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Tinnitus (Ringing in the Ears) & Diving
dontdiveenuf - 12/10/2013 7:30 AM
Category: Health & Safety
Replies: 11

I’m curious about other divers experiences, possible cures, and returning to diving:

About an hour after my last dive (Nov. 17) I developed an acute case of Tinnitus in one ear - about a 6 out of 10 on the annoyance scale. There were no problems with equalizing during the dive, and no vertigo during or after, and no sign of damage according to both the general doc I saw the same day, and the ENT I finally got in to see about a week after onset. There’s been some high-frequency hearing loss on the one side.

After a couple of days it had dropped to about a 3 on the annoy-o-meter and seems to be stabilized there, so I’m functioning alright on a daily basis, but haven’t returned to diving yet. The ringing seems to be a bit louder in the mornings, and sometimes it’s hard to get back to sleep at night if I wake up after a few hours.

The ENT prescribed a 2-week course of Prednisone, but I’m half-way thru and I’m not noticing much change. I tried Homeopathics and Accupuncture while waiting to see the ENT, but they didn’t seem to make much of a difference either.

Based on what I’ve seen from other parts of the internet I have a feeling I’m going to have to just learn to live with it, but I’m wondering if anyone has found any tricks or techniques to reduce the annoyance.
WarmWaterTurner - 12/10/2013 9:13 AM
Welcome to the club. I too had it appear suddenly one day and that was about 5 years ago. I personally have had little success in eliminating the ringing. As to the annoyance factor - it has faded to a degree over the years. I have also learned to sleep with my good ear down so that ambient noise in the room works to mask the ringing to a degree. I have noticed that when diving it almost goes clue about why.
dontdiveenuf - 12/10/2013 9:23 AM
I like the idea of masking the sound at night w/ ambient noise - I already sleep bad-ear-down, but I wonder how a ’white noise’ machine would go over with my wife... might be worth trying.

I’ve seen on other sites that some divers have reported the effect of reduced or eliminated ringing while at depth, although one person reported that it came back like mad as a pre-cursor to getting narc’d. So maybe there’s an upside to this. :-)
Greg - 12/10/2013 9:49 AM
With permission from Ernest S Campbell, MD (aka: ScubaDoc) ... I just posted a great article with tons of information about Tinnitus and Scuba Diving:
LatitudeAdjustment - 12/10/2013 12:55 PM
Mine started ringing about 20 years ago, I noticed it at night and thought it was a transformer humming in the heater room on the other side of the wall from my bed until I noticed it while working on my dive buddies car :(
Not sure it’s related to diving even though I did blow out an eardrum on a dive in the early seventies. In the 60’s I was aircrew and then stationed with the 82nd. Airborne, raised a couple of teenagers, attended a few concerts and am still around aircraft so I can’t say it was caused by diving.
The military docs of course tell me it wasn’t caused by the military service!
I understand there is a pill for it but the side effects are a worse worry than the hum.
tardmaster - 12/11/2013 7:43 AM
I have it. The ringing is very minor. I’ve always thought it was because I was a drummer in several garage bands in my younger years and my preference to music is the harder rock and metal. Just enough of a that I know its there. What I mainly have is the clicking. I only notice it when I’m going to sleep, but the clicking is very prominent. I’ve just dealt with it and learned to live with it.
uwlover4u - 12/11/2013 9:08 AM
If life gives you lemons, it is bad news. When your doctor gives you lemons, say thank you.

The treatment of many common ailments is being found in the skin of the much maligned lemon. To be more specific, the extract is called bioflavonoid and it can be be found in many fruits including lemons, oranges, grapefruits, limes and bilberry to name only a few.
Citrus based bioflavonoids have been long known to boost the absorption of vitamin C, a major antioxidant. One of the most promising use of the citrus extract is for the treatment of Tinnitus. The ability to open the cochlear pathways may suggest more potential for use in capillary related ailments.
dontdiveenuf - 12/11/2013 12:06 PM
Based on what I’ve seen on the web, it looks like relief from any particular treatment method is dependant on the cause of the Tinnitus. Diet supplements seem to provide an extreamly variable reduction in Tinnitus. That being said, I can’t imagine that increasing one’s Vitamin C would be harmful (unless it was overdone).
dive7mmwet - 12/29/2013 4:36 PM
get used to it they don’t teach this in a padi book! 15 years of diving 1000 + dives and ring ring!
dontdiveenuf - 1/07/2014 1:22 PM
So now what I’m wondering is this: how many of you with Tinnitus have had a hearing test as well, and do you know if any hearing loss is associated with the onset of the Tinnitus?

Since my last hearing test before November was when I was an itty-bitty kid, it’s not clear if my minor hearing loss (above 4000 MHz, I think he said) is related to the Tinnitus, but being assumed. I just had a follow-up audiology test and there’s been a very slight improvement in my hearing since the last test about 6 weeks ago, and the ringing ranges between a 2 and 3 on the annoy-o-meter.