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Ringing in my ears
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Ringing in my ears

Since approx 15 weeks into my tx, I have had ringing in my ears.  

When I went in for my 18 week update, I asked my GI doctor about it, and he said that he had not heard of this as being a side effect of the tx.  

So I went to my regular doctor, and she said that ringing in the ears could be caused by the Wellbutrin and the Ibuprofen that I'm taking.   (I was taking 3-4 tablets of 800mg a day of Ibuprofen)

Which *****.  I can't stop taking the wellbutrin, I was a basket case emotionally and it has leveled me out.  And the Ibuprofen has been my pain med of choice for everything from cramps, headache, body ache, toothache, you name it.  

For my tx side effects, primarily headache/bodyache, I was taking Ibuprophen.  It seemed to work very well for me.  But now, because of this ringing in the ears, my doctor advised me to stop.  So I stopped taking it.

Now, I am so miserable most of the time, I almost want to take the Ibuprophen and to hell with the ringing in the ears, but I am afraid that it might become a permanent problem.  

So, what are my choices?  Tylenol is hard on the liver, Ibuprofen is out.  My doctor prescribed me Gabapentin, which she said has been successfully used for pain, but was originally developed for epilepsy.    

This seems to help, but it does make me very sleepy.  This is great for when I'm trying to get my sleep, but I can't take it during the day (I drive to/from work and can't be sleepy at work).  

I've stopped taking the Ibu for over a week, and still have the ringing in my ears.  (I'm going to ask the GI if he can prescribe something other than wellbutrin for the emotional rollercoaster I was having a problem with prior to taking it.)

I don't know what else to do.  Does anyone have any ideas that I can suggest to my doctor?  The pain I'm trying to manage also includes sciatic nerve pain in my leg due to degenerative disk disease.  That and the headache/bodyache from the tx.  

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17 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_f_tn
I had ringing in my ears while on tx also, and I'm still having it 6 months post tx.   During tx I did not take Ibu or Wellbutrin so the ringing was related to the tx drugs.  

You may want to try Tylenol for your pain as thats what a lot of people on tx take but only in recommended doses.  My doctor said it would not harm the liver unless you take too much.  Tylenol helped me get through tx and was a great pain reliever.
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9648_tn?1290094807
I had tinitus in the ears before tx but it definitely got worse at about the same time you got yours. I'm five weeks post and there's still a loud ringing in my ears.

I wasn't taking any anti-depressents, anti-inflamatories, or pain meds. Just the SOC and trial drug (boceprevir) and Procrit.

I'm hoping things quiet down soon  . . .
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Avatar_m_tn
I had a buzzing sound "inside "of my head while on the boceprevir but it gone now but i still do feel a small bit only in the morning just after i wake up and lie in bed and it only happens when i lay on my back,I mentioned this to my doc and he thinks its someting to do with my ear drums.I cant say its my ears or not,its hard to tell.But if im SVR at my 6 month post,it is still worth the price.


"People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and the New Year, but they really should be worried about what they eat between the New Year and Christmas."
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Avatar_f_tn
I am on treatment and I have ringing in my ears. Very annoying!
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Avatar_f_tn
I have the ringing in my ears also. Just finished tx 3 wks ago and still have it some just not as much. I think it gets better as the meds get out of your system
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601210_tn?1302660252
My son also had ringing in his ears during and after treatment.  He was not taking the wellbutrin or ibuprofin.  He did go to an audiologist and had his hearing checked, no problem hearing.  She said many meds can cause the ringing and they did not understand why the brain causes this ringing sound.  I believe it was from the treatment drugs.  She told him to try to mask the ringing with other sounds (white noise).  Unfortunately, we were told not much can be done for it.
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619930_tn?1260377854
I developed tinitius during tx (although I might have had a mild form of it prior to tx) and still have it 7 months post EOT.  I had a hearing exam and was told that the brain will try to train itself to ignore it and make it bearable.  There is no pill or operation, at this time, that will help.  It is annoying, but I am getting used to it...kind of.  Hope all goes well for you.
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Avatar_f_tn
There are enough people who have gotten tinnitus after being on treatment that I'm personally of the opinion that it's yet one more of the potential side effects.  This time, rather than interferon, I'm of the opinion that it's the anemia caused by ribavirin that's the culprit.  One fellow I know developed this after being on treatment and it's stayed with him.  I did notice the ringing in my ears when my hemoglobin dropped and it went away - I was on procrit to keep my hgb above certain levels.  

http://www.ehealthmd.com/library/tinnitus/TIN_causes.html

Tinnitus may also occur along with certain other medical conditions, such as:

Anemia, or a condition in which blood levels of hemoglobin, the part of red blood cells that carries oxygen to nourish the tissues of the body, are below normal

I'd be interested to know how your hgb has been while you've been on treatment.  Like most things on treatment, what side effects occur for some people don't happen to others under exactly the same conditions, i.e. some people who develop thyroid issues will see them clear up after treatment and others will find that they become permanent.  The same situation can occur with tinnitus, which is "ringing in the ears".

If it becomes a permanent condition, you can start to do your research.  There are different strategies that people use to manage their tinnitus and you will need to educate yourself.  I hope it goes away....be aware that it might not.

I do not know enough in this area, i.e. what happens when tinnitus shows itself while on drug therapy and what is done to mitigate it.   I WOULD however talk to your doctor again about tinnitus and the fact that anemia is one of the causes and discuss what your options are.  It might be worth asking your doctor to consult with an ENT, an Ear Nose and Throat specialist, as they are the ones who deal with Tinnitus and perhaps there will be some information there on how to combat tinnitus at the onset and perhaps ways to prevent it from taking hold.

I hope that helps.

Trish
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Avatar_f_tn
Interesting...I didn't notice initially that a little further down that same page on what other conditions tinnitus can occur with that the following is included:

"Hypothyroidism, or low levels of thyroid hormone production "

This is one of the side effects that can occur during treatment also, hypothyroidism.  Interesting to see tinnitus tied in with this also.  Tinnitus definitely can happen to persons on treatment, it's a matter of what causes it, can it be prevented or mitigated and does it remain beyond EOT sometimes.
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1156261_tn?1268364094
I have had tinnitus for over 20 yrs .Did Tx  and still have it.Like Pilgrim was told you learn to live with it.No treatment or cure.
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Avatar_f_tn
Here's a study from the NIH site that's just in time to ring in the New Year. It focuses
on reducing tinnitus, not explaining the underlying cause and reinforces what Kciav's son's audiologist said about white noise:


http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_93489.html

Study says tailored music therapy can ease tinnitus

Monday, December 28, 2009

LONDON (Reuters) - Individually designed music therapy may help reduce noise levels in people suffering from tinnitus, or ear ringing, German scientists said on Monday.

The researchers designed musical treatments adapted to the musical tastes of patients with ear-ringing and then stripped out sound frequencies that matched the individual's tinnitus frequency.

After a year of listening to these "notched" musical therapies, patients reported a distinct decrease in the loudness of ringing compared with those who had listened to non-tailored placebo music, the researchers wrote in a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.

Tinnitus is a common hearing problem in industrialized countries and the ear-ringing can be loud enough to harm quality of life in between one and three percent of the general population, the researchers said.

A European Union (EU) health panel raised the alarm in January about the potential hearing damage caused by young people playing their MP3 players too loud.

The EU Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks warned that listening to personal music devices at high volume for long periods could cause hearing loss and tinnitus, and their warning prompted the European Commission to issue new safe volume standards for MP3 players.

The German researchers said the precise cause of tinnitus is not known, but the auditory cortex -- the region of the brain that processes sound -- is often distorted in those who have it.

Christo Pantev of the Institute for Biomagnetism and Biosignalanalysis at Westfalian Wilhelms-University, Germany, who led the study, said his findings on targeted listening suggested that tinnitus volume could be "significantly diminished by an enjoyable, low-cost, custom tailored notched music treatment."
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Related MedlinePlus Pages:

Tinnitus - http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/tinnitus.html
Date last updated: 29 December 2009

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997730_tn?1254281976
You said:  "I'd be interested to know how your hgb has been while you've been on treatment. "

Is hgb=Hemoglobin?  (I didn't see anything labeled hgb  on my lab reports)

If it is Hemoglobin, then when I started tx in September my Hemoglobin was 14.6, then  in November my Hemoglobin was12.1  The last tests I had done in early December it was 12.6. The 'normal' range on this test is 11.7 - 15.5.

I'm due for week 16 tests next week.

I did talk to my regular doctor about tinnitus, and she did a test and determined that I have some minor hearing loss (fog brain is failing me, I can't remember if it was the low or the high frequency I didn't hear).   My GI doctor said he was going to look into it and I'll ask when I go in for the next test reviews.  

Oddly enough, my regular doctor suffers also from tinnitus, so I would think she would be up on any kind of treatment/preventative measure.  

She has advised me to stop taking Ibuprofen.  (and I'm really missing it, my back is killing me this weekend and I can't get comfortable either sitting, standing, or lying down).  I ended up taking a vicoden, but the side effects of that kind of bug me, and it doesn't seem to last very long and I don't want to be taking a lot of that for fear of becoming dependent.  (It doesn't help with headache for me, in fact I think it causes it).
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412873_tn?1329178055
Ringing in the New Ear....sorry couldn't help the pun....

I had ringing in my ears through tx, it ended about 12 weeks out. I took 25 mgs of Zoloft until week 28, but not much else.  

Can you use heat or cold for the back pains?  Maybe massage?  I know, for me, just being on the couch more than normal gave my back and hips a fit..but massages helped.  

I hope it all gets better for you after tx.  Hang in there,

Isobella
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997730_tn?1254281976
"Ringing in the New Ear"

HA!  Very funny.  :)
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Avatar_f_tn
"Oddly enough, my regular doctor suffers also from tinnitus, so I would think she would be up on any kind of treatment/preventative measure.   "

With regards to treatment, I was more referring to if  it becomes permanent. It's not something on just has to live with and nothing that can help it.  It's a difficult condition to treat, for sure, but there are different strategies that work for some people.  With regards to preventative, I was referring to alternatives that might be available if it is indeed drug-induced and while your doctor has tinnitus herself, her knowledge may be more specific to the variables of her own condiation while an ENT would be familiar with tinnitus from treating a wide variety of people and may have a little more to offer.   When my thyroid kicked in during treatment, I didn't stick with my family doctor because he has thyroid issues also.  I went to see an endocrinologist who specializes in that.

As for Tylenol being hard on the liver, that's come up here before however you CAN take Tylenol while on treatment.  That was exactly what my treatment team prescribed for me for aches and pains while on treatment and there are a number of others here who took Tylenol while on treatment.  If indeed the ibuprofen is the source, you might want to swap it out for Tylenol.  From my bit of familiarity working with an organization for 7 years that deals with various hearing issues, tinnitus is not alot of fun.  If you can avoid it becoming permanent simply by swapping Tylenol for ibuprofen, you might want to at least consider it and start doing some research into your options and perhaps ask for a referral to an expert in dealing with these things.  Just tossing thoughts your way.

Link for others suffering from this:

http://www.kadis.com/ta/links.htm

http://www.ata.org/ - American Tinnitus Association

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997730_tn?1254281976
Thanks for the advice Trish.  

I am going to have to wait until my new insurance kicks in, as I was forced to change ins. companies right in the middle of this treatment.  Needless to say, I'm a bit nervous about it.  I have not yet received any info or a new card from the new company, which is supposed to go into effect on 1/4.  My previous ins. expired on 12/31... so I am actually in a gap without coverage at this moment.  (scary!  I should stay away from driving, etc. this weekend).  

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1033121_tn?1270191046
I have Tinnitus too... though mine disapeared for a bit during treatment...im now 2 months out of treatment and its still with me...  its like a high-pitched noise only heard in dead silence on the right side of head... Its like a build up of pressure thats causing it - i say this because only time ive experienced this sorta ringing is when blood rushes to your head or dizzy spells (except then they are more prominent and louder) and when I go to bed and lie down it turns into a dull-hum and its awfull... its like someone has a washing machine on a few doors down....  i hate it!!

also IBUPROFEN is a big NO NO on treatment so ive been told and Tylenol (Paracetamol?) is much preferred.... something to do with affecting something whilst on TX...
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