Tinnitus After Antibiotics
October 2, 2008 8:09 PM   Subscribe

I'm recovering from a bout of pneumonia for which I was prescribed a 5-day course of Azithromycin. I'm feeling much better, but I'm bothered by tinnitus. Googling has revealed that my antibiotic may have cause this. If so, will it go away eventually and/or is there anything specific I can do to help it go away? I really don't want to - and can't afford to - pay for another doctor visit if this is something that will go away on its own.

What I'm hearing/feeling can best be described like the sensation that occurs when holding a seashell to one's ear (e.g. I can hear my own pulse making a "swooshing" sound) and I feel like I'm hearing other sounds as if from underwater. If I'm having a conversation, I feel like the other person is miles away. I feel really disconnected from my auditory environment.

Any words of wisdom or advice (or reassurance) from others who have experienced this would be greatly appreciated.
posted by amyms to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What you're describing isn't tinnitis. It sounds like your ear is clogged up, and that will clear.
posted by Class Goat at 8:19 PM on October 2, 2008

Thanks for responding, Class Goat, but my ear isn't clogged (I know what that feels like) and I'm not congested. It's just the sound/sensation thing that's going on.
posted by amyms at 8:22 PM on October 2, 2008

It will probably go away eventually, yes. You may have some inner ear inflammation too.
posted by kindall at 8:25 PM on October 2, 2008

Amyms--a call to your pharmacist or physician's office could get you information. Pharmacists are under utilized for this type of thing. They have a wealth of knowledge! Give them a phone call, ask for the pharmacist, and ask if this is normal.
posted by 6:1 at 8:29 PM on October 2, 2008

Tinnitus can make all sorts of sounds and swooshing is not out of the question but you may have inner ear inflammation which is different from congestion but could also be responsible. My anecdotal evidence about tinnitus is a few things.

- anxiety about tinnitus is almost worse than the tinnitus itself and can exacerbate the sensations
- noise masking [white noise stuff] is very helpful for stuff like sleeping
- it is most likely that even if you have tinnitus it's not going to get worse and it may get better but the most important thing is to stay calm
- there is likely not anything you can do to help it go away except for staying calm etc. General stressors [caffeine, not enough sleep, loud noises] can make it worse. Some people say that antihistamines like sudafed etc can help.

If I were you, I'd give myself a deadline in the future [five days maybe] and decide you're going to check in then and see if it seems to be worse, better or about the same and go from there. It would be nice if there were ear exercises or something but there really isn;t.
posted by jessamyn at 8:37 PM on October 2, 2008

Thanks for the reassurance, kindall.

My pharmacist is very cranky, but I'll try to psyche myself up to giving him a call in the morning, thanks for the suggestion, 6:1. As far as calling the physician's office, I'm afraid they'll tell me to come in for another look-see, which I'm trying to avoid, for financial reasons, if it's unnecessary.

And, jessamyn, thank you so much, your answer is very helpful (especially about the deadline).
posted by amyms at 8:42 PM on October 2, 2008

You could try a Sudafed or other OTC decongestant that might help and won't hurt.
posted by rhizome at 10:30 PM on October 2, 2008

Hi dear amyms, can totally relate. After industrial strength radiation treatment this July I got tinnitus. Sucked. Aggravating.

This is what helped me:

B12 formula for Tinnitus

B12 for tinnitus


Tinnitus Relief Formula

Sounds like this is worth checking out, Lipoflavonoid and Tinnitus

Now better. It's very very faint and is definitely improving.

Info from a doctor who has tinnitus

I love the Diagnose Me site for practical information and guidance. Tinnitus.

Aunt Nicky's flu/cold/upper respiratory treatment:

Breathe hot steam from a half-full pot of boiled plain water. Drape a towel over your head, then put your face over the pot (not close enough that you burn yourself from the steam). The towel helps trap the steam and keep it concentrated as you breathe it in. Breathe deep into lungs and sinuses.

Drink lots of water to clean out the pipes. No booze.

Snort Zicam twice a day, not more. (Zinc is also supposed to help stop tinnitus.)

Antiseptic: Gargle with warm salt water

Dip a Q-tip in peroxide, drip one drop into each ear. Let it roll in.

Lovites, chewable vitamin C

Sambucol, amazing stuff and delicious, elderberry extract

And my wishes that you get better soon. :)
posted by nickyskye at 1:45 AM on October 3, 2008 [3 favorites]

Thanks for all the great tips nickyskye (best wishes right back at ya).
posted by amyms at 8:44 AM on October 3, 2008

Follow up: Well, it's a month later and the tinnitus is finally gone (it gradually lessened until one day I realized I didn't feel it or hear it anymore). I don't know if I can pinpoint a definitive piece of advice, I think it was just a matter of waiting it out.
posted by amyms at 6:28 AM on November 2, 2008

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