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DAC16

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hello,

I am fortunate to not be suffering like most of you. It has been about 9 years or so since I was in the thick of it. I will write a bit about me and the experiences I had as soon as I can. It is more important to share my theory (for myself, it is a conclusion, as I have no doubt whatsoever). I will simply say that I believe strongly that Hyperacusis is a symptom of Sleep Apnea as well as results from. Tinnitus could arguably be as well. The last thing I would want to do is spread false hope. I am 100% positive that Sleep Apnea was responsible for "my" Hyperacusis and Tinnitus. I feel pretty darn comfortable urging anyone and everyone to pursue Sleep Apnea as a possible cause of their Hyperacusis and Tinnitus and will try to explain why.

As most of you already know the ear's Stapedius and Tensor Tympani muscles are the obvious places to begin. Sleep Apnea results in both a drop in blood oxygen, often severe and an increase in blood pressure, often severe. That conversation usually ends there, but what about the impact that has on various parts of our body, like muscles, nerves, organs etc..? Point blank, low oxygen level in the blood can and does cause tissue and nerve damage. I do not know whether the damage is always permanent, but in my case it appears it was not. 

The Stapedius muscle is the smallest skeletal muscle in the human body and along with the Tensor Tympani acts to dampen sound pressure. Inflammation is common with Sleep Apnea and as I write this, I am in huge pain just from my CPAP needing pressure adjustment and not keeping from suffocating during sleep. My ears are doing ok, but I can feel fluttering, slight pain, and pressure. My whole body aches, inflammation big time. An inflamed and fatigued Stapedius muscle due to oxygen deprivation and high blood pressure could certainly not function well with regard to dampening sound pressure at the ear. The inflammation of that muscle which is a mechanical part of our hearing system could certainly be audible (tinnitus). I understand that damage to hair cells, recruitment is in the mix as well. But hairs cells don't regrow. I personally have minimal to no Tinnitus anymore. Something corrected itself and it wasn't my hair cells. 

What are the chances the Stapedius, the smallest skeletal muscle in the body and the nerve that triggers it are immune to the effects of severely low oxygen and cranking high blood pressure encountered during Hypopnea? In my case, when tested was over 60 of them an hour averaging 33 seconds each! I would argue zero and none. Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea caused me chronic body pain since I was a child (40 plus years). I could hear for miles when I was a kid and now I know why. 

There is of course theories about TMJ, which I also suffered from. That was reduced about 90% with use of a CPAP. Pretty traumatic to suffocate all night. Would explain why I clenched my teeth like a savage and woke every morning stresses to the max and feeling literally traumatized.

Along with the low oxygen and high blood pressure, the Adrenal Glands are under stress as one could imagine. One of the biggest things to mention here is the link between the Adrenal Glands and the Sympathetic Nervous System (responsible for fight or flight).

The Sympathetic Nervous System is overactive already in most people do to everyday stress and multitasking etc.. It is supposed to be heightened only when under immediate threat for survival, then subside and let the Parasympathetic Nervous System run the show (calm, relaxed digestion and healing mode). 

Ask yourself if you feel like you're stuck in "fight or flight" mode, stressed to the max, panic, worry, and of course the exhaustion that comes with it. If so, I'd like to suggest Progressive Relaxation Exercises. I cannot begin to tell you how much relief this can provide. I happened across a book called Total Relaxation by Dr. John Harvey that has a CD in it. I have no relationship to this man whatsoever and hope it's not a problem to mentioning his book? I have many times considered filling my trunk with this book and handing them out to the masses. If you are unfamiliar with Progressive Relaxation, essentially it is a process of one by one, tightening and relaxing the muscles throughout your body, then one by one imagining each is heavy and warm. Deep diaphragmatic breathing is also practiced with this. It is difficult to "relax", release tension in your mind, muscles, chest etc at the drop of a hat.  What this process does is starts with what you can do and that is teach your muscles what it feels like to be tense and then relaxed again. You also have control over your breathing. You relax your breathing, you relax your muscles, your nervous system in turn relaxes, and then your mind has no choice. This is a systematic method for calming your Sympathetic Nervous System and returning to more Parasympathetic mode which you might not have experienced for years. 

Truly sorry to be rambling all over the place. Hope some of this made sense. Will answer any questions as best I can. Might be some delay in response, will reply as quick as possible.  

All the best! 

Don C

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Don Carpenter
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rodmccain

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Reply with quote  #2 
Hello,  This could possibly be true for some, but there is absolutely no doubt in my mind as to what caused my T and H.....noise injury!

Thank you for posting your story!

Kathy McCain

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janeygirl

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Reply with quote  #3 
I'm an oldie on this group too. Can you when you get a chance, tell us more about how to do progressive relaxation? I do know that I've had it directed on me before but it helps to have a tape or someone talking if it involves relaxing one body part after the other. I find doing deep breathing can help through a lot. I do believe that Hyperacusis and Tinnitis is definitely caused by noise, to me, it's an injury just like we injure another body part. I don't think sleep apnea helps with stress and immune system and if it's not treated, it can actually kill people, the apnea. 
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Jane Parks-McKay
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DAC16

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Reply with quote  #4 
Hi Kathy, 
 
Just read through my post again and eek! I sound like Mighty Mouse swooping in. Sorry if I came across that way.

My H presented itself after extended use of headphones and studio monitors and a loud blast of feedback one day flipped my H full on. Didn't know I had sleep apnea at the time and my job had me flying all over the place and working in loud factories. Jetlag, long days, and undiagnosed apnea left me in chronic fight or flight mode.  

The only things I can attribute to my H subsiding is diagnosis and treatment of my sleep apnea and calming of my nervous system. Even today, if I find myself exhausted from lack of sleep or experiencing anxiety for no apparent reason, my ears become sensitive to sound and often have T as well. Nowhere like before, but clearly noticeable. This is a result of my sympathetic nervous system being in overdrive and cortisol levels going through the roof. I've monitored this over and over again. The only thing that brings it on, for me at least, is high levels of stress.

I'm currently trying to figure out why I wake up with my heart pounding, fatigue all over, and feeling pretty much traumatized, when I go to bed feeling just fine? It is either related to CPAP use and quality of sleep or high cortisol levels during the night that puts me into fight or flight mode. Maybe both?
I wake up stressed to the max, but have nothing to be stress about. Just started getting back into progressive relaxation. I know first hand how much it helps me, but like anything else don't make it a habit. I know better and need to get of my butt and do it every morning and every night. 20 minutes of peace and relaxation, but I can't find the time hahaha. 

I look forward to chatting with you and others.

Best Regards,

Don

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Don Carpenter
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DAC16

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Reply with quote  #5 
Hi Jane, 

I have only done progressive relaxation exercises while following along with the CD that came with the book i mentioned. The section that walks you through tightening and relaxing arms, then legs, etc..he refers to as differential relaxation.

You lay down on the floor, preferably carpeted or put down a folded blanket. With your arms straight down at your sides, move them away from you so your hands are about 6" to 8" from your side. Imagine a center line from head to toe and then spread your feet about 6" to 8" away from that center line (about 12" - 16" between your feet) While doing the exercises it is important to breathe deeply and softly, eventually slowly. Ideally using diaphragmatic breathing where you inhale downward towards your waste, then exhale upwards towards your head rather than by expanding and contracting your upper chest. Deep diaphragmatic breathing is used to activate the Vagus nerve, which controls the parasympathetic nervous system. 

Ok, here goes...Let the floor support you. Close your eyes and rather than "focus" on "trying to relax", just let yourself be "nothing". If your mind is busy like mine, just center on thoughts of love for yourself, warmth, comfort, and healing.

Start by making a fist with your right hand, straighten your right arm and raise your fist about 3" to 4" off the floor. Hold this for about 8 seconds and while doing so relax the muscles in the rest of your body to create a clear difference between tense and relaxed parts of your body. After the 8 seconds or so, lower your right arm to the floor and let your whole body feel loose and relaxed. Repeat this step with your left arm. Then move to your right leg and straighten your knee, pointing the top of your foot up towards your head and raise your foot about 3" to 4" off the floor for about 8 seconds. Again, only your right leg should be activated, the rest of your body should be relaxed. After the 8 seconds, lower your right leg to the floor and relax your whole body. Repeat this with your left leg. Then do your right arm and left leg. Then do your left arm and right leg. Then both arms. Then both legs. Then both arms and both legs. Then move to your head and create a scowl at your forehead for 8 seconds, then relax. Then push your upper lip up towards your nose for 8 seconds then relax. Then clench your teeth for 8 seconds then relax. Then raise both shoulders up towards your ears for 8 seconds then relax. Then lift your head off the floor for 8 seconds then relax. Tighten your stomach muscles for 8 seconds then relax. Tighten your rump for 8 seconds then relax. Lastly, relax everything and imagine yourself sunk into the floor unlike when you started. Scan your body for any left over tension and let it go. Open your eyes slowly and slowly move your limbs, roll over to your side and sit up hopefully refreshed. 

This whole session usually takes 15 to 20 minutes. Super important to note that if you do this everyday, ideally in the morning and again before bed, you become more and more relaxed each time. Guess that's why it's called progressive. After a couple weeks, you will definitely notice than when you first lay down and take a deep breath and let go, your muscles with relax big time. You're teaching your muscles what it feels like to be relaxed. In turn, with relaxed muscles comes less active nerves. Less active nerves means less active mind. 

I myself can't meditate worth a darn. I'm unable to sit upright and be comfortable. For me, the exercise above along with the other one I will describe below are life changing. That said, I still struggle to make it a daily practice. Can't figure that one out...haha

One of the other sessions he refers to as autogenic training, which helps to balance the autonomic nervous system (sympathetic and parasympathetic).  If you can find the time, doing this exercise right after the first one is super. Even once a week. 

Start by laying on the floor, same arm and leg positions. Relax and let all tension go. 
First, imagine your right arm being heavy. Anything you can imagine to encourage your right arm to feel heavier than the rest of your body (maybe you're laying on a beach and your right arm is sinking more into the sand than the rest of you). Then imagine your left arm is heavy. Then both arms. Then your right leg. Then your left leg. Then both arms. Then both legs. Then both arms and both legs. Then imagine your whole body being heavy. Should take about 7 minutes in all. Then for the next 7 minutes, go through the same but this time imagine your right arm is warm. Then left arm is warm etc...Then for the last 7 minutes, imagine your right arm is heavy and warm. Then your left arm etc...When done, lay in this state for a few minutes and see if what I do next works for you. I imagine I'm laying on a beach and the sun is hot. I'm roasting and exhaling heat, tension, pain, and negative thoughts. When I inhale, I imagine the clouds blocking the sun and a cool breeze rolls in. I inhale this cool air and it is refreshing, positive, and purifying. When you get around to opening your eyes and rolling over to a sitting position, I think you'll feel wonderful the rest of the day. 

Hope I explained it fairly well. Glad to answer any questions you might have. 

Haven't checked, but their might be some audio on YouTube for this stuff? 

Best Regards, 

Don



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Don Carpenter
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Vi

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Reply with quote  #6 
I have read and came across many of the same complaints of the experiences here outside of this website regarding sleep apnea and the cpap. Some even had their stapes dislocated after long-term use, requiring surgery. 

I posted in another section that the middle ear behaves as a pressure chamber reservoir, which is easily affected by a dysfunctional anatomical structure (e.g. sinuses, eustachian tubes, mouth) that helps regulate air pressure and mucous in the ears. The ears have an intricate array of branched out nerves and arteries, much of them very small, so it makes sense (one of them even signals to the stomach muscles). There are a few research publications of this correlation to the cpap, so you are all correct. The odd thing, is that I have never seen any tests offered from audiologists or ENT to check your ears while you use one, such as the reflex and ear pressure with the forced air-flow. Do I make sense?

I don't have any answers but I wonder, since the original problem began from decreased air-intake (which DOES affect your ears) and for some "relaxation" techniques help which relaxes the throat muscles to enable better air-flow (and anxiety is decreased). If you are developing inflammation, it may help to go back to the source before it compounds to ear damage by having a specialist re-examine for any larger growths in the nose/throat, allergies, re-adjust cpap air pressure etc.?
I know it's a pain in the butt to do. [peace]  -Vi
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DAC16

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Reply with quote  #7 
Vi,

Thanks for the info. Interesting stuff and has me thinking about a couple things. 

I am very sensitive to mold and mildew and the bottom two courses of concrete block in my basement are super moldy. Haven't been able to spring for a remediation crew, as we need to address the ground water around the house first. I seem to be ok just going down there to do laundry, but if I move boxes around and stir up mildew my chest gets tight, my eyes get itchy, and my body starts to ache, including my ears. I don't believe it's the toxic type, but it sure bothers me. We moved into this home about 20 years ago and I've been feeling mildly lousy ever since. Maybe constant low level mold exposure is the reason. I'm going to find out.

Only saw an ENT (best in the city they said) one time back when my H was unbearable. Told him I think I have hyperacusis. He said what's that, put his otoscope in my ear and whammo! blasted a giant puff of air into my ear. I nearly passed out. He said I had recruitment as a result of being a musician and to expect it to get worse over time. Maybe it's time to try another ENT.

Best,

Don





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Don Carpenter
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Vi

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Reply with quote  #8 

Don, I agree with you too. I have the exact same issues.  It's becoming more problematic with many, especially with climate change (regardless some denying). All the rain and strange weather has increased pollen and spores etc.  This in turn saturates cement basement walls, floors as well as possibly in the walls with old insulation. Flu-bugs have evolved as well. 

I think you may benefit going to an Immunology/Allergist and go from there. It wouldn't hurt and specialists in this field are usually more thorough to actually try help address "invisible" health issues than those in otolaryngology (yep, I share same negative experiences too).  This url can help you locate one in your area if you're interested. [smile] -Vi 
http://www.aaaai.org

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DAC16

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Reply with quote  #9 
Vi, 

Thanks for the link. Going to call someone right now. 

Best Regards, 

Don

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Don Carpenter
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