New to tinnitus, need help, have lots of questions, sorry for long post
Hello, I am new here. I seem to have started suffering from tinnitus. I am very upset and emotional, I am going from being mildly high to very low. I have tons of questions, I am freaking out. Since I am new to this, I do not know which message board to post this message on so I will post it all over the place (do not be surprised if you read an exact same post from me on a different board). Also, English is not my first language, so please bear with me. It will be a long post (sorry), please read it all and HELP me if you can, I am getting desperate a little. TL;DR at the end for those who do not want to read the whole thing.
About a month ago, I started hearing what sounding like small bubbles piercing while I was talking, mainly at the end of a sentence. I would also feel it when I would blow air out hard of my mouth. Before, I would only feel that when I swallowed. I went to my ENT and she said it was most likely ETD (Eustachian Tube Dysfunction) and she prescribed a nasal spray (Fluticasone Propionate). About 5 days later, I started hearing a “noise” in my ears (mostly on the left side I think). It’s the same noise you hear temporarily after you went to a concert where the music was very loud. I can also compare it to the continuous sound of a fluorescent light, or to the continuous sound of a fridge, or to the sound of the upstairs neighbor’s shower. It’s mainly flat, with slight pitchy variations. I also think of it as a “radio wave”. The day after it started I had already an appointment scheduled with my primary care physician and I told her about the noise, she said it was most likely tinnitus and she gave me a referral to see an audiologist for a hearing loss test. She also told me to go back to my ENT. My appointment with the audiologist is only in a few days (about 7 days after the “noise” started), and I was thinking I should wait until I see the audiologist before going to see the ENT (the primary care physician said sending me to the audiologist “would had been the first thing the ENT would have done anyway”).
But as days went by, I am growing more and more concerned. I honestly cannot tell if the “noise” is louder since it’s started, I think it is but it could be because I think about it constantly. It is better when I lay down and it does not prevent me from sleeping. The “noise” gets more pitchy when I open my mouth, or when I shift my head to the left. When I yawn the “noise” intensifies like a passage way is being enlarged, but while it should shut close after I stop yawning, in my case it remains slightly open. I also “Googled” a lot about it. My girlfriend is saying that I am getting obsessed with it. The thought that this noise could remain in my head for the rest of my life really upsets me. I already thought of THE final “way out” (if you know what I mean) – as a very last option of course.
I am also very nauseous and I have very little appetite. I recently started taking Celexa for my anxiety (not originally related to my ETD/tinnitus but I now read that SSRI’s are good for tinnitus) and apparently one of the side effects is lack of appetite. But I also read that tinnitus itself can cause nausea. Not sure if I should continue with the Celexa (I read somewhere that Xanax would be a better SSRI for tinnitus).
I read online that there are many different causes for tinnitus, and I do “qualify” for many of them):
• I have a history of ear infections (but I have not had one in more than a year), as well as a history of TMJ disorder (I saw specialists but never worn “appliances”, instead a physical therapist showed me an exercise that “taught” my lower jaw to move forward when I open and close my mouth, that stopped all the TMJ “clicking” but it may have had undesirable long term effects).
• I also lost a massive amount of weight (more than a quarter of my total weight, going from 218 to 158) in less than a year. I also started doing regular exercises during that time which I did not do before. I read somewhere that it could have caused a form of ETD called “Patulous Eustachian tube”, but it usually comes with “autophony” ("bucket on the head" effect) and I do not have that. But I still suspect my sudden weight loss has a role to play. I would like to try to get some weight back, but thanks to the tinnitus and/or the Celexa I am taking, I have no appetite at all and eat very little right now, which add to my despair.
• I also read that caffeine can cause tinnitus, I have been drinking 2 to 4 cups of coffee a day for the past 8 years.
• I also heard aspirin can cause tinnitus. I have been taking a “baby aspirin” (Ecotrin) daily for several years (for my heart).
• I have also been eating more sweets in the past few months, mainly chocolate and I read that chocolate could cause tinnitus.
• I also have been swimming a lot in the past year, while listening to loud music from a waterproof iPod. Could the partly under water noise have caused tinnitus? Or simply the water?
• Finally, about 3 days before the “noise” started I scratched what I thought is the eardrum in my right ear with a Q-tip (I slipped while holding the Q-tip in the ear). It was slightly bleeding for a while. My primary care physician saw a scab inside the ear, I told her at the time it was just a scratch but maybe it is the source of the “noise”? But it did not come with hearing loss or severe pain (just a little pain and I used some left over drops from past prescriptions for ear infections as a safety precaution to curb any developing infection).
I will stop here for now. Sorry for the long post. Thank you SO MUCH in advance for ANY help ANYBODY can provide me.
TL;DR: I am very anxious and upset. What caused my tinnitus (TMJ disorder, ear infections, weight loss, caffeine, chocolate, aspirin, swimming, loud music in water, scratch on eardrum)? What can I do to make it go away.