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Sudden tinnitus and muffled hearing, and no GP appointments

(39 Posts)
Midnightblue Wed 29-Mar-23 15:21:01

Just hoping some gns may have had the same problem.
I got sudden one sided tinnitus and muffled hearing two and a half weeks ago.

I left it for the first week, hoping it would go and trying ear drops and steam inhalations, though I’d not had a cold or sinusitis. It didn’t go after a week so rang for an appointment with a GP. The receptionist said the doctors were only seeing emergencies and complex conditions and could only make me an appointment with the practice’s clinical pharmacist, 5 days hence. This is a new thing, if a doctor wasn’t available, the excellent specialist practice nurse would ring to triage. Non urgent things were always seen within 5 days.

I made the appointment, but then looked on 111 site and did the algorithm, which advised to see a doctor the same day. I rang the surgery and relayed this to the receptionist, but she couldn’t give me any other appointment.

I saw the pharmacist yesterday and though she was very nice and looked in my ears for any sign of infection or wax ( there was none), All she could do was to pass on the information to the doctor. I told her the 111 advice and said I was worried about my long term hearing, but she said tinnitus is very common and it might never go.

She rang me back and GP had said to leave for things for 2 weeks and if it hasn’t gone he’d arrange a hearing test, though still without seeing me.

I rang 111 again and the advice was still to see a doctor the same day. I was given a number for the rapid access GP, but though I hung on, I gave up after 30 minutes.

Has anyone else had sudden tinnitus and muffled hearing and what happened?

Just to say I think pharmacists are a great idea for a practice, but only for medication problems and minor and easy to identify medical conditions. They are not diagnostitions.

Saggi Sun 02-Apr-23 07:42:21

Sorry …but my tinnitus stated like like 3 years ago …. went to bed fine and woke up with it . Keeps me awake at night as well. Doctors didn’t want to know . I’m stuck with it. Thing is ….nobody knows what it is … most say it’s nothing to do with heating and all to do with the brain. I do not know anyone whose tinnitus started suddenly …like mine …that has got rid of it again. They say it’s not harmful…THEY want to have it. And if THEY had been to a coroners court to listen and witness an inquest into why a person threw himself in front of my husbands train 30 years ago … THEY might think different!!

jude2006 Sun 02-Apr-23 11:11:12

Hi Midnightblue, I woke up one morning with sudden tinnitus and muffled hearing. I went to A&E where it was treated as an emergency, and an ENT consultant was called.
He did all sorts of tests which included an MRI and concluded that it had been caused by a virus, and I was prescribed antivirals and steroids. He also said the sooner treatment started the better the outcome.
You certainly shouldn't have been refused an appointment with a GP; if necessary go straight to A&E, your hearing is far too important to ignore.

Rosiebee Sun 02-Apr-23 13:37:16

I developed tinnitus a couple of years ago after a bout of Covid. I can't honestly say that the two were connected but as I've had several odd problems after Covid I'm almost convinced. Anyway, I had my ears syringed a year ago and was told that nothing could be done about the constant high pitched whine. I do find though that if I keep my brain busy eg I crochet while watching TV or listening to the radio, I almost don't notice it. It's as if my brain has put it on the back burner as it's occupied with other things. Doing puzzles is also helpful. Also reading or doing anything that really occupies your brain. I don't know if that's any use to you. Good luck with seeing your doctor.

Oldbat1 Sun 02-Apr-23 20:27:39

I’ve had tinnitus for years. It stopped for a few months when I started wearing aids but it started again. Not pleasant.

dotpocka Sun 02-Apr-23 20:42:44

not to make its scarey but i had it in one ear??/ /it was a actually
in my artery / i had a clot and it sounded like rushing wateer get your ears checked

Midnightblue Wed 05-Apr-23 08:15:36

Thanks for all your replies and advice. Sorry not to rely earlier.
I had a hearing test at a local hearing testing centre yesterday. It was free of charge.
There’s no sign of infection or wax, but the test shows I’ve got significant hearing loss in the affected ear. The audiologist has emailed my GP asking him to refer me to a ENT surgeon.
Fingers crossed he takes notice of her.

Dollymixtures Wed 05-Apr-23 16:44:47

How apt that this has come up as things sometimes do when you’ve got a worry. Last October I had COVID for the only time and, apart from cough, tiredness etc, went completely deaf in my right ear. I’ve had CAT scans, an MRI scan, numerous hearing tests and checks. I’ve become the owner of some hearing aids but can’t use one in my right ear as it’s completely dead. I’ve tried everything but my GP did say I might never get rid of it which is depressing to say the least.

I’m finding that I’m getting isolated a bit as I just can’t hear people speaking, particularly in a group and it’s so embarrassing to keep asking what did they say so I just smile and pretend I’ve heard. I’m 74, like to go to singing and dancing etc but it’s getting very hard work. My ears are apparently clear, no wax at all and it’s a mystery.

Some of your replies are very interesting and varied but seem to centre in going back to the GP. Is there any point when I’ve been told to live with it! The difficulty of getting an appointment weighs heavily with me as well and I don’t want to waste their time.

Dollymixtures Wed 05-Apr-23 17:22:48

Forgot to say, I was referred to an ENT surgeon on the two week cancer path and he found nothing. No idea what to do, I just can’t live with it. I have tinnitus in that area from time to time too.

JackyB Thu 06-Apr-23 08:51:10

I think most of the suggestions made here are near the truth but there is one cause of tinnitus that I don't think has been mentioned so far and that is to do with stress and/or a dislocation of the mandible. I once had to have my jaw "manipulated" by a physiotherapist after a long session of root canal treatments because my mouth had been wedged open for so long at the dentist. Also I am a chronic "tooth grinder". It is not pleasant as she has to wear gloves and reach right into your mouth, but there was obviously something out of sorts with the joint.

The physiotherapist said this condition could also cause tinnitus. I mentioned this to a friend and she said that she had had tinnitus for a long time and this must be the cause in her case. I was lucky enough not to be afflicted but I can see how it could have that effect.

Midnightblue Thu 06-Apr-23 08:52:32

It sounds so difficult for you Dollymixtures, and I’m sorry it’s affecting your life so much and taking pleasure from your social life. It’s making me feel down as well, as I feel my gp’s been a bit dismissive.

I too don’t like making a fuss, it may just go on it’s own, as some other posters have said. . On the other hand, the sensation feels too severe to leave.

I’m ringing GP again this morning in the hope the audiologist’s report has got through. If not, and he’s still not interested, I’ll take myself off to urgent care. These things always seem to happen when there’s a public holiday.

I had Covid more than a year ago and got vestibular neuritis in the other ear, whether it was connected or not I don’t know.

Thanks for all the interesting replies.

Midnightblue Thu 06-Apr-23 09:00:29

Another interesting cause of tinnitus, JackieB!
If GP would just give me 5 minutes it might just be more reassuring. Still, the hearing test should be enough evidence.

joand04 Thu 13-Apr-23 07:03:29

Message deleted by Gransnet for breaking our forum guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

silverlining48 Thu 13-Apr-23 07:44:11

Tinnitus is something which has to be put up with. As far as I know, there is nothing that can be done. I have had it fir years and seen many doctors and if there was a cure would have gone for it. It’s often connected with deafness and its on my deaf side.
If you occupy yourself with something else, you can block it out but as I type it’s Whooshing away intrusively, probably because I am talking about it.
Try not to let it dominate your thoughts if you can, you won’t find peace if it’s always on your mind .