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Hi everyone, I woke up this morning to a pleasant surprise: the ringing in my ears has stopped (not completely but hardly noticeable). I never blogged about it before today, but now I’d like to share my experience with everyone.
Background: I am 48 yr old female, healthy, married with 2 kids, and lives a good family and work life in Ontario-Canada.
Here’s my story: The ringing in my ears started 3 month ago after a dental surgery where my dentist cut a bridge and extracted tooth. Needless to say he drilled in my mouth for almost 2 hours. After the surgery he gave me Amoxicillin. Few days in taking Amoxicillin, I noticed this high cricket noise in my ears, I tried to ignore it first but it was so load and it freaked me out. I googled ‘ear ringing’ and to my surprise there IS such thing!. I never heard about tinnitus before.
Two weeks after my dental surgery, I underwent a scheduled surgery for ligaments reconstruction in my ankle (sport injury). After the surgery my tinnitus gotten even worse. I remember staying home in pain, not able to move, and have to listen to this constant ringing in my ears.
Living in Ontario where referral to ENT specialist takes a minimum of 5 month and after rolling out the obvious reasons like ear wax and hearing loss. I started my research, and I noticed that there are days where my tinnitus is better/worse. With some help via skype from my brother who’s ENT (but lives overseas), we developed a daily diary in Excel where we listed all factors that may affect tinnitus. I filled-in the sheet and rated each factor on daily basis and on scale from 1-10, along with my tinnitus level for the day. My Excel sheet included the following categories.
1- Medication I took for the day (to find any correction between my tinnitus and ototoxicity)
2- Food I ate (correlation between tinnitus and different food allergy mainly gluten for me due to family history)
3- Any stimulant I took (correlation between tinnitus and blood circulation). Mainly caffeine for me.
4- My allergy level for the day measured by skin itchiness, sinus congestion..) ( correlation with inflammation)
5- My inflammation level ( measured by how easily my ring can move around my figure or in and out)
6- My stress level for the day (since this is subjective, I ask my husband to rate me! He’s the one who deals with my temper anyway)
7- Exercised or not? ( blood circulation again)
8- My tinnitus level for the day, measured by level of suffering to fall asleep!
I recorded all the above factors on scale from 1 to 10. I kept recording for 2 month and then without running any ANOVA or any kind of statistical analysis, it was evident to me that my tinnitus went so much worse in 3 occasions where I took antibiotic ( Amoxicillin mainly) in conjunction with ibuprofen.
Also, my tinnitus was aggravated by eating bread (gluten allergy) and certain species (thyme and rosemary..)
It was worse on days where my inflammation went up (whether due to menstrual period coming, high intake of fat, or salt..)
It was worse on days when I was stressed out (my stress was due to my tinitus, so it was a vicious cycle)
Exercise helped, tinnitus was better on days when I walked 20 min. it helped me fall asleep faster and it enhanced my circulation.
Finally, I ran ANOVA in excel which conformed my doubts on the above correlations that I felt.
For last month and as a result of my analysis, this is what I did:
• I cut down on all medications even OTC. If I ever had to take medication I refer to the ototoxicity list (google it) to avoid any medication that causes ear poisoning.
• I cut coffee and tea completely (which was the hardest for me to do);
• I went on gluten free/ anti inflammation diet and exercised even a little every day .
• I cut from my diet any food/drink that is not natural (soda, sweetener, processed food..). I checked the ingredient list; if I cannot read it then I shouldn’t be eating it! (ototoxicity again)
• I changed my mind set toward tinnitus: I accepted it, made peace with it but I was determined
I will not let it rule my life.
• I was very vocal about it. I spoke to family members, and work colleagues. Sharing with others helped me manage my stress.
And viola today I am almost tinnitus free (cannot say 100%, because I still have a bit of ringing)
My approach was very scientific and I was diligent in finding out what makes my tinnitus worse. What helped me is some numerical analysis skills that I picked up from being engineer/financial modeler, and support of my husband, and my overseas brother (ENT) who helped me list all factors that may trigger/worsen tinnitus, and also to ask for tests to roll out some serious illnesses that may cause tinnitus.
Needless to say I did not get any of these tests but I got free audiology test which role out any hearing loss. During my 3 month ordeal I was not fortunate enough to see an ENT specialist because the waiting time ( 5 month). I went once to ER because the ringing was unbearable and deprived from my sleep. After waiting for hours, the ER doctor said there’s no ENT specialist on site but he assured me that my ears are not blocked from ear wax! And he gave me referral to an outside ENT specialist (i am still waiting to be called to schedule an appointment!). I was planning to go south (USA) and do the tests that I need, and pay for them, instead of waiting endlessly in Ontario. luckily I may not have to do it anymore.
My tinnitus started 15-Oct 2014 and ended today 18-jan-2015. I am almost free from tinnitus for 7 hours now and I cannot believe it!. Those who are with tinnitus I feel your pain. My advice to always listen your body and keep track of things that may affect your tinnitus. I encourage you to create a similar personalized diary and record factors that you think play a role in your tinnitus. You may not be able to stop it completely but you will be able to manage the intensity of it. I wish the best to all of you. God Bless.
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