My Story (Tinnitus worse after Neti pot + valsalva maneuver)

Hello everyone!

Sorry for long post and my English (which is not my first language). If you don't want to read full story just skip to the bottom part.

In September last year one day after returning from work I've noticed that my mild tinnitus which I have as long as I remember has got more noticeable in the left ear. That night I've had a problem getting asleep and the next day visited my GP. He told me that it might be an ear infection and prescribed me Sudafed and Nasonex. During the first week I was supposed to use Sudafed and then switched to Nasonex after the week. Fortunately, condition lessened and after 2 days after I've forgotten about the issue. Fast forward, in January 2017 year after having few beers with friends in the pub I've decided to go home on foot with my earphones on. Because it started raining I got soaked before got home:/ When I tried to get to sleep I noticed the Tinnitus again. The next night sound seemed even louder. At that moment I started to panic. It started in the same ear but this time the quality of sound was different than 3 months earlier and I didn't experience any ear fullness or congestion.
So... I suffer from this tinnitus for about 4 months now and my condition is gradually getting worse. Originally started in left ear only, now it's present in both ears and on top of that I developed hyperacusis and sound reactivity (my tinnitus sometimes aggravates after exposure to the sounds louder than 80 dB or some softer specific more tonal sounds). My "main" tinnitus is not a tonal sound so it's hard for me to find it's frequency. It's definitely high pitched (above 13KHz i would say, and that's basically when I notice some fluctuations in frequency sweep, which I did online).
So I visited my GP, got a referral to ENT and waited for a visit. During this time I used my previously unused prescription for Nasonex. My tinnitus slowly started to subside and after a month I thought I am on my way to be healed. But at some point, it started to got worse and when I had my visit at ENT, my tinnitus was louder that at the beginning. It was reactive, hyperacusis was kicking in (of which I wasn't yet aware) and there was some slight sound developing in my right ear. At that point, I wasn't aware that it will eventually become worse than in my left ear. I was hoping for fast audiogram and tympanometry but for that, I would have to wait for another month because audiologist wasn't there that day. ENT said that my right ear seems a bit sore, convinced me that it might be another infection and that my tinnitus will subside eventually and I should focus on relaxation practices and how to distract myself from it and gave me a leaflet.
Meanwhile, hyperacusis and right ear tinnitus got worse. During next visit, I Have had an MRI results, audiogram up to 8KHz, thyroid check, and tympanometry. All results were fine. (although I still think I might have hidden hearing loss because it's hard for me to understand what is spoken to me when there's any noise around). During the second visit when I said how my condition got worse He just reminded me about relaxation practices, instructed me about using earplugs at work and concluded that his role in my treatment is finished. He didn't want to hear about prednisone (oral steroid) or any other treatment or referral.
Then after one horrible night (not the first one obviously), I visited a GP (not my original one). She gave me a sick note but said that because I've already visited specialist they can't give me another referral (considered it as a second opinion) and basically I should get along with it. I live near London and was hoping to see the sound therapist in Royal ENT Hospital and have some proper test for my condition.I am aware of TRT but can't afford it. When I told her that I was using steroid nasal spray Nasonex for a month she prescribed me another dose. I accepted that finding potential reason and the cure was out of the question. I started taking nasonex regularly, started to wear earplugs for work (noise levels are there around 70-80 DB so before I refrained myself from doing so, which I'm afraid was a mistake because my condition was slowly but gradually got worse), stopped using earphones (which I was using on low volume but nevertheless), and started to notice improvements, or I should rather say lack of worsening which from my perspective was a success:/

And just yesterday I've done something very stupid. Basically, I tried to use the neti pot, something went wrong and some water got into my right eustachian tube. I tried to get rid of it by bending my head, shaking and (most stupid thing) doing soft Valsalva maneuver and using otovent (small baloon). When doing it I could only hear a squeak in this ear. For some time I felt soft pain in the ear and fullness. Eventually, pain and fullness subsided but after some time tinnitus level started to get through the roof in that ear and stayed. After sleepless night I went to the hospital and said what happened. The doctor examined my ears and said that my eardrum is fine. But then I've heard something even more interesting. He basically said that there is a fluid in both my ears. Nothing fresh but a result of old chronic infection. He asked whether I had ear infection during childhood (of which I am not aware). Now I am confused. Is it possible that ENT and two different GP's overlooked the liquid or dismissed it as not worth addressing? Why did tympanometry show normal results? Doctor at the hospital told me to consult my ENT but how can I force my GP to even get referral to see him? If there is a liquid and steroid sprays can't get rid of it what else can be done? Did anyone here have had similar experience from neti pot or Valsalva maneuver? Is there a chance that this spike may subside? At the moment I'm only hoping that it will get back to the previous level. How should I proceed next when NHS road seems like a dead end?
  • Hi Slawek J,

    I'm sorry to hear about your experience. I've recently had a similar experience and am looking for answers. I'd love to know - what was the outcome for you?

    Elliot