#1 30-12-2013 04:24:54

MickB
Member
Registered: 30-12-2013
Posts: 3

New Tinnitus, some questions to move ahead

Hi forum, I was hoping someone might be able to answer some questions as I have not had much luck so far.

I am 37 and formerly military 13 years, after which got into remote mine drilling which is high paid but very noisy job. I was careless most of my careers and did not use earplugs.

I realised 3 months ago my hearing had suddenly changed, so I took 2 weeks off and had all the tests(MRI, CT, Audiograph) etc. Was told I had only 4% loss in right ear and 1% in left, very mild tinnitus as a high pitched whine that did not bother me,and mild hyperacusity. I was told by ENT to go back to work with earplugs, no problem.

Problem was when I went back to work 2.5 weeks later ''real tinnitus'' suddenly started after the first nightshift. Now like a high pitched squeal in right ear -I was so scared I quit 3 days later and have not worked since.

I am still trying to work out what happened and wondered if anyone has any answers. I assume loud noise, even if it does not damage ears can still permanently increase tinnitus?

Does my mild hyperacusity add to the problem of tinnitus increasing? I had earplugs in but things still sounded a bit too loud the day I went back.

I assume for me it is now better to avoid very loud industrial work altogether?

At 3 months I think I have learnt to deal with it mostly now. During the day I can barely hear it, but in quite rooms , or at night or even lying down it comes on. I have a few days in a row I feel happy even like my old self, and then a couple I am scared again, but these are becoming less and I am hoping one day the days of feeling afraid will go altogether?

My tinnitus also changed into the first month.Before just one high pitched squeal in right ear. Now that has reduced in volume but sometimes now have hissing or white noise in ''both ears'' and also feels like my right ear is being ''opened up'' with air.

For some reason these new sounds are not as bad as the original squealing was but I am still a bit worried about the changes. My tinnitus can now switch between all three types of sound.  Funnily I find I can listen to it without it bothering me sometimes and even sleep ok without masking so I am wondering if this change is me habituating the sound down in some way?

Also wondered if its better to mask or not to mask? Maybe I am masking too much or not masking enough? Is listening to your own tinnitus unsafe, that is can it lead to worse tinnitus? I find I can listen to it, and sometimes it just backs off or turns into background white noises that does not bother me, like sitting at the computer now. But is this bad to do?

Thanks for any help. I think I am dealing with this as well as most but the fact I have gone from a 150K job to being unemployed in a week has turned my world upside down.This is probably what is stressing me most of all.

I am thinking of changing careers to study pathology science or nursing or something else science/health related as I got good scores back in highschool and was looking to do some study when I got too old to do manual labor anyway.

But last question is study a bad idea and also are nightshift work difficult for Tinnitus sufferers? I am worried I will choose a degree, the stress of study will make me worse, or even I will waste the degree if it gets bad enough I cannot do nightshift work. Does anyone with tinnitus manage night work okay?

Thanks for any help folks.

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#2 30-12-2013 06:45:36

MickB
Member
Registered: 30-12-2013
Posts: 3

Re: New Tinnitus, some questions to move ahead

Also I thought I would outlay some other peculiarities of my tinnitus in case anyone recognizes it as similar to theirs. Sorry if this is boring, please ignore if so.

When straining physically( lifting, yawning, toilet ha ha even sex smile) the tinnitus on my right side spikes slightly( I also notice now for the first time the whole right side of my neck, ear and right top of skull get a prickling sensation over it- gets goose bumps) when I also strain. Maybe I always did this, maybe its unrelated.

I think my tinnitus is related to my blood pressure too as in a room I hear it less if I am standing, slightly more when sitting and even more if I am lying down, which relates to blood pressure I believe in those positions.

I can create a worse tinnitus sound( high pitched washing water sound behind my head it seems) by clenching my back teeth for too long. Found this out the hard way but luckily the sound left after a few days.

The worse tinnitus day was when I had strained my back lifting and I was left lying around several days to recover. My tinnitus at this time came in both ears as a sort of washing white noise and also seemed slightly pulsatile, increasing in time slightly ahead of my distal wrist pulse. However it only matched my pulse for 3-4 beats before changing and just becoming noise again so perhaps it was in my imagination.

Driving my car seems to make my tinnitus worse that afternoon and night.   This worries me as I obviously need to drive to live. I am hoping I am not making tinnitus permanently worse doing this. 

Actually just considering today the changes the tinnitus has made the last 3 months. I have gotten more used to it, but I must admit I think it has in fact gotten a little worse, and even the potential to be louder when its at its loudest.

This worries me a little...I am not sure what I am doing wrong if so. I am in fairly noise free home environment.My blood tests(thyroid), dental xrays, vestibular tests, sinus and brain scans were all ok.

All I can think is I am living with my brother and small children who sometimes scream loudly but I protect my ears as soon as possible. However sometimes I am unprepared I guess.

Maybe even driving a car or having cars pass me on the street it too much for me and I should protect against this too? This will be problematic for living a normal life if so.

So you can see I was feeling up for my first post, but now feeling a little down again smile

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#3 30-12-2013 11:39:53

tomson
Member
Registered: 09-11-2013
Posts: 46

Re: New Tinnitus, some questions to move ahead

Hi Mick

Regarding masking the Tinnitus:
Some say too much "masking" isnt good because this way it's harder and taking more time to "accept" the noise and living with it. Others give the advice to mask as much as possible. My doctor (has a lot of experience with chronic tinnitus) gave me first the advice to mask as much as possible especially at night (by listening to music also at night during sleep). I've tried that for 3 - 4 weeks but i simply couldn't sleep much with Tinnitus *and* music at night. Currently i'm sleeping with the support of pills. You have got to find your own way. What works for others does not necessarly working for you too.

It seems to me that you are questioning everything because of the Tinnitus : Noises from work, stress, blood pressure, back problems etc.

I have done this too. It's normal because you want to find the roots of the Tinnitus which leads to suffering. I know it's hard, but try not to let it run your life. If you want to change your job; do it, but dont do it because of the Tinnitus! Dont restrict yourselve in your interests and hobbies because you think the things you do are making the Tinnitus worse. Because if you go down this path it may lead to secondary symptoms/problems (panic,anxiety, depression). On the other hand if you have Tinnitus for 3 month now and you didnt had any panic/anxiety attacks in this time you may have a strong defense against this secondary symptoms. That's a good sign.

I know it's easy to give this advice, but it's much harder to live it.

After all your Tinnitus is still a "acute" one. There is hope that it can go away or getting softer.

Regarding "stress" as a source of Tinnitus: If you think this may be the primary reason for the Tinnitus: There is a lot you can do against it. And you might find support by seeing some specialiced doctor/psychiatrist.

Good luck

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#4 30-12-2013 17:42:13

Thomas
Administrator
Registered: 28-08-2007
Posts: 1486
Website

Re: New Tinnitus, some questions to move ahead

Hi Mick,

Welcome to the forum.

Even after 3 months, the tinnitus will still react sensitively (and often erratically) to all kinds of influences (be it noise, physical activity, food etc.). It can take another 3-6 months before your nervous system has fully adjusted to the situation and the sensitivity dies down. So on the basis of the present symptoms, I would not make any irreversible long term decisions for your life right now. In a few months time it might all look different.

Having said this, night shifts might not be ideal here (with or without noise) as they could upset your hormonal balance and aggravate your tinnitus (for some people a short nap during the day can do this).
Work load as such is not necessarily bad though. If you are motivated enough and get satisfaction from the job, then this can actually be even beneficial. What you have to avoid is the 'negative' stress when you can't cope anymore or have negative thoughts about what you are doing.

Do not worry about the long term future too much. Those worries and anxieties will only make it worse and drive you into a vicious circle. Try to deal with the problems on a day to day basis. A few months down the line things will improve.

On a more practical note, avoid at the moment any caffeine and alcohol. You can also try whether taking a few painkillers (Paracetamol (Tylenol in the U.S.) or Aspirin) for a couple of days, or an occasional alcohol-free beer can calm the tinnitus down.

Thomas

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#5 03-01-2014 05:12:37

MickB
Member
Registered: 30-12-2013
Posts: 3

Re: New Tinnitus, some questions to move ahead

Thanks that was really good advice.  I am having an ''ok'' day today. I got a job interview for a quieter job and hoping the quitness of an office job will not make my tinnitus too annoying. 

Its too late for me to save my lost hearing. But for any people who search and read this thread I would like to add some information which may help others.

In all the study I have been doing I can say I fall into the category of people who get mild hearing loss from very noisy workplaces, get a threshold shift in their hearing one day(everything sounds different all of a sudden) which is almost like an acoustic injury onset, and discover they have very mild tinnitus too.

I will never know for sure but I wonder if the doctors made an error at the 3 week mark sending me back to work too early, as the noise and stress caused a new level of tinnitus.

(For acoustic injuries and threshold shifts they recommend staying away from loud noise until damage has healed or at least stabilised)

Maybe I should have taken an extra week or month off and things would be different and I would be just another worker still with the only mild tinnitus? But its no good to worry about that now, it will just stress me out more. I will just work on getting my life as stable as possible so I can enjoy it again.

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