This may be a bit long but I'm new here and was just wondering if anyone else has experienced something similar.
On October 14th 2006 (just a few days short of my 21st birthday) I woke up with tinnitus in my left ear and a hearing loss. I also had a rash on my hands, feet and on the roof of my mouth which was described as vascular bleeding under my skin. I was tested for hand foot and mouth disease, vasculitis, and a few other things, all of which came back negative. At the time I went to about 7 different doctors before any of them would look past the odd rash (which lasted about 6 weeks) and focus on the fact that I could not hear properly in the one ear. I eventually got a referral to an audiologist, who determined that I have a moderate conductive hearing loss which effects low and normal pitched sounds (I was hypersensitive to high pitched sounds for quite a while as well but that seems to have evened out). Awhile later, after not being able to get a doctor to refer me to an ENT specialist (my family doctor kept on just giving me nose spray and telling me to pop my ears), I found one myself. Unfortunately, ENTs that do not require referrals prove to not be very helpful. I had a few more hearing tests done, all with consistent results to the first one. I also had an MRI where the results were never fully explained to me but he muttered something along the lines of it being ok (my family doctor is now currently in the process of getting the results to that). After a few canceled appointments with my ENT (I would drive across the city and show up only to find out that he was not there), I got fed up and went back to my family doctor a little over a week ago. He ran a ton of blood work (it all came back fine) and sent me home with nasonex and hydrochlorothiazide. I was told that the HCT may reduce the tinnitus (I'm assuming it is maybe a guess and check for Meniere's disease even though my symptoms don't really seem to match up) and I'm beginning to think that my doctor just likes nose spray. I took it for about a week and the ringing got slightly quieter but was still there. It made me feel like absolute garbage though. I was fatigued, felt heavy headed, nauseous, dizzy, and all around useless. Because of that, I stopped taking it yesterday and the tinnitus is quite loud tonight but I feel a lot more energetic. My doctor is apparently now going to find me a new ENT and seems to finally be sort of listening to all of my concerns. I have been quite worried about this as I am a nursing student and am starting my clinical in a week so am worried that it will affect my ability to hear and understand patients. I have a lot of trouble with background noise and low pitched voices.
The tinnitus in my ear also changes pitches quite frequently. I can get used to it for the moment, but as soon as it changes pitches it is very apparent (it changes pitches at least once a day but sometimes multiple times an hour).
I was just wondering if anyone here has experienced anything similar with the sudden hearing loss and tinnitus and maybe what some of the trials and tribulations are that you guys went through or how you cope with it on a day to day basis!
I'm 24 now and I think I can testify as to what it's like to go through intense tinnitus. I've written this a few times over multiple posts on this forum but here it goes again.
I was on vacation with a friend from college and his family at their shore rental apartment in July of 2007. During the last 2 nights that me and my buddy went out drinking, we tried out this bar that we were told was the best place to go, and so we did. The first night was alot of fun and the club was really hopping, we were there probably close to 3-4 hours or so. The next morning came and went and everything seemed just like a normal vacation. Come the next night, and the last night of our trip I wanted to go to back to the same place but my buddy decided to go on his own to another place we had hung out earlier that week. So I was at the same club 2 nights in a row for both 3-4 hours each time. But this club was definitely the loudest I had ever been in. The floor literally shook from the bass and the 2 walls of speakers were about 10 feet off the dance floor.
Later the next morning as we're packing up, his aunt/uncle come in to the apartment to unpack as we're packing for their turn for a week. As I tried talking to his uncle I was like 3 feet away from him and couldn't understand what he was saying, in a quiet room. I didn't know it at the time but the ringing must of been unbearable and I didn't realize it.
The drive home was ok, but by the time I got home and spent the next 2-3 days by myself over the weekend the ringing was so intense, I could not take it. Work that week and the following week were unbearable. It was consuming me with fear/distress/anxiety 24/7 and I was losing alot of sleep over it. I went to see my family doctor and he said to give it 3-4 days to see if it resides and so I did to no avail. I then got a referral to an ENT around here and he suggested that I had Tinnitus as well, and gave me some sleeping pills as well.
The first month was the worst month physically and emotionally of my life. I didn't want to go anywhere or do anything because it was all I could think about. I then purchased some gingko biloba from a website that seemed reputable and having taken it for about 4 months or less, I think it has gotten alot better then.
I just started a new temporary job in December and the 1st week for some reason, in this quiet office with a bunch of employees, the ringing came back the first and entire week. I was thinking, "Oh no, don't let this happen again, please". Since I believe that this is what led to my downfall at my old under-paid job the last month or so when I got back from my vacation.
After the 1st week at my new job I tried not to think about the symptoms at all over the weekend and by the next Monday I was alot better and felt completely healed.
I now believe that my Tinnitus is sparked more so by stress related symptoms than anything else. I know that the hair particles in my ears my have been damaged on the cochlear part of the inner ear, but stress of thinking that it won't get better is what actually fuels the fire. Putting your mind on something else, for me at least, can definitely make miracles seem possible.
I've read books from people's encounter's with Tinnitus and the author suggests that infact if you are actually consumed in concentrating on something with your brain (work, homework, movies, games, hobbies) that you indeed do not recognize the Tinnitus going on, even if it is there.
I'm just lucky not to have the Tinnitus at a such a severe level that I once made it seem to be, that I became dizzy while walking around in a pet store at one point. When it comes down to it, I believe the game is 80%+ stress related and maybe 10-20% related on physically damaging your inner ear organs. For example, just last night I tried sleeping without any sleeping pills, or any outside stimuli to occupy my hearing (such as a cd player playing ocean waves, nature songs, or any of the 3 fish tanks we had in our room at one point) and I felt fine the entire night and slept the entire way through it despite waking up from a really bad dream.
If you're as interested as I am in this subject of hearing disorders, I would suggest searching the internet for information on The American Tinnitus Association based in Portland, Oregon. They have alot of details as well as up to date research going on in the world of Tinnitus that is affecting more and more Americans and people around the world everyday. (30% of our American troops are said to be coming home with the symptoms of Tinnitus from loud guns, shells, bombs going off near them without protection.)
Everytime I visit their website, I am encouraged by the fact that research is progressing at a faster and faster rate every year. It's even to the point where one research team has been able to "give" Tinnitus to rats and then relieve them by not giving them anymore salt/saline? injections. Another team has been able to produce the beginnings of being able to reproduce hair cells on their own. This is definitely a huge step to me, as I think that most cases of T are results of damaging tiny hairs that cause the person to hear a phantom ring that other people cannot perceive because the synapses in your inner are are firing off signals that it's not receiving in the first place from the broken hair cells.
I know this is long and winded, but I am very passionate about this now ever since I came down with it. But I think that there will be a cure, if not, a remedy that really disables the different sounds that people seem to hear on and off throughout the day/week/year.