Sudden hearing loss followed by unbearable tinnitus

Posted by marygrace @marygrace, Jul 27, 2017

My sister (70 years old) went to bed one night a month ago with her hearing perfectly normal and the next morning woke up almost totally deaf of the left ear. She went to the otolaryngologist the following day and by his recommentations did a head scanner and other tests which yielded an irreversible 50% deafness. She asked for a second opinion which confirmed the diagnosis. She then started having a very strong and invalidating tinnitus that is driving her crazy, to the point of not wanting to do anything and saying that life is not worthwhile to be lived this way. She does not know what to do. I would appreciate comments, opinions, anything please, she is desperate.

@marygrace, I am so sorry to hear about your sister’s sudden hearing loss and subsequent tinnitus. Although I don’t suffer from tinnitus myself, my husband struggles with it, and with worsening hearing problems. His tinnitus is from taking a daily aspirin and occasionally a dose of ibuprofen if he’s overdone physically moving and lifting things. In my efforts to help him with it, I did some research on tinnitus and found that the thing thats works best is to learn to ignore the ringing in your ears. You may want to talk with your ENT to see if there are ways your sister can learn to ignore the ringing in her ears. If she was/is taking any medications they may be the cause or may make the tinnitus worse. Perhaps if that’s so, she can request a medicine change from her doctor. I would imagine her recent hearing loss has made her focus on her ears more, so she may be acutely aware of all sounds or lack thereof thus increasing her notice of the tinnitus. This is just a guess on my part, putting myself in your sister’s shoes. I hope you receive other information on Mayo Connect to help you help her. Your love and concern for your sister is apparent and admirable. Good luck, Gail B. Ledesma

Hello @marygrace and welcome to Mayo Connect!

I am sorry to hear of your sister’s sudden hearing loss and her tinnitus symptoms that persist. How very kind of you to try and find some help for her!

I found an article on Mayo’s website that explains a bit more about tinnitus, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tinnitus/symptoms-causes/dxc-20180362. As a person who has experienced tinnitus for many years I can sympathize with your sister’s problem – it takes some getting used to. I suppose on some level it just represents many of the sounds I have hear every day. It takes a while to adjust to a “noisy life” though. Playing music can help, also if she has problems sleeping because of the “noise” a sound machine by her bedside might be helpful as well.

Here is the website for the American Tinnitus Association, https://www.ata.org/understanding-facts. They offer information regarding doctors who specialize in this, stories of patients dealing with this problem and also suggestions for coping.

What types of coping strategies has your sister tried so far?

Teresa

It is hard getting used to a worsening hearing problem and/or tinnitus over time, but to have them both occur so suddenly would upset anyone! Your sister must learn to hear “around” the tinnitus, and for me that means listening to audios such as books which require some concentration. You don’t mention causes for both problems, but I firmly believe in allergies as one causation – paying careful attention to diet and even minor changes in the tinnitus is important. Along with allergies, but more in line with symptom control is to reduce salt intake severely for a short period of time (a month or so), and then stay with a low-salt diet. Such a salt restriction diet should first be okayed by your sister’s physician. Hope she can find help here – good suggestions from others!!

@trishanna Thank you for your reply! Did you do any tinnitus counseling at all? or did your medical facility offer any counseling for tinnitus? If so, did you find it helpful?

@trishanna

It is hard getting used to a worsening hearing problem and/or tinnitus over time, but to have them both occur so suddenly would upset anyone! Your sister must learn to hear “around” the tinnitus, and for me that means listening to audios such as books which require some concentration. You don’t mention causes for both problems, but I firmly believe in allergies as one causation – paying careful attention to diet and even minor changes in the tinnitus is important. Along with allergies, but more in line with symptom control is to reduce salt intake severely for a short period of time (a month or so), and then stay with a low-salt diet. Such a salt restriction diet should first be okayed by your sister’s physician. Hope she can find help here – good suggestions from others!!

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@trishanna Some great ideas!

Teresa

@jamienolson

@trishanna Thank you for your reply! Did you do any tinnitus counseling at all? or did your medical facility offer any counseling for tinnitus? If so, did you find it helpful?

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Sorry to say that no one has offered any counseling at all. I’ve delayed getting a hearing aid – which I need – because of the tinnitus. “Louder” for me is definitely not bettet!!

@jamienolson

@trishanna Thank you for your reply! Did you do any tinnitus counseling at all? or did your medical facility offer any counseling for tinnitus? If so, did you find it helpful?

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Just thought I should clarify: my original diagnosis for Meniere’s disease by the American Hearing Institute 50 years ago was that it was caused by allergies. My experience, reading, whatever, has reinforced that, but tinnitus only began rather recently.

@jamienolson

@trishanna Thank you for your reply! Did you do any tinnitus counseling at all? or did your medical facility offer any counseling for tinnitus? If so, did you find it helpful?

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@trishanna

When I talked with an audiologist about hearing aids making the “tinnitus” louder, I was told that would not happen. Instead, it would increase the ability to hear and therefore reduce or eliminate the tinnitus. Check with your doctor or audiologist before ruling out a hearing aid.

Teresa

@jamienolson

@trishanna Thank you for your reply! Did you do any tinnitus counseling at all? or did your medical facility offer any counseling for tinnitus? If so, did you find it helpful?

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That ‘s good to hear (pun intended). My reluctance – and maybe misdirected blame placing – is caused by tbe fact that I can’t tolerate “louder” to hear better. Hearing aids are expensive and so I keep researching, hoping to find an answer for me. My husband is also hard of hearing, and his music, tv, etc., are all way to loud for me. One question no one can answer is why sound systems are for me all so different. Example: cannot understand one word of PBS programming – radio or tv- but I’ve no trouble at all listening to baseball games – radio or tv. I’ve many more examples like that. Why?

@trishanna, that’s interesting that sound systems are different for you.

Have you tried any sound devices? White noise machines? or you may want to try a white noise machine with pillow speakers to help you sleep. Fans, humidifiers, dehumidifiers and air conditioners in the bedroom also may help cover the internal noise at night. Or Masking devices. Worn in the ear and similar to hearing aids, these devices produce a continuous, low-level white noise that suppresses tinnitus symptoms.

Mayo Clinic also mentions “Tinnitus retraining. A wearable device delivers individually programmed tonal music to mask the specific frequencies of the tinnitus you experience. Over time, this technique may accustom you to the tinnitus, thereby helping you not to focus on it. Counseling is often a component of tinnitus retraining”

@jamienolson

@trishanna, that’s interesting that sound systems are different for you.

Have you tried any sound devices? White noise machines? or you may want to try a white noise machine with pillow speakers to help you sleep. Fans, humidifiers, dehumidifiers and air conditioners in the bedroom also may help cover the internal noise at night. Or Masking devices. Worn in the ear and similar to hearing aids, these devices produce a continuous, low-level white noise that suppresses tinnitus symptoms.

Mayo Clinic also mentions “Tinnitus retraining. A wearable device delivers individually programmed tonal music to mask the specific frequencies of the tinnitus you experience. Over time, this technique may accustom you to the tinnitus, thereby helping you not to focus on it. Counseling is often a component of tinnitus retraining”

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@jamienolson, I appreciate your response. No, have never tried any of the devices. Fortunately, my tinnitus doesn’t interfere with sleep – I’m aware of it but the Meniere’s systems paved the way many years ago for tinnitus. My hearing problems all have to do with just that – hearing (and understanding).

@jamienolson

@trishanna, that’s interesting that sound systems are different for you.

Have you tried any sound devices? White noise machines? or you may want to try a white noise machine with pillow speakers to help you sleep. Fans, humidifiers, dehumidifiers and air conditioners in the bedroom also may help cover the internal noise at night. Or Masking devices. Worn in the ear and similar to hearing aids, these devices produce a continuous, low-level white noise that suppresses tinnitus symptoms.

Mayo Clinic also mentions “Tinnitus retraining. A wearable device delivers individually programmed tonal music to mask the specific frequencies of the tinnitus you experience. Over time, this technique may accustom you to the tinnitus, thereby helping you not to focus on it. Counseling is often a component of tinnitus retraining”

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Tinnitus I have experienced the same issue in both ears. It has woken me up at night and could got back to sleep. One day I was praying about this cause I felt I couldn’t take it anymore. I started looking on line to see if their was anything that could help me!
I found s product called quite mind, some people say it’s a fraud , but I was desperate and tried it . It’s been 1 and 1/2 months and my noise level is half as loud as it was … i can focus on hearing again.
To me it was a God sent product!
It is a vitamin and herb produce. But always check with your Dr. before using .

@gailb

@marygrace, I am so sorry to hear about your sister’s sudden hearing loss and subsequent tinnitus. Although I don’t suffer from tinnitus myself, my husband struggles with it, and with worsening hearing problems. His tinnitus is from taking a daily aspirin and occasionally a dose of ibuprofen if he’s overdone physically moving and lifting things. In my efforts to help him with it, I did some research on tinnitus and found that the thing thats works best is to learn to ignore the ringing in your ears. You may want to talk with your ENT to see if there are ways your sister can learn to ignore the ringing in her ears. If she was/is taking any medications they may be the cause or may make the tinnitus worse. Perhaps if that’s so, she can request a medicine change from her doctor. I would imagine her recent hearing loss has made her focus on her ears more, so she may be acutely aware of all sounds or lack thereof thus increasing her notice of the tinnitus. This is just a guess on my part, putting myself in your sister’s shoes. I hope you receive other information on Mayo Connect to help you help her. Your love and concern for your sister is apparent and admirable. Good luck, Gail B. Ledesma

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Marygrace,

That is very interesting that you mention about the physical strain and a daily aspirin!
When I wake in the morning things are quiet. Then if I yon and stretch hard the noise starts.
I too take aspirin and ibuprofen, how did you fine this out? I am taking a natural supplement and it has taken my noise to half the noise level.
I have severe hearing loss in both ears and I am a candidate for the Cochlest implant and will be proseeding with the process. Does your husband have an implant?
I was told in the past the reason I have the ringing is due to the nerve damage.
I’m trying to fine someone with my same condition to see how successful the implant is working. And for how long.

Thank you,
Johnnyb7

@gailb

@marygrace, I am so sorry to hear about your sister’s sudden hearing loss and subsequent tinnitus. Although I don’t suffer from tinnitus myself, my husband struggles with it, and with worsening hearing problems. His tinnitus is from taking a daily aspirin and occasionally a dose of ibuprofen if he’s overdone physically moving and lifting things. In my efforts to help him with it, I did some research on tinnitus and found that the thing thats works best is to learn to ignore the ringing in your ears. You may want to talk with your ENT to see if there are ways your sister can learn to ignore the ringing in her ears. If she was/is taking any medications they may be the cause or may make the tinnitus worse. Perhaps if that’s so, she can request a medicine change from her doctor. I would imagine her recent hearing loss has made her focus on her ears more, so she may be acutely aware of all sounds or lack thereof thus increasing her notice of the tinnitus. This is just a guess on my part, putting myself in your sister’s shoes. I hope you receive other information on Mayo Connect to help you help her. Your love and concern for your sister is apparent and admirable. Good luck, Gail B. Ledesma

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@johnnyb7

I have personally found that aspirin or too much NSAID type meds does cause “muffled hearing” I’m not sure if it affects the tinnitus, though. Here are some articles from the NIH website that address hearing loss and use of these meds, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2831770/ and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/behindtheheadlines/news/2016-12-15-long-term-painkiller-use-linked-to-hearing-loss-in-women/

Teresa

@gailb

@marygrace, I am so sorry to hear about your sister’s sudden hearing loss and subsequent tinnitus. Although I don’t suffer from tinnitus myself, my husband struggles with it, and with worsening hearing problems. His tinnitus is from taking a daily aspirin and occasionally a dose of ibuprofen if he’s overdone physically moving and lifting things. In my efforts to help him with it, I did some research on tinnitus and found that the thing thats works best is to learn to ignore the ringing in your ears. You may want to talk with your ENT to see if there are ways your sister can learn to ignore the ringing in her ears. If she was/is taking any medications they may be the cause or may make the tinnitus worse. Perhaps if that’s so, she can request a medicine change from her doctor. I would imagine her recent hearing loss has made her focus on her ears more, so she may be acutely aware of all sounds or lack thereof thus increasing her notice of the tinnitus. This is just a guess on my part, putting myself in your sister’s shoes. I hope you receive other information on Mayo Connect to help you help her. Your love and concern for your sister is apparent and admirable. Good luck, Gail B. Ledesma

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Teresa,

Very good , thank you for your response!

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