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Addiction: Substance Abuse Community
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Avatar universal

oxycodone tinnitus

I have been on opiates on & off almost 2 years.  The doctor switched me to oxycodone 6 months ago & I have been a daily user since then. I also take gabepentin & Baclofen for pain & muscle spasms the pain triggers. About 2-3 months ago I started feeling pressure in my ears & tinnitus in my right ear, especially at night.  I saw my allergist and he said I might have hearing loss.  Now I need to see an ENT to get my ears checked. Somehow I think its related to the opiates, especially the oxycodone. Does anyone know about this? Will it go away when I stop using, or is it permanent?
23 Responses
8976007 tn?1413330650
i have been on oxycodone for a long time and have never experienced this.
you could ask for a lower dose or be put on hydrocodone instead.
side effects of any medication can vary so much for each person.
if possible try taking non opiate medication because if one opiate causes that then likely any opiate will
Avatar universal
i started out on hydro 5mg then was switch to oxy 5mg.  A few months ago changed to 10mg so I don't think cutting back will be easy as I am also addicted plus have chronic pain.  I have also snorted them.  I am terrified to admit this to a doctor though but suspect an ENT my piece the puzzle together. Should I come clean with the ENT? I realize he might figure it out or ask me.  My husband says NOT to admit it, once something gets written down it never goes away.  I'm scared I'm going deaf not sure if its from taking opiates in general or snorting them. I don't know what to do...
Avatar universal
i started out on hydro 5mg then was switch to oxy 5mg.  A few months ago changed to 10mg so I don't think cutting back will be easy as I am also addicted plus have chronic pain.  I have also snorted them.  I am terrified to admit this to a doctor though but suspect an ENT my piece the puzzle together. Should I come clean with the ENT? I realize he might figure it out or ask me.  My husband says NOT to admit it, once something gets written down it never goes away.  I'm scared I'm going deaf not sure if its from taking opiates in general or snorting them. I don't know what to do...
8976007 tn?1413330650
well, i tend to agree with your husband.  
whether you are in chronic pain or not you are abusing them and should stop taking them.  it is hard and i DO UNDERSTAND why someone would chew or snort them because it does work faster, but once you get to that point the only option is to stop.
how long will it be since you last snorted when you see your ENT? how often did you do it and for how long?
if you only did it a few times i don't think they will be able to tell, but if you did it often and continue to do it they will know.
i have NEVER snorted anything, but doctors think i did until i tell them i used afrin for 20 yrs, but that looks different than snorting drugs
Avatar universal
Hi- Chronic opiate use can lead to loss of hearing; it's well documented. Your ENT will have some suggestions for you.

Only you know that you abuse opiates and you'll find a way to cut back or quit. With chronic pain, which you'll tell the doctor you have, it's understandable why you've been taking opiates.  I wouldn't worry about the doctor visit but I would get it checked right away before there's more damage.

Good luck-
Avatar universal
Jinx_777 yes I know snorting is abusing them.  I have had 2 surgeries already and will have another later this month.  It took awhile for them to truly identify my issues, and there are several things going on with me.  I hope this coming surgery will provide bigger picture relief.  I did tell my pain doctor that I had become addicted to them (just prior to him increasing my dosage) and he said well that comes with the territory when you have chronic pain and need to take medications daily.  The only guidance he offered was to only take a pill if I truly need it for pain.  Jinx, as you mentioned, I started snorting because the pain keeps me awake and it takes 20-30 minutes for it to start kicking in when taken orally, whereas snorting gives quicker relief.  Then I began to like the snorting process so I admit it will be hard to stop.  Regardless of why or how I got here, I am addicted to them and suffer withdrawal when I cut back stop my medication.  

Vicki595 - I guess out of embarrassment I don't want to tell the ENT I snorted them.  I had read opiates can be associated with hearing loss. What I am uncertain of is if it is permanent or if there is any hope my hearing will return to normal when I cut back or stop (hopefully after my next surgery).  I will tell the ENT all of my medications that I take in hope that he can help me.  I am desperately hoping my hearing loss/tinnitus is only temporary!
Avatar universal
To answer your questions - I have snorted maybe 1.5 pills a day on average (I cut it into 1/4 at a time) for a few months.  I just scheduled an ENT appointment for 8/12 and wont abuse them between now and then but will still take them orally.  
1742220 tn?1331356727
sorry to say I have permanent hearing loss/damage from abusing Vicodin.  I have tinnitus in my right ear prominently but issues with both.  my hearing is still quite good, however :))  Also I abused Vicodin heavily for 14 years.  good luck!
Avatar universal
Oh one more thing, when I felt I was becoming addicted and developing tolerance to 5m oxy I asked to doctor to switch me to a non opiate.  He said it wouldn't be enough to help my pain levels, and ironically increased my dosage to 10mg!  Go figure...
Avatar universal
Thanks meegWpaw.  14 years is a long time - I'm sure you've seen the best and worst of opiate addiction.  Did you completely stop?  Did symptoms get better or stay the same when you stop?  Did you tell your doctor you were abusing Vicodin when you had your ears checked? I took Vicodin as prescribed for 1.5 years but got switched to straight IR oxycodone a few months ago. That's when I began abusing it (snorting).  I'm sorry your hearing loss is permanent but glad it isn't so severe and you can still hear well.
Avatar universal
From what I've read, it can be permanent. As far as the snorting goes, just wait and see.  Follow his lead, if he asks...be honest. But he may not. The thing is, they've heard it all before. I've cared for folks who are not addicts yet snort their meds because the pain relief is faster.  Don't worry.
1742220 tn?1331356727
classic ... what?  jk.   um yes I did abuse it for a looong time.  I am still struggling with relapse, but my use in the past few years has been drastically less than when I was using 24/7.  I did not talk to my doctor about it.  Imo, the symptoms got better but I really have no way of knowing for sure.  I think partly I am just used to it.  Suffice it to say that it doesn't often bother me too much.  If it's really quiet I notice it the most.  Seems like it's good news in your case ... thanks and best to you.  :)
Avatar universal
Classic fall as in fall from grace, I guess.  Didn't think about it much when coming up with my user name. :). I hope my hearing loss isn't permanent.  Its possible its from a recent bout of really nasty allergies & asthma.  My allergist said my ears looked a little red & angry but if its been going on for a couple months I might have permanent hearing loss & its time to see an ENT doctor.  I didn't & don't plan to volunteer that I snorted the drug, unless asked.  Even then I will only answer that question if they promise nothing will be written down on my file.  Thanks for the info & replying to my post - I do appreciate you sharing with me!
1742220 tn?1331356727
oh im sorry I was just referring to you as "classic," not questioning your name.  the "what" was an attempt at humor about my hearing loss ...  anyways I really hope everything turns out good for you.  happy to answer any other questions.  :)
Avatar universal
OMG - Ok - i get it now.  i may be slow but i get there eventually.  No worries hun.  ^_~
1742220 tn?1331356727
:)))  I like your name.
Avatar universal
Hi,
I use a substance called Kratom for chronic pain, on many of the message boards on the net people say it has gotten them off prescription pain medication and addictions. Maybe it could help. I really works and makes you feel in a very good mood too...also on Amazon a product called Vivazen that has Kratom in it that is very good, but kind of pricey...
Avatar universal
Yes I definitely had tinnitus from opiates. I took norcos. I only noticed it if I took more than usual dose if my pain was really bad. It would go away. Usually came when I laid done to sleep. Drive me nuts.

Yes I snorted too. It made the pain go away so much faster as you say. Then it was a habit too. Finally it just started clogging up my nose. Not the powder, but something my nose was doing. It was horrible. In December I stopped that. Started taking orally and reducing it gradually till I was so low (like a 1/4 pill at a time) that I was able to stop fairly easily. When I stopped snorting my ears and sinuses hurt something fierce for a while. But that went away too. My nose finally cleared up too. So nice.

So yes it most likely is the pills. Stop snorting please. And start tapering down. You get off. I don't remember seeing why you take them though. That means a lot too. But many of us have stopped. We can live with the pain or find other solutions too.
Avatar universal
And please do not use Kratom. No no!!  It can cause so many problems. And it can be addicting too. The stories I have read scared me enough to not try it. Plus I'm not sure if it is legal in all places or not.
Avatar universal
I took pain killers for a few years. I'm not bragging but I never snorted it or exceeded the recommended dose.  I took about half of what I was prescribed.

I stopped the ibuprofen/with codeine.  Within a few weeks I developed loud ringing/tinnitus.  I've been prescibed anti anxiety medicine for the tinnitus.  It helps very little except for I sleep great.   I've researched extensively and tried different supplements but without improvement.

The one thing I've taken that has made (for me) a significant improvement is about 800mg of Red Vein Kratom.  It really calms the ringing down for 6 to 8 hours.  There may be a some rebound though.  I try to use the Kratom once every three days.
Avatar universal
I took pain killers for a few years. I'm not bragging but I never snorted it or exceeded the recommended dose.  I took about half of what I was prescribed.

I stopped the ibuprofen/with codeine.  Within a few weeks I developed loud ringing/tinnitus.  I've been prescibed anti anxiety medicine for the tinnitus.  It helps very little except for I sleep great.   I've researched extensively and tried different supplements but without improvement.

The one thing I've taken that has made (for me) a significant improvement is about 800mg of Red Vein Kratom.  It really calms the ringing down for 6 to 8 hours.  There may be a some rebound though.  I try to use the Kratom once every three days.
Avatar universal
Baclofen was my serious tinnitus trigger. Years of keyboard playing in a coverband had giving me some hearing loss before, which brought me some mild tinnitus sounding as pink noise in my missing ear frequencies.
Then I started with Baclofen. This soon resulted in somewhat maniac behavior and enthusiasm ,pleasant  musical perfectionism but very oversensitive crystal clear ears, What I later learned called hyperacusis. By the time I did not know this and I thought my band was playing louder and louder, then I start hearing triple tones and ringing in my left ear.

Alone, in a quiet room I heard a sort of rumbling sound which for a time I thought was the wind blowing outside, trembling my house.

That's why I stopped my musical career, the fellow musicians nor my family didn't feel much empathy for my weird hearing problems.
The hearing loss felt not that bad, but rumbles and extra tones when people talked to me, I did find that very troublesome.

After a silent period I recovered most of the hearing loss and tinnitus. But my then only one stupid performed live gig started the problems all over again.

I'm not a doctor, but I have some medical education. My 2 cents are. Balclofen relaxes the ear muscles and by that strongly decreases the safe dynamic range. Resulting in ear damage by loud music. After this impact the ear muscles start trembling, causing low tremble tinnitus.  This muscles getting stronger and stronger by this activation.
(Like the muscles in a frowning forehead without botox releave)

What helped me:
Sometimes a little Xanax in small dosis before sleeping.
I bought every Bose QC noice-canceling headphones, which gave me great relief. QC20 for sleeping, QC25 and 35 for music.
I'm a very social person but my sensitive ears made me almost to be a loner, only comfortable without any relationships surrounding me. Even avoiding my own child.

Now I'm aware of my cause of problem and finding not much medical support or knowledge I still keep triggering my ears to make them not to sensitive.
Try to keep up my social life, and use my Qc20 as a safeguard..
Lots of holidays at sea, trying many things makes it getting better and better and acceptable.
3197167 tn?1348968606
Putting 2-3 drops of Castor Oil in your ear followed by some cotton to hold it in can help with some cases of tinnitus as well as other ear/hearing problems.  It's very inexpensive and surely worth a try.
  
http://www.tinnitus123.com/castor-oil-for-tinnitus/
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