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Posts: 40
Reply with quote  #1 

I woke up with tinnitus (severe) on June 2, 2009 and shortly after developed hyperacusis as well. I went to an ENT who thought it was due to an ototoxic (ear damaging) drug (Ambien) I was tapering off of. He reinstated the medication for a month. It quieted the tinn/hyper. Mentioned to my GP it did that for my tinn/hyper and he thought "serotonin deficiency" because he said that drug releases serotonin. That doctor has since left the hospital where he was practicing due to budget cuts it seems and he and I didnt get to take that discussion any further. I also found out through Neil Bauman, Ph.D. at that Ambien is ototoxic (ear damaging) and also at (Professor Ashton) that Ambien is a cousin to benzodiazapenes and withdrawing off of benzodiazapenes can often cause horrible tinnitus when you withdraw or taper off these drugs. I have taken Klonopin for the anxiety associated with this. I learned through the website that it is addictive, hard to come off of, and can cause tinnitus when you get off it (many people who are tapering off that drug have posted to that site and many of the people have awful tinnitus just as people here do, so please check into the drugs you take being ototoxic or the drugs you discontinue causing tinnitus.  Then my ENT allergy tested me= I have 4 allergies (scale of 1 to 5 my allergies are a 2 and not a candidate for allergy shots). He said he was leaning toward my allergies and eustachian tube dysfunction. He put me on Nasonex and Zyrtec. Found out that Zyrtec is ototoxic and asked my doc why I was taking 10 mg. of Zyrtec when my allergies were only a 2 on a scale of 1 to 5. I opted to discontinue the Zyrtec and he agreed with me to use it on an as needed basis if allergies bothered me). I had a CT scan of the sinuses which were clear but the radiologist said he found an incidental finding on the xray of "hydrostosis frontalis internas" a thickening of the frontal skull bone which my current GP seemed to think wasnt much to be concerned with. Ive heard that can cause tinnitus and press on cranial nerves. I am with tinnitus and hyperacusis that is low on some days and raging on others. On days when the tinn is high the hyper usually is too. On days when the tinn is low the hyper is low as well usually.  But when its high it is sometimes LOUD like a steam kettle or sounds like a train squealing to a halt.  It varies day to day usually. I had 3 days straight about a week where it was low. I had energy, I felt focused, wanted to participate in life, no anxiety, head felt good, and life was good. Then like today it is HIGH. My ears sound like a steam kettle, all sounds exacerbate the ringing (running kitchen water or shower water running, wiping off the kitchen counters with a dishcloth, the sound of the computer CPU, talking, the TV, the sound of my feet shuffling on the floor, talking, the sound of my bath towel against my skin, the blow dryer, handling a kleenex, and even the sound of my husband rubbing my back when he gave me a hug and I had to ask him to not do that.   Everything sounds like someone running their hands through a million tiny crystals or like a steam kettle or a train squealing to a halt.  It varies day to day which one of these it sounds like.  So you see many sounds bother me when my tinnitus is raging. I have worn cotton in one ear to lower the sound coming in through my ears so it wouldnt make them ring quite so bad. The more sound entering my ear the worse they ring. But when I wear the cotton even in one ear I can hear it still internally. I know its not good to keep your ears plugged and it can make it worse.  I have an appt. with another ENT to get a second opinion and see what else I can do.  Any suggestions on anything more for the doctors to check for?  And this ENT office offers Neuromonics.  Anyone know anything about it, can it help with this??  Any suggestions welcome on this too!  This tinnitus and hyperacusis is on my nerves, disrupting my life, making me anxious, and distracting me and making me feel lousy!   HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!


Posts: 95
Reply with quote  #2 
I wish I knew what to say. I have been through the same sources of drugs,doctors,therapies etc.My hyperacusis has gotten a lot better in a year but my life is still disrupted from the sensitivities that I have to high frequencies. These past two days are especially bad. The television,computer and even the high frequencies from my cars electronics make my tinnitus spike,ears hurt and sensitivity worse. It is tiring indeed to seek relief and not seem to find it. Today,I was fortunate to be home from work so I slept for a good hour with a pillow over my head.Now I have cotton in my ears.If I sleep in silence for eight hours,my h/t Is much less. I dont see how silence can make things worse.This hasn't been the case for me. I have been way too pro sound with music therapy everyday.Now I feel the repercussions of it. Pain! I took the Ambien too at my first onset of tinnitus just to sleep and had terrible side affects and dependency issues. I quit it cold turkey and stayed awake for 24 hrs having hallucinations and inability to concentrate.I had mri and xrays which show pinched nerves in my neck. I did some neck therapy but my insurance wouldn't cover much.It is a never ending battle to keep your own head on and make others understand that it is a real problem just when talking sometimes.People have said that I am crazy or they just get to lecturing me on being more accommodating and less complaining. It isn't like I have a temporary headache. Ive also had a constant headache,sore throat as well for over a year now.I am sorry to vent out on you but I keep thinking that someone who has the answers may read this post one day. I hope the best for you.
Paul H

Posts: 1,951
Reply with quote  #3 

Any suggestions on anything more for the doctors to check for? And this ENT office offers Neuromonics. Anyone know anything about it, can it help with this??

I'd just suggest reading everything on Dr. Hazell's website (  ). Everyone with hyperacusis has days when their ears are more reactive and sensitive to sound, and days when they are less reactive.

Anxiety over your symptoms isn't helpful and can make things worse. Best to understand the mechanism behind how our hearing works, and why fear or dislike of sounds can make things worse, and prevent you from making progress. 

I don't know if Neuromonics is the best treatment for hyperacusis. I think it's probably more oriented toward tinnitus treatment. But, I may be wrong. Maybe someone else here with experience with Neuromonics can shed some light on that.

Sound enrichment is very helpful if used properly. This is also explained on Dr. Hazell's website. 

I got help from Dr. Hazell's site years ago and he also answered some of my questions. And I've made great progress. 

I'd also suggest reading all the information provided on the Hyperacusis Network.

Complete silence is not good for extended periods of time, but it is sometimes unavoidable. Also, sound enrichment needs to be a sound you have no aversion to and can listen to all the time. That's important. 

But, you can pick a pleasant sound and work on it and eventually use it as sound enrichment once you feel comfortable with the sound, and can listen to it for extended periods of time.

Nature sound radios are often used. 

Ear protection can make sensitivity worse if used too much. My story in my signature explains my experience with ear protection, hyperacusis and phonophobia. 

Wish you progress!



Posts: 40
Reply with quote  #4 
Thanks for the reply~Amazingly the tinn/hyper today is low.  Its like a light switch..on and then off, etc. I am thankful for the good days when sounds dont hurt my ears. The Neuromonics program from what I understand is for the tinnitus. To get your focus off it and retrain your brain not to focus on it. Dont believe it does anything for hyperacusus but i will find out at an appt. I have to discuss it in early March. I need to take the time to read everything on the site. For a while I just had to stay off of sites and reading so much because it made anxious to put so much focus on it while dealing with how I was feeling.  Thanks for the input!
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