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    Old 12-20-2010, 04:19 PM   #1
    eli4jc
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    Eustachian tube dysfunction caused tinnitus

    Hi,

    I have been diagnosed with ETD about 2 months ago. I always had sinus / allergy problems ever since I was little but never ear problems until 2 months ago. Anyways, I have been on steroid nose spray and antihistamine as directed. It seems like my symptoms are not getting better fast enough. I have soft ringing and buzzing, ear popping, pressure, crackling...you name it. Anyways, has anyone ever had ETD? If then, when did the ringing go away? Did it go away slowly and gradually or all at once?
    The doctor said ringing usually goes away once the inflamation goes down. Over the last 2 weeks, it seems like ringing has toned down a little bit but it's so subtle that I can't tell if it'stoned down or I just got used to it.

    Anyone with the same experience?
    I would really appreciate your input.
    Thanks!

     
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    Old 01-18-2011, 01:05 PM   #2
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    Re: Eustachian tube dysfunction caused tinnitus

    Hi, I also was recently diagnosed with Eustachian Tube Dysfunction, after suffering a few months of tinnitus that sounded like a low-frequency, mechanical-sounding hum, followed by a commercial aircraft flight that left my ears plugged, THEN a raging middle ear infection on each side. I completed 10 days of amoxicillin to combat the infection, and am still taking Flonase and an antihistamine, which seemed to have helped the plugging...still have a feeling of pressure and fluid in the middle ears, which comes and goes. I've also had pretty much non-stop colds (allergies?) all fall and winter, so I am sure that doesn't help matters. As a child I had allergies but no ear problems or infections ever.

    The ringing is better on some days, worse on others...and can be very distracting at night when the household is quiet and I'm lying down. A white noise machine helps a great deal...although sometimes the hum of my ringing ears goes at odds with the sound of the white noise machine, and I can pick out the ringing from the masking noise, and that's really disturbing! And sometimes the ringing is so bad it's like my entire skull is ringing/pulsating, not just my ears. But if you don't use a masking device or white noise machine yet, I highly recommend one.

    To answer your question, my ear ringing started, as best I can tell, in October of 2010, and has continued to a lesser or greater extent to this day, January 18th 2011. I was told by a physician that it can take WEEKS for the eustachian tubes to normalize, but I am almost resolved to the idea that I may have tinnitus now for life. It seems like stress, caffeine, and taking in a lot of salt during the day make it MUCH worse that very night, so you might try avoiding these things and see if it helps (I haven't given up my morning coffee, but I don't go back for seconds and thirds, like I used to).

    Of course, I hope someone comes along and says their ringing disappeared...I feel for anyone going through this thing, as it has been a physical, emotional, and mental trial for me and my family.

     
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    Old 01-21-2011, 03:56 PM   #3
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    Re: Eustachian tube dysfunction caused tinnitus

    Hey there. Thought I would join the discussion.

    I just went to the doctor yesterday for a ringing I've been experiencing for a week. I have no history of allergy problems or anything of that sort... in fact I remember exactly when the ringing started.

    I was sitting at my desk, carelessly hitting the side of my head when trying to get the thinking cap working and must have cupped my ear exactly the wrong way, causing a ringing. Quite high pitched, but barely audible... only really noticeable when it's completely silent. ie, bedtime.

    Anyway, the doc didn't seem too concerned about the issue. I have Eustachian tube inflammation, apparently it's in both ears but more prominent in my left, where the ringing occurs. He gave me some nasal sprays and he seemed relatively sure that it would clear things up... I am a little worried cause though it is subtle it is SO annoying and I really hope I am not stuck with it. I'm 29 and work with film, video and sound all the time... it would be pretty disastrous if this were permanent.

    I will let you all know things if they improve.

     
    Old 01-25-2011, 11:20 AM   #4
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    Re: Eustachian tube dysfunction caused tinnitus

    I have been taking sudafed 12 hour 1x daily (not the 4 hour...that one makes me really dizzy and almost drunk-feeling!) + Flonase spray 1x daily + Neilmed saline sinus rinse 1x daily. I'm happy to report that my symptoms SEEM to be starting to turn around. My ears are more open than before, less pressure, and no more pain to speak of. The ear ringing is quiet during the day, even working in my quiet office. I'm starting to want to live life again, whereas I really withdrew during the worst of this mess.

    It is a process...sometimes one ear will be totally fine and the other closed, or vice-versa. Right now, they both feel "almost" normal.

    The ringing remains a bit of a problem. It seems like as night comes around, the ear ringing builds up to its peak, and by the time I go to bed, my whole head is ringing, humming, and buzzing from it...it's very distracting and disheartening. I would imagine it's the sudafed/Flonase finally wearing off that causes the ringing to go haywire, or maybe just exhaustion that comes at the end of the day. But sudafed has a stimulating effect on many people, and I find it hard to sleep if I take a second dose in the evening.

    Anyhow, I wanted to let you guys out there suffering know that there does seem to be light at the end of the tunnel...and yes, it can take WEEKS for the things your doctor prescribes you to begin to effect a positive change. Even when your initial cold or triggering ear infection is long gone, the havoc on the ears can keep going. Just follow the instructions provided by your doctor exactly, and don't neglect steps or medications, even for a day, or you will backslide. I took a few weeks to get going on my meds, because I thought I "didn't need them" and couldn't believe they would make a difference in my recovery. I thought this ear thing was like a cold, something that passes without extra effort. It doesn't. The idea is to get your sinuses totally clear and calmed down, and the swelling down, so the E tubes can open back up and drain back into the throat, as they normally do.

    In my Internet reading, it seems like people come onto boards to complain while their symptoms are acute, and then they never return to give us a progress report. That's scary because you wonder if anyone recovers! This report is to let you know that yes, I believe we can recover fully. We may always have a propensity now towards ETD, and will have to protect ourselves during cold and flu season.

     
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    Old 01-30-2011, 10:40 PM   #5
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    Re: Eustachian tube dysfunction caused tinnitus

    It's been almost three weeks and the ringing has not improved. I don't think the sprays are doing anything, though I have run out of the sample bottles the doc gave me and will not see him until Thursday.

    I have noticed that generally, in the mornings the sounds are less intense and its a few hours until the ringing comes back. That being said, I think there are days or times when the ringing in general is much less noticable... even in complete silence. When its hard to sleep cause of it, it drives me crazy.

    Another thing I wonder if it really is ETD that I have. Sure, the passageways were blocked according to the doc, but maybe that's not the cause. I mean, I was hit in the head right when it happened so maybe nerves got damaged? Would my hearing fluctuate if it was healing? Another thing noteworthy is that when I strain my facial muscles (make extreme expressions) the noise intensifies... does that mean I am straining my ETs?

    I made an appointment with a different specialist whom I see on Tuesday. I hope he tells me the same thing, but at the same time I hope someone just tells me what it really is. I just need to know now, this is driving me absolutely crazy.

     
    Old 01-31-2011, 10:33 AM   #6
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    Re: Eustachian tube dysfunction caused tinnitus

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by YummyMayo View Post
    I made an appointment with a different specialist whom I see on Tuesday. I hope he tells me the same thing, but at the same time I hope someone just tells me what it really is. I just need to know now, this is driving me absolutely crazy.
    I understand. A firm diagnosis and some tools to treat your problem make a world of difference. It makes you feel like you have some control and also some hope. Many doctors seem to want to blow us off. They must have never suffered from this condition themselves.

    Three doctors in a row said I have ETD, but they weren't Ears/Nose/Throat specialists, just GPs. But to their credit, they actually examined me and took a history down. I had sent an e-mail to my ENT describing what was going on with me (I had seen her last fall regarding some mild hearing loss in my right ear). And she told me over e-mail (without having seen my ears for months) that "it's starting to look more and more like Meniere's Disease." It was really devastating to get that kind of dire diagnosis over *e-mail*. I was (and am) upset about it. I don't believe I have M.D, which affects the inner ear, not the middle ear. I was close to someone who had it and was there for his attacks, and he suffered vertigo, imbalance, and nausea so bad he had to crawl to the bathroom to vomit. I'm not even dizzy! And with Meniere's, taking Sudafed and Flonase would not help. It's a whole different treatment protocol.

    It may well be that you have both something going on with your Eustachian Tubes AND a separate case of ringing caused by the damage you feel you did to yourself. My ringing seems to be a separate thing than the ETD, but they work in tandem to drive me mad. The tinnitus began months earlier, around the time I lost hearing in the high frequency range in my right ear. The ETD came in December, after an air flight drove a sinus infection into my ears. When my ears were at their most plugged, the ringing was the loudest and felt the worst. It's like the clogged E-tubes work as an amplifier, or something.

    I have no idea why, but the ringing is always mild in the morning and loudest in the evening. However, now that my ETD is almost gone, I can hardly hear the ringing, even at night.

    To continue the story of my ETD recovery, though, I will report that my E-tubes are now about 90% better. I feel almost normal. It took 48 days. Yes, 48 days straight of one or both ears plugged and a feeling of unrelenting pressure, coupled with severe tinnitus. I'll post a separate thread about that, however, in case it might help others to know what my turn-around, A-ha moment was.

     
    Old 02-09-2011, 07:29 PM   #7
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    Re: Eustachian tube dysfunction caused tinnitus

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jennifleck View Post
    I have no idea why, but the ringing is always mild in the morning and loudest in the evening. However, now that my ETD is almost gone, I can hardly hear the ringing, even at night. To continue the story of my ETD recovery, though, I will report that my E-tubes are now about 90% better. I feel almost normal. It took 48 days.
    Here's the update. I was very hopeful for a few days last week. I can say that I went a good 72 hours and experiences almost no ringing to the point I would say it was 90-95% gone. I thought I was on my way to recovery, but last night I hit another restless night of loud ringing. It was so discouraging and like a kick in the face. Especially since just a few days before the ringing started to cease, I took a hearing test and have perfect above average hearing with a minute discrepancy between ears. I am still hoping that this is a very temporary backslide and I will continue to improve in the days to come. To add to that, I would say in general it is much better for me in the mornings as well.

    The ENT told me that there "wasn't much I could do" except to continue to use the nasal sprays. One thing that may be a positive note is that when I was trying out the sample bottle of Nasonex he prescribed, that is about the time when I thought there was a change. I'm on the Omnaris now, but he gave me a prescription for the Nasonex and hopefully the continued use of that will help with the tinnitus. He said it can start to take effect as soon as two days after use.

    As of now, I haven't sought out a second opinion just yet. I delayed it due to improvements in my ear, but the ENT said that its in the inner ear, so its not too predictable what to expect. It's hard to tell if he is hopeful or not, he simply told me continued use of the spray will continue to open up my Eustachian tubes and hopefully the tinnitus will go away.

    Unfortunately right now it is still there, and was fairly bad today - though I think still not as bad as initially. I know it can take a long time to clear up, so I am trying to stay positive but it is damn difficult.

    As of tomorrow it will be 28 days.

    Last edited by YummyMayo; 02-09-2011 at 07:29 PM.

     
    Old 02-09-2011, 09:22 PM   #8
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    Re: Eustachian tube dysfunction caused tinnitus

    Hate to say it, but my ringing came back after I posted last, too. I really thought I was almost recovered and had a good run of about a week, I guess. I'd say every 3-4 nights I have a "bad night." It's an improvement, but I'd like to put this nightmare behind me and get my old ears back. You know, the same ears I had up until autumn/winter 2010.

    Still having issues with random plugging and congestion, but definitely not as bad as the run of 48 days non-stop plugged ears. I'm afraid to use afrin twice in a row, due to how physically addictive it is, but the 3 times I've used it, it caused a dramatic reversal of the feeling of congestion.

    Tonight, in particular, the humming/buzzing/waves of pressure are pretty bad, and I think worse because I'm stressed out packing for a trip. It will be more first air flight since I took the one that plugged my ears about two months ago. I'm really nervous about flying with eustachian tube dysfunction...can't back out of this trip, but may have to can future flights or figure some other way to get across the country if all this travel by air backfires.

     
    Old 02-12-2011, 02:47 PM   #9
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    Re: Eustachian tube dysfunction caused tinnitus

    Hey, hope your trip went safely. Anything new to report?

    Not much has changed on this end. I seem to think it is "less bad" but I'm pretty sure that just because I'm starting to get used to it. I "forgot" what total silence is like, though I still can experience the occasional quiet periods.

    I'm seeing a different ENT on Monday, and I am hoping he will give me some more facts than my current ENT who, more than anything, just seems to brush me off like it's no big deal.

    I know these things can take time. I'm still holding onto a teeny bit of optimism that it will just be a while. A gradual process of healing that one day will correct itself. I'm 29, I still feel too young to be getting tinnitus this early! I want silence back.

     
    Old 02-15-2011, 10:22 AM   #10
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    Re: Eustachian tube dysfunction caused tinnitus

    I'm back from my trip...a 4 hour non-stop flight on 2/10 and return flight on 2/14. I took all the steps and precautions I was told to do to fly with Eustachian Tube Dysfunction (you can find this information by searching "eustachian tube dysfunction and flying"). I even bought and used a pair of Ear Planes earplugs, following the directions on the package to the letter.

    During my business trip, I took an elevator to the 14th floor of a building. When I went back DOWN the elevator, my ears developed a sharp, stabbing pain on descent. I didn't think about protecting my ears on an elevator!

    Now home as of last night, I'd say my situation with ears is WORSE than it was before. I don't know if the flying caused a backslide, or stirred up another middle ear infection, or what. My right ear is plugged and painful, and feels full of fluid. I have not only tinnitus, but the ringing has morphed into what I can only describe as an up-and-down buzz with an electrical shock component. VERY distressing. Whereas before it was a low (but still very annoying) "diesel engine in the distance" sound, now it's something that is making it hard to think about anything else. The only way I could escape it last night was to take a prescription sleeping pill.

    Usually the ringing and pressure feels much better in the morning and gradually gets worse over the afternoon and into the night. I woke up this morning, however, and the night's sleep did not work its temporary magic.

    I'm completely fed up with the situation...I've already seen 3 doctors and an ENT, and wasted who knows how much money on lost work, gas to doctors, Sudafed, prescription nasal spray, etc., etc.

    I'm going to call the advice nurse in a few minutes. I need to know what can be done to beat this. Change the steroid nasal spray? Prednisone? PE tubes? I don't know where to go from here. What doctors don't seem to realize, or to have much sympathy for, is how this can change your life so quickly and just really consume your every waking hour.

    I feel for everyone going through a similar situation, and also wonder...has anyone gotten better from this????

    Jenni

     
    Old 02-15-2011, 04:52 PM   #11
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    Re: Eustachian tube dysfunction caused tinnitus

    I am SO sorry to hear that your problems have worsened. The frustration one goes through with having tinnitus and worsening symptoms on top of seeing different doctors and like you said time wasted... it's awful.

    To update you on my situation, I finally saw a second ENT today. Right off the bat the facilities were nicer and the staff more professional. He was much more attuned to my questions and concerns and they had equipment which showed me inside my ears and nose. Basically, I don't have ETD at all. He said he saw little evidence to support it, and my ear drums were not retracted at all. Now, maybe the nasal sprays I was given helped this clear up since I started use... but maybe not. I'll never know.

    I took some further sound tests of which I wasn't completely debriefed on, but the doctor thought that this was something that would go away on its own. Based on what happened to trigger the tinnitus, and what I thought from my own research online, it seems like I didn't quite damage anything but the pressure/sound made by the slap disrupted things near my cochlea, which is a normal occurrence for "head trauma" to the ear. I have one more test to be done next week (ABR), but he felt as though I don't need to come in to see him again for another month.

    He gave me some oral tablets to take which are supposed to help with the tinnitus and sleep. It was "up to me" because he was quite certain it would clear up, but allowed me to take them if I felt it necessary. So of course, I did. They're called MethylPREDNIsolone, in case you want to look into it.

    So that's about all I can do. I'll continue the oral tablets and nasal spray (just for good measure), and I'm taking ginkgo as well. It was a relief to hear the doctor tell me that it will go away eventually, but of course... only time will tell.

    I wish you the best in your further recovery, please keep us updated.

     
    Old 02-16-2011, 10:51 AM   #12
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    Re: Eustachian tube dysfunction caused tinnitus

    Thanks for giving us an update, YummyMayo. It makes sense that perhaps your body just needs time to heal from trauma. Fingers crossed for you...please update us and let us know how the run of methylprednisolone works.

    I went back to my doctor today and asked about trying something new and more aggressive. Since I'm not getting enough relief from the nasal sprays, etc, she started me a 21 day course of antibiotics, hopefully to kick any remaining infection to the curb and clear my ears. She also started me on a course of prednisone, which is in the same family of corticosteroids as the drug you were prescribed.

    A word of caution: I had to take prednisone years ago for a different health issue, and it can have some really wonky emotional side effects. I remember feeling very on edge and panicky. So just keep that in mind if you feel edgy, irritable, or panicky, and stay strong...it's probably the med, and is a totally temporary thing. (I'm also reminding myself about the side effects, in case I forget!)

    I'll post an update after I've given the new meds a chance to work.

     
    Old 03-01-2011, 07:22 PM   #13
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    Re: Eustachian tube dysfunction caused tinnitus

    Well, the results of my ABR test (for my left ear) were "irregular" so this probably goes a lot deeper than I initially thought. Long story short, I do have some prior medical issues that were closely followed when I was a child that seemed like nothing but now may be the underlying cause of this. Going to have a CT scan in a couple weeks to see if this is indeed the case.

    I guess I can say, in general, it seems like the ringing has lessened - or at least it has been less noticeable. I think it had nothing to do with ETD at all, and possibly even the impact of the slap to the ear wouldn't have had this kind of effect if not for the pre-existing conditions.

    It's really discouraging to realize I am probably stuck with it, but at least it is more tolerable now - whether it is actually fading or if it is just me getting used to it. I wish this wasn't the case, but I've dealt with complicated health issues my entire life so I guess this shouldn't surprise me.

    Hope you have better news.

     
    Old 03-03-2011, 09:46 AM   #14
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    Re: Eustachian tube dysfunction caused tinnitus

    Mixed news to report on this end. I am still taking a 21-day course of antibiotics to hopefully clear any fluid or infection remaining in the middle ear. I did finish my prednisone taper this weekend. I think the prednisone was helping. I was feeling much better in terms of SOME of the symptoms I was experiencing (clogged ears, constantly needing to pop ears) but with the end of the prednisone, I feel this morning like the improvement in my ears has backslid somewhat. Today I am having random clogging, a feeling of fluid and congestion, happening in both ears intermittently. I'm so terrified my ears are going to plug again and be closed like they were for 48 days straight recently.

    If I were a dog, I'd be shaking my head constantly, I think. It feels like water in the ears, the sensation.

    The ringing has...changed. It's NOT improved...if anything, it is worse. Before it was a low frequency, fluctuating hum that was so mild that I thought it was (at first) a generator running outside somewhere in the distance, or the sound of trains. Now it's most definitely situated in my right ear, deep inside, like deep in the skull, and the sound most nights lately has been VERY loud and distracting. Sometimes it sounds like humming, sometimes almost like the bells at the close of the stock market.

    I have a lot of trouble sleeping, and this is made worse because I gave up a sleep aid (generic ambien) recently as I found out it can be ototoxic...I don't want to be doing anything that can further harm my ears. This also confuses the issue, as I have read many accounts of people going OFF ambien that are experiencing the exact same ear issues/dysfunction as I have as part of the side effects of discontinuing the drug. And these side effects can last up to a year...or longer. So is all this an ambien issue?

    During the day, I'm able to tune out the ear noise much of the time, but if I allow myself to notice it, it's there. There's even an unpleasant pressure/buzzing/vibrating sensation in the head that goes with the sound. I try to stay distracted. It's definitely always LOUDER at night. I don't understand this common tinnitus phenomenon, as I can have background noise at night and hear it, or be in a quiet room in the day and hardly hear it.

    My primary care physician has not addressed my two e-mails requesting another referral to a second ENT for a second opinion. I haven't actually had any ENT look into my ears since before the acute symptoms came on in December...I feel like this is a situation that requires a specialist.

    I wish I had better news to report...sometimes things start to feel more normal, but it seems like a steep climb back to health and the ears I had before October of 2010.

    YummyMayo, I also have had some (unrelated?) health issues over the years. A few mild congenital skeletal issues and some kind of auto-immune disorder that harms my platelets. It definitely doesn't help keep the situation clear for me in my mind, and doctors have thus far been not very interested or helpful in my case.

     
    Old 03-03-2011, 11:55 AM   #15
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    Re: Eustachian tube dysfunction caused tinnitus

    Hi there,

    You guys seem to be suffering from a similar thing as me, so i thought i'd share... I have been having problems sleeping due to a constant ringing in my ears at night. I went to the doctor, and she told me I have a Eustachian Tube Dysfunction, but i dont have the clogged feeling that usually comes with ETD, just the ringing. I can hear just fine, I dont feel too congested (although the doctor said I was), and i dont have any pain except for a sore throat, but that started a couple days ago, so im not sure if its related. Other than that, the only symptom i have is the ringing. I was prescribed Fluticasone Proprionate, and Clariton. I have been taking them for about a month now, but nothing has changed. Do you think i was diagnosed correctly? From what it sounds like, going to and ENT is a hassle, so im trying to do whatever i can to get rid of this awful ringing before resorting to an ENT doctor. My ringing is sometimes like white noise, sometimes a high pitch ringing, and often gets louder and softer when im trying to sleep. I spend a ton of time around loud drumming, but when i did a hearing test i had perfect hearing, so it isnt that...

     
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