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    Old 03-18-2004, 08:25 AM   #1
    Bean1008
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    Horrible Tinnitus, hearing loss....

    Hi gang!

    Longtime lurker here...looking for answers. I've been at my wit's end the last few days. Here's my story.

    Novemer 30, 2001 I was knocked on the floor by intense vertigo. Was accompanied by sudden severe hearing loss and occasional tinnitus...all in my right ear. I was down for about 10 days and slowly recovered but was off work for 45 days. I saw an ENT, Neurologist and had balance tests. Had an MRI then and another 2 years later, have seen 2 more ENT's, a new Neurologist, have had vestibular rehab and after reading this board saw a Neurotologist. Since the onset 2 1/2 years ago I've been diagnosed with Vestibular neuritis and recently possibly Menieres.

    Thankfully the horrible headfog/dizziness thing went away about one year ago so I thought I was improving. That was until last week. Thursday night my bad ear began feeling quite full and my hearing essentially disappeared completely. Had an audiogram yesterday that confirmed this. The sounds I hear (when greatly amplified) are distorted...the voice of the audiologist sounded like a screeching scratchy-voiced chipmunk. I'd always hoped that a hearing aid might provide relief but when I heard how far gone and distorted my hearing was I became quite discouraged and depressed.

    The last few days the tinnitus that came with the hearing loss has been horrible. It came on with the new hearing loss last week. It's horribly loud and seems to be affected by both muscle movement in my temple and also by applying pressure to the ear canal. When tightening the muscles in my temple by blinking hard or by closing my eyes it causes a loud ring that fades the instant I stop squeezing the muscle. Mind you, I have a constant ringing right now, quite loud, that intensifies when I do this. Are you familiar with the Valsalva method of clearing your ears by holding your nose and blowing? If I do this the tinnitus lessens but the moment I let go it returns.

    I'm so frustrated right now...yesterday after hearing that screeching chipmunk through the headphone sent me to a new low. I was crying on the phone when my partner called to see how the test went. My Neurotologist has referred me to a Rheumotologist and I'm seeing him today. Great...I have to tell my story one more time to another doctor that won't be able to figure out what is wrong with me. I'm sure you all can probably relate.

    My self-diagnosis...I'm certain that it's somehow related to a muscle pressing on an auditory nerve (Vascular Compression Syndrome?) but noone seems to listen. Otherwise why would my tinnitus increase like it does when I bend over, yawn, cough or swallow?

    The last few days I've been considering surgery to have them take the ear off-line...to disconnect it. I don't think I can live the rest of my life listening to this constant ringing! I'm normally a very positive, upbeat person and am not taking any medications whatsoever. I just needed to vent a little. If anyone has any suggestions or treatment ideas I'd love to hear them. I've had it!
    Steve

    Last edited by Bean1008; 03-18-2004 at 08:27 AM.

     
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    Old 03-18-2004, 12:47 PM   #2
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    Cool Re: Horrible Tinnitus, hearing loss....

    Steve

    ......"last few days I've been considering surgery to have them take the ear off-line...to disconnect it. I don't think I can live the rest of my life listening to this constant ringing!".....

    There are prob four or five "centers of excellence" in this area---others will claim to be---but in reality are not. Think I would make sure that I had the information from at least one of them---before deciding to go forwarded with

    "take the ear off-line...to disconnect it."

    One of the Centers is Northwestern Univ---some info from there:

    Surgery:

    Unlike some of the other treatments discussed here, surgery is not necessarily a placebo.

    Nevertheless, only rarely is surgical treatment indicated, and even more rarely, is tinnitus relieved by surgery.

    You should certainly consider surgery if your tinnitus is due to a tumor and also if it is due to a venous source (usually pulsatile in this situation).

    For venous tinnitus, possibilities include jugular vein ligation, occlusion of the sigmoid sinus, or closure of a dural fistula.

    Surgery may also be an option to consider if your diagnosis is otosclerosis, fistula or Ménière's disease.

    Occasionally persons with Meniere's disease have relief or reduction of tinnitus from transtympanic gentamicin.

    Microvascular compression syndrome, in theory, may cause tinnitus, but we have had very little success when the few patients we have seen with this syndrome have undergone surgery.

    ......And some more info from the Northwestern Univ site:

    How is Tinnitus Diagnosed ?

    Persons with tinnitus should be seen by a physician expert in ear disease, usually an otologist or a neurotologist. There should be an examination of the ears, and hearing should be tested. The audiogram sometimes shows a sensorineural deficit due to masking from the tinnitus. Tympanograms can sometimes show a rhythmic compliance change due to a middle ear vascular mass or due to contraction of muscles in the middle ear.

    Inspection of the eardrum may sometimes demonstrate subtle movements due to contraction of the tensor tympani (Cohen and Perez, 2003). Myoclonus causes a thumping type sound. Myoclonus of the stapedius should result in visible contractions of the ear drum, which produce sounds audible to the examiner. An impedance bridge should document rhythmic changes in ear drum compliance. There should not be movement of the palate or other muscles (as this would suggest palatal myoclonus).

    The eyes should be examined for papilloedema (swelling of a portion of the back of the eye called the "optic disk") as increased intracerebral pressure can cause tinnitus.

    The TMJ joints of the jaw should be checked as about 28% of persons with TMJ syndrome experience tinnitus. The physician may also request a BAER test (clicks in ears), an ECOG, an MRI/MRA test (scan of the brain), and several blood tests (ANA, B12, FTA, ESR, SMA-24, HBA-IC, fasting glucose, TSH, anti-microsomal antibodies).

    In persons with pulsatile tinnitus, additional tests maybe proposed to study the blood vessels and to check the pressure inside the head.

    ----Gentle pressure on the neck can be performed to block the jugular vein but not the carotid artery.

    ----The Valsalva maneuver reduces venous return by increasing intrathoracic pressure.

    ....If there is a venous hum, this usually abates or improves markedly.

    ....If the pulsation is arterial, these tests have no effects.

    MRI/MRA or CT is often suggested in younger patients with unilateral pulsatile tinnitus. In older patients, pulsatile tinnitus is often due to atherosclerotic disease and it is less important to get an MRI/MRA. A lumbar puncture may be considered if there is a possibility of benign intracranial hypertension. More invasive testing includes the "balloon occlusion test", where a balloon is blown up in the internal jugular vein to see if it eliminates tinnitus.

    Vestibular tests such as ENG or posturography are generally not helpful in diagnosing tinnitus. Tinnitus is rarely attributable to sinus disease and even if tests suggest that you have this common condition, it is unlikely that treatment of it will affect tinnitus.

    Based on these tests, tinnitus can be separated into categories of cochlear, retrocochlear, central, and tinnitus of unknown cause.


    Last edited by Subs30; 03-18-2004 at 12:53 PM.

     
    Old 03-18-2004, 01:59 PM   #3
    willsmommy
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    Re: Horrible Tinnitus, hearing loss....

    Hi Steve,

    I have not experinced the same as you so cannot completely identify with your symptoms. I have balance problems caused by labs around 3 years ago. BUT my housekeeper/nanny has Mienieres disease which started when she was 22 and we have talked about it many many times. She lost her hearing in a very similiar fashion to you and like you developed chronic tinnitus, she is now around 50 years old. She like you was in a complete state of shock and disbelief and stunned and said that she lierally felt like banging her head on a wall to get the noise to stop. Oh and she had the distorted hearing too. Oh she lost virtually all hearing on both ears not just one.

    However on a positive note she copes very well with the tinnitus over time, she actually says she simply does not notice it now unless she looks for it, despite it being a chronic thing for her. As for her hearing, well she has had hearing aids for years to help and only last month was fitted with a digital set, this is like a miracle for her as she can hear what I am saying without having to follow my lips for clues. She also has no balance issues and her Mienieres has as they say burned itself out. She took serc for years and that controlled the vertigo aspects of the disorder although this does not sound like an issue for you at the moment.

    I really wish you the very best of luck, oh I am not suggesting that you have Mienieres just that what my housekeeper has. I have also heard of similiar hearing loss being atrributed to an autoimmune disorder, all the very very best of luck and please let us know how you go.

     
    Old 03-18-2004, 03:00 PM   #4
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    Re: Horrible Tinnitus, hearing loss....

    Hello Bean,

    So sorry you are going through this. Looks like some excellent info Subs has posted for you - I didn't know the exact ins and outs of it, but I do know that surgery is rarely a solution for tinnitus. I notice that article also mentions tempero mandibular joint disorder. This is something else you might want to look in to - as the article says, it can cause tinnitus, and the tinnitus is often triggered through muscular disturbance in the jaw/ears, which might be one explanation for why you can affect your T through yawning etc.... There was also a study done which showed that menieres patients had significant improvement in their symptoms when treated for tmjd - which indicates that there is some sort of connection btwn the 2 conditions.

    With regard to how to cope with the T. I've had it since I was ten, it isn't that loud, but has got louder since getting VN. It seems impossible when it first hits, but believe me, as Wilsmom has pointed out, people really can habitutate to it, I did, and there is help out there with regard to speeding up the habituation process. You might want to put the words tinnitus and support in to a search engine - this should lead you to a a lot of valuable info - I can't be more specific than that as we arent allowed to give out certain info on here.

    Have you been put on a treatment program for your possible menieres? Diuretics, low sodium diet, a benzo or serc? If these are menieres attacks, then it would be a good idea to try and limit the possiblity of another attack. Did the neurotologist discuss this with you?

    Anyway, like I said, I'm so sorry you are going through this, keep talking on here, it's a very supportive place,

    best,

    hbep.
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    Old 03-18-2004, 09:14 PM   #5
    Bean1008
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    Re: Horrible Tinnitus, hearing loss....

    Thank you all SO much for your supportive words and information! Just today I saw a wonderful Rhuemotologist who spent 90 minutes with me. We talked about the possibility of an auto-immune disorder. I'm on 10 days of prednisone (80mg) and we'll see if that makes a difference in the tinnitus.

    He said that if it is an auto-immune disorder that there is a chance it could occur in the other ear as well. Hopefully not! His attention to my problem left me feeling better if not a little bit hopeful. He did major blood work....I've never been drained like I was today! Maybe something will come of that. Thank you again all!!
    Steve

     
    Old 03-19-2004, 03:13 AM   #6
    hbep
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    Re: Horrible Tinnitus, hearing loss....

    Bean,

    So glad the doc listened and proved helpful - it's such a relief when that happens - the absolute worst is being looked at blankly. I really hope the AIED treatment goes well, prednisone can sometimes work wonders. And by the way if you've been warned that it can affect your mood, just to mention that this can go either way. I took a short course of prednisone yrs ago - had vasomotor rhinitis - severely inflamed inner lining of my nose - not only did it help my nose a LOT, I've never been so flipping happy.

    Really hope this works out for you, Bean, keep us posted,

    best,

    hbep.
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    Old 03-19-2004, 10:33 AM   #7
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    Re: Horrible Tinnitus, hearing loss....

    Bean,

    Your story sounds a lot like mine although I don't have continous tinnitus mine will act up if I bend down (it feels like air is coming out of my ear) or If I turn my neck in a certain direction I will get the pulsating sound. Also if I have too strain to do anything I will get the air sound. Like you mine only happens in the right ear. Sometime at night if I lay on my right ear I will hear a slight "ring". I had braces taken off last October and my ear problems started right after that. I really think that my problem has to do with TMJ, although I have self diagnosed myself, the doctor did say that my ear was retracted due to Eustationary Tube Dysfunction which could have been caused by TMJ. I have not had any other test's done although I'm considering going to a specialist just to rule out a tumor.

    Anyway, just wanted to let you know that your not alone, and wish you the best of luck.

     
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