1. 27 when I first got T. I'm 30 now.
2. I have TMJ. Its under control now & only flares up from time to time.
3. I'm also allergic to the usual stuff like tree, grass, weeds & feathers.
4. I may look calm, but underneath, i'm anxious & stressed all the time. Thanks mom for the neurosis.
5. My hearing has always been bad in my left ear...but it became severly worse with the sudden onset of T
6. Anytime I rub my left eye, I get a weird fluttering sensation in my left ear. It feels like my ear drum is vibrating & someone using a feather to tickle the inside of my ears.
7. I live in Atlanta, GA which has allergies all year long from trees, grass & weeds.
8. I'm using all organic, non scented soap & shampoos
How It started:
I was in grad school, under heavy stress & duress. It was an architecture program, which expects you to stay over night to finish models & drawings. Needless to say, I wasn't taking care of myself. I wasn't getting sleep (sometimes 2-3 over nighters back to back), eating take out & not getting exercise or externalizing my stress & anxiety.
I woke up one morning & noticed my hearing was muffled in the left ear. I felt slight pressure in the left ear along with some light vertigo & LOUD tinnitus that sounded like a school bell going off.
I ignored its since I was in the middle of the semester & had too much on my plate. The tinnitus simmered down a bit & eventually sounded like an arpeggio of wind chimes. Sometimes it would sound like hissing but most of the time it sounded like those ringing timbres in early space, new-age music. Its so weird, most ppl describe their T as hissing, clicking or roaring....mine sounds like a spaced age chime put through an arpeggiator. Its very musical.
I sought treatment with an ENT specialist / allergist about 4-5 months from when the T started. Got an MRI, multiple allergy tests, bloodwork etc. I should've went early & regret placing so much pressure on myself on "getting the job done" at school. I was on a regiment of daily steroids for two weeks. I think prevented my T / hearing loss from getting worse but didn't make it better.
I have sever hearing loss in my left ear. I think I've always had bad hearing in the left ear but the T made it much worse. Volume is good but all of my high frequencies are essentially gone in the left. The right ear is better but still below average across the frequency spectrum.
Day-to-day Symptoms & Patterns:
I've been trying to nail down the cause of my T and here are some patterns & clues I've traced:
1. Tinnitus is 0/10 in the morning. I can still hear it quietly in the background but lets just say this is the baseline for how good it's going to get.
2. Tinnitus is 8/10 every other day, which coincides with days I shower. The T will be 0/10 in when I wake up but gets to a 4/10 by 10AM then a full blown 8/10 by 11AM until the rest of the day. I'll go to sleep & wake up the next day fine.
3. Eating spicy / salty food seems to trigger it. Not always but I remember I was having a good T day once. I got a BBQ pork sandwich with spicy sauce & it instantly triggered my T.
4. I've switched over to all organic, non scented soap & shampoos.
5. I've been exercising & limiting my salty, sugary, spicy food.:(
6. I quit coffee for two weeks. It helped a bit I think but the T is still there every other day.
Thank you for sharing your story with us. It is always interesting to see what works for different people and the patterns they find.
We do have some literature on tinnitus which you may also find useful - https://www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/how-we-help/information-and-resources/publications/tinnitus/
Vicky on behalf of the Information Line