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Humming / Vibration in my left ear
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Humming / Vibration in my left ear

Hi. I am a 33 year old male. I have had what I believe to be tinnitus for about 7 years now. Normally though it is bearable and I can cope with it by masking it with a tv or radio. However, I caught a cold the week before last and on the 5th day my tinnitus went crazy and has stuck like that, so for about 6 days now. My left ear has a deep humming sound to it, like electrical, or a truck parked close by with the engine on. It sounds external, but it isn't. When I am in a quiet room I feel my head will explode as the noise is so intense and strong and loud, my whole head feels like it is buzzing.

The only room I feel comfortable in is the one with an air conditioner, as even though that is around 80db, I prefer that noise to my head noise. Although even the loudest noise doesn't fully cover it, as I can still feel deep vibrations around my ear area. Even a TV and radio is not loud or constant enough to mask it. I assumed this was just due to my cold and it will get better, but my cold has virtually gone now, I just have a slightly stuffy nose as an after effect of the cold.

All I took during the cold was one decongestant tablet, and about 7 squirts of nose decongestant, as my nose was so blocked I couldn't breath at night. I blew my nose MANY times, and hard. I also used eucalyptus to help with my breathing. Could any of these cause it ?

I had a small bit of hope last night that didn't last long, I blew my nose hard and my left ear slightly popped, and the tinnitus seemed to decrease a bit, and I was so happy. But within 5 minutes it was back to normal again. Does it sound hopeful that I can get the tinnitus back to a quiet level that it was prior to the cold ? I am worried the head cold virus has permanently damaged my ears.

I am so frustrated as not only do I have the tinnitus to cope with but I wake up every hour with deep paper style cuts on my upper and lower lip and tongue and a dry throat due to my blocked nose.

Thanks for any help you can give !!
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Dear blizzarduk,

Thanks for writing in.

I understand your predicament. Having gone through your history, I would like to make the following comments.

Get a Tympanogram done to check middle ear pressures and Eustachian Tube function. If this Impedance Audiogram is abnormal, then a trial of medication should be taken for three to four weeks. If this does not work, a myringotomy with a grommet insertion may help. Steroid drops can be given through this ventilation tube.

The Eustachian tube is normally in a collapsed state. It can be voluntarily opened by yawning, swallowing, chewing gum, blowing your nose or performing the Valsalva maneuver. A Tympanogram and eardrum examination is more important. Sometimes decongestants may worsen tinnitus. Eucalyptus does not. Blowing your nose many times forcefully may be the cause. Any cold may also worsen Tinnitus as viral and bacterial toxins diffuse into the inner ear.

A MRI Scan is usually advised in a patient of vertigo so as not to miss any major cause. I must emphasize that these conditions are rare (most are benign and extremely slow growing) and almost 99% of MRIs are normal.

If steroids do not control your tinnitus and your middle ear is normal (no eustachian dysfunction), then you may try Caroverine injectable or capsules. This needs to be done under the guidance of your physician.

Hope that this information helps and hope that you will get better soon.

Thank you for using MedHelp's "Ask an Expert" Service, where we feature some of world's renowned medical experts in their fields. Millions have benefitted from our service to get personalized advice for them and for their loved ones.

Best Regards,
Dr. Sumit Bhatti
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