Low frequency tinnitus


I've had "normal" high pitched tinnitus for several years now, and have adapted/accepted it to the point where I rarely notice it, and can live comfortably with it.
However, recently I've developed a new, far more intrusive low frequency tinnitus that has been plaguing me, and worrying me a lot.

Some days it is barely noticeable, and others it is quite loud and intrusive. It's in both ears, and varies in volume, often pulsating, or apparently resonating and seeming louder when other natural sounds occur, such as traffic passing by. Sometimes it's more constant.
Clapping, or other sudden loud noises can cause it to temporarily dip for a few seconds, then fade back up again.

The frequency of this is around 78hz.
I first noticed the hum several weeks ago, and thought the noise was external as when I put my fingers in my ears the noise cannot be heard. When removing my fingers however, the hum fades back in again over the period of around 10-15 seconds.

I've visited my local GP who has attempted to remedy this by giving me anti-histamines. Great for my hay fever, but has done nothing to resolve the low frequency tinnitus.

I'm petrified that this may be permanent, or get worse - as it's not something that I could permanently live with - it's driving me mad.
I know all the usual things - don't focus on it, distract yourself with music or sound effects etc. but I just want to figure whether or not this is something that may hopefully disappear.

The only other twist to the tale is that I recently had surgery (not near the ears) and it seems to have been worsened since then, though was definitely present before. I also recently had my teeth fully cleaned by the dentist.
Does anyone know if either of these things may temporarily cause this type of tinnitus?

Many thanks in advance for any advice/comments.
I'm keen to see an ENT doctor as soon as possible, who will also hopefully be able to shed some more light on this horrible situation.
  • Thanks for asking!
    I'm pleased to be able to report good news in this case, which I hope may be of some interest to anyone else with a similar problem that comes across this post.
    The low frequency tinnitus completely disappeared for a few weeks!
    It has recently returned again, but only very mildly/quietly.

    I saw a specialist who advised me that it wasn't anything to do with ear damage, and is in fact "likely to be caused by intermittent muscle contractions of the tensa tympani muscle". Basically, nerves vibrating near my ear drum and therefore being interpreted as low frequency sound. This may be caused/worsened by my teeth grinding.

    I didn't find any posts here about anyone who's tinnitus has gone away, so I assumed the worst at the time (that it would be permanent), hence my worry about it.
    I expect it may return again intermittently, but I'm less concerned now that I have a fair idea of what is causing this, and it isn't due to ear damage.
    I'm pleased with my consultant, and I feel confident that if I need to pursue the problem and have further tests, that he will support me in resolving the issue.

    One good thing to come out of this is that I'm going to be ordering some decent ear plugs for when I go clubbing. The "scare" has made me even more conscious of protecting my ears against damage from excessive sound levels.
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