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Posts: 7
Reply with quote  #1 
hello everyone. I'm not really sure that I belong here, but i'm frustrated and stressed out and looking for answers and i stumbled upon here, so i'm hoping that maybe someone can help!

I have had ear issues forever. When I was younger, my ears would constantly feel "full", it would happen when i yawned, or swallowed or for no reason at all, and i would have to "clear" them by sucking air through my nose. This would cause headaches and was quite embarrassing! finally, at the age of 16 my ENT inserted ear tubes. I am now 27, and on my fourth set of tubes.

About a year and a half ago, I started having a constant buzzing feeling in my head. I have problems with depression and have used SSRI's for many years, so I naturally thought that the buzzing was related to the drugs. However, after seeing my primary care physician, psychiatrists and therapists, i have learned that this is not the source of the buzzing.

This past summer, i got a double ear infection for about 3 weeks. i noticed some hearing loss in the fall, and saw an audiologist who informed me that i have a perforated eardrum. Since then, the buzzing has increased (it is all i can hear sometimes!) and i am very sensitive to sound, specific sounds especially, such as my boyfriend's voice, one of my coworkers voices, the dog barking, things clanging together, etc. when i hear these sounds, it feels as though my eardrum is swelling or throbbing, and there is often a crackling or popping sound. I also experience dizziness and vertigo. I've been to the ENT about this, CT scans came back negative for Menieres',so he removed the tube from that ear (which immediately made the buzzing sound worse) and told me things should start getting better. Well, they aren't getting better, and i'm running out of places to look!
By the way, I also have TMJ.

I would love some answers! does this sound like what you experience with hyperacusis? from what i've read, it seems like it may be, but i'd love to hear from ANYONE with ANY experience with my symptoms!

Thank you all so much for taking the time!


Posts: 18
Reply with quote  #2 
You have been through quite a lot with your ears, and I can understand your frustration.  It is not easy when you feel you have to find the answers on your own.  From my own experience with hyperacusis, just about any sound over a certain level causes discomfort and this level of sound is not bothering anybody else around me, voices, printers, music, etc, it doesn't really matter.  The sound of water from a faucet is bad for me.  But sounds with high pitched tones like on cell phone ringers, sirens, or sounds like dishes or bottles hitting each other, keys jingling, shaking a bottle of pills, crumbling paper or even crumbling plastic bags are the worst, and I do have a crackling sound in my ears (mostly left) when exposed to those sounds.  The snap of a light switch a few days ago caused a sharp pain in my left ear and caused the ringing in that ear to increase for a long time.  The ear "fullness" sensation is also very common and can be very annoying on its own.  How was the noise from the CT scan, I have had a couple and they were very noisy to me, even with earplugs.  I was diagnosed with Meinere's Disease many years ago, since I had tinnitus and also some balance and dizziness problems.  Testing showed impaired balance functions in both ears.  I was not aware that Meinere's could be diagnosed from a CT scan. 

I would seek additional opinions from other ENTs and perhaps a neurologist, if you haven't already done so.  There is still a lot that is unknown or poorly understood regarding hearing, and my experience has been that many doctors can be kind of in the dark on these things.  I originally went to 6 ENTs and only one was aware of hyperacusis.  I would also not dismiss the possibility that an SSRI antidepressant like paxil or lexapro would not be related to the tinnitus. Check out the list of medications with tinnitus as a side effect that is on this site.  Most SSRIs are listed as frequent.

I hope these comments are of some benefit, and I'm sure others have more to add.


Posts: 208
Reply with quote  #3 
Hello laryanita,

You sound beyond frustrated !  When there are several conditions impacting your well being at the same time, it does get complicated and a sort of desperation sets in.  I don't have ear issues, but I have had hyperacusis my entire life (along with hyperacute hearing), so I can relate to your experience with sounds that are either very annoying, or down right painful. 

I also used an SSRI for years, and my experience was that it helped with the hyperacusis, and did not cause any buzzing in my head.  There is recent research showing that increases of serotonin help those with hyperacusis by increasing their tolerance levels for noise.  I suspect the buzzing was caused by something else, and the SSRI was just incidental and not a causative factor (although their is some documentation for SSRI's causing tinnitus).

It sounds like you have an eardrum that needs to heal, which may be permanently damaged.  Have the ENT's examined your eardrum thoroughly ?  A perforated eardrum is certainly the likely culprit of your problems.  You mentioned the ENT removed the ear tube and said you would get better, but instead you got worse.  Have you been back to see this ENT, to tell him/her that you are in fact worse now ?

Hyperacusis is a collapsed tolerance for noise, or noise that is painful to hear.  I have both, and my ears are fine.  I also find my husbands voice painful at times, and request that he be quiet during those times.  I also understand the pain from clanging pots, dogs barking, certain voices, sometimes running tap water, the furnace kicking on, the hum
of my laptop fan.  All of those things cause me pain.  But the pain I feel is not in my ears.  The ears themselves never hurt.  My ears never feel "full", never ache, there is no throbbing nor cracking or popping sound inside my ears.

You mentioned that you have had "ear issues" forever, not "sound issues" forever.  It seems that the sound issues are new and more recent, and could certainly be because of damage to your eardrum.  You may want to pursue a multi faceted approach to this aggravating problem.  First of all see if the medical community can maybe surgically fix your eardrum.  Find nutritional support for the healing process, and in addition use ear protection so that further damage is not done to the eardrum.  I would not hesitate to use ear plugs and Bose noise canceling headsets for protection while you are exploring how to fix your eardrum.

Your hyperacusis seems to have already been identified by your ENT, that dang perforated eardrum.  Now it is just a matter of treating the cause effectively. 

Keep us posted on what happens, and I hope you are able to find permanent relief,


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