Tinnitus started by Ear Infection!! High Pitched Sound, can't escape it!


A week or two ago I was diagnosed with an ear infection and was given an ear spray, then was given clarithromycin and started to notice a ringing sound in my ear (sometimes high pitched noise) which is constant. Went back to the Doctors and was given a second course and have been doing that for two days but the high pitch sound is still there and super high. I spoke to the Doctor again yesterday (24th Jan 2019) and explained my fear of the high pitched sound being permanent and was told to continue the dose and wait to see what happens when the ear infection is cleared. But I'm actually scared to continue the course because I have learned that clarithromycin can lead to long term tinnitus and so far it is driving me crazy. I'll not admit this to family and friends but I have already said "If this is forever I don't know how long that forever will be) I've broken down over it and have yet to have a proper nights sleep. 

I'm currently lying in bed typing this with an ear phone just sitting in my ear (not in the ear hole itself but just outside) to try and drown out the noise. I have no clue what to do: Do I continue the course and roll the dice and hope it isn't permanent or do I see my Doctor again (third time in two weeks) and ask them what to do. I really do fear it being long term and will admit to reading a lot of internet stories and some scare the hell out of me. I don't think I'll be able to cope, I already have OCD and due to the mental health being on the NHS (UK) it's about to end (26 appointments is the norm I've had twice that) so I know it'll become something I'm fized on. 

The clarithromycin is 500mgs. I hope to god this isn't long term because I'm 33 years old and this isn't going to make my life all that enjoyable. (Otis Media I think it's called). Please help!! 

  • Hi djv1985

     Thank you for your post and welcome to the forum. My name is Rachel  and I work on the Information Line here at Action on Hearing Loss. 

    We are really sorry to read how you are feeling at the moment. Please remember you are not alone and there are professionals that can help you.

    It is difficult to comment on individual cases as we do not have your full medical history nor are we medically trained . as your GP says it may settle down with time once your ear infection have cleared up , however  if you are really worried we would encourage you to go back speak to your GP and ask them to make you a urgent referral to the local ENT (Ear Nose and Throat Department) at your local hospital. At the appointment a full assessment would be carried out  to help identify your condition and get further support from the department if required such as a Hearing Aids/ Hearing Therapist for support management such a TRT / CBT or Mindfulness for your  tinnitus.

    If you are concerned that a drug you have been prescribed is making your tinnitus worse, you should discuss it with your GP also, as there may be an alternative drug that doesn’t list tinnitus as a side effect.

    Although there is currently no single treatment for tinnitus that works in the same way for everyone, and research to find a cure is on-going, there are many different therapies and self-help techniques that may help you to manage the tinnitus and reduce its impact on your life. Please feel free to read our tinnitus factsheets for further information.

    Please note, Tinnitus can worsen when you are worried or tired, which can increase your stress and anxiety levels and trigger a cycle of stress and worry. It usually settle down with time- I do however understand it’s a lot easier said than done.

    Please keep in contact with us and we hope you start to feel better soon. We hope other forum users shall be commenting shortly and sharing their own experiences with you too.

    All the best

    Rachel on behalf of the Information Line

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