following my road trip I listened to music/YouTube through wired earbuds on my computer on 40-60 percent volume for a majority of the day (didn't really take note of how long - most probably longer than road trip, albeit lower volume). Still didn't notice any tinnitus or anything those two weeks.

      The day right after those two weeks is the night I had the beeping.

      I haven't been to any concerts or band practice or the like.

      I'm trying to be positive but I don't know what to do. I don't know what an audiologist or ENT can tell me. I have preexisting hearing loss from birth (moderate-severe) and already couldn't register very high pitches on an audiogram.

      Please help or give success stories. I don't think I can stand this being permanent.
       
    2. Midmar

      Midmar Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      Hi there,

      First off, things got a whole lot better for me. I could have written your exact post three years ago (almost to the day!). I was also nineteen and had just gone back to college after my winter break. In the middle of the night I awoke to a very high pitched beeping in my right ear. I immediately freaked out and slept with a fan on for the first time. The beeping continued for the next few days and eventually spread to my left ear. I went to doctors, had hearing tests done and did everything that I could. Nobody could give me a cause or ideas for treatment. I felt that I was going absolutely crazy because I had a very loud and real noise in my head. The worst part was that no doctor could measure this sound or identify it through a test. The noise was only in my head, apparently. That did not seem likely! I could still hear it.

      The next few months were really hard. I learned to sleep with a white noise machine, and continued to obsess over the smallest change in the tones/sounds. I compared each ear and spent many sleepless nights on this forum and reading worst case scenarios. I spent several miserable months living with extreme anxiety as a result of my tinnitus. I avoided listening to music, going to parties or concerts (mind you, this was long before the coronavirus!) or spending time in loud public places. My friends and boyfriend learned to only play music or watch movies on a low level when I was around. It got to the point where the sounds would spike my anxiety, which in turn only made the tinnitus worse. It was this awful cycle.

      In May of 2018 I reached breaking point. I found that stress only made the sounds louder and I also became extremely sensitive to everyday noises, such as traffic. After not sleeping for almost a week, the sounds became deafening. I became convinced that I could not go on living like that and felt that I would do something drastic if the tinnitus did not stop. I was lucky to be able to call a family member to help me. My aunt took me straight to urgent care (this took place in the US, so the context is region-specific) where I was prescribed Xanax for my anxiety and some other medications to get me to sleep. These medications helped dull the tinnitus for the first time in months. I got through my finals and went to see a doctor for long-term medications. I started a course of Zoloft (Sertraline) to help with my anxiety. In addition to the medication, I was fitted with specialized hearing aids. These hearing aids played white noise constantly and helped to drown out the tinnitus. The hearing aids also solved some hearing issues that I had developed (and also improved some existing hearing issues) as a result of the tinnitus.

      I wore the hearing aids for almost two years and continued my medications. I developed hyperacusis as a result of my tinnitus, and this problem was solved by the hearing aids. Although the hearing aids and medication did not make the tinnitus go away entirely, the sounds became much easier to deal with. I eventually learned how to "habituate" my sounds. Habituating basically means that you learn how to "tune out" the sounds. It may sound impossible, but it does sometimes happen.

      I would like to reiterate that my case was relatively mild. I have read some very difficult accounts on here, but I wanted to give you my perspective as your experience sounded very similar to mine. I still have tinnitus, it has not gone away. It has changed somewhat, and the tones are definitely softer than they used to be. The only thing that ended up changing was the role that the tinnitus played in my life. For a long time it was the absolute bane of my existence. Now, things are very different. I graduated from university last year and am now halfway through a master´s program. I live with my longterm boyfriend and will be starting my dream job in the next few months. I have been able to travel, see friends, and experience many things even with this problem. There have been some changes. For example, I now only use over-ear headphones. The doctor recommended that I only use these headphones as inner-ear buds are worse for your hearing. I avoid extremely loud environments (concerts, some parties) to prevent the tinnitus from getting worse.

      The main point is that at some point, things got a lot better for me. I stopped wearing the hearing aids after a while, and was able to manage my tinnitus-related anxiety. Now, my tinnitus is one of my smallest problems. I have other health and family issues that take up more of my time. Things are not perfect, but they are a hundred times better. I learned some interesting things from developing this condition, but have most importantly learned to manage it.

      Things can get better. It is very likely that they will change, and you will be okay. When you first develop tinnitus, it really can seem like the end of the world. The first week is the worst. I recommend that you do not set any time limits for yourself (ex. if I still have it after three months then...). Instead, try to take it a day at a time. My tinnitus always gets worse when I am particularly anxious. Tinnitus can´t always be treated, but anxiety can. If you can manage your anxiety, the tinnitus will sometimes get a lot better. Things are different for everyone, but I truly believe that you will be okay.

      If you have any questions or would like to chat, you can always PM me. Good luck, and hang in there. Things will get better from here.
       
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