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FAQ:  Tinnitus - Ear Noise

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Question:
December 2003 I got a roaring sound in my right ear, a few days later it turned into a loud ringing. I went to my family doctor who gave me nasal spray and decongestant and said if it didn't get better he would send me to an ENT.

It didn't get better the ENT said it was Tinnitus and I would have to live with it-- sent me for an MRI which was normal. I went back to my family doctor and asked to try antibiotic. It worked, but as soon as it was gone my ear noise came back.

In late March I had an abcess (bump) come up on my right upper side. I went to the dentist who found two infected teeth and performed two root canals. My ear noise went away. December 2004 it returned. I went to my dentist and he couldn't find anything. He put me on antibiotic and it went away. As soon as the antibiotic was gone it came back.

I went to my family doctor. He put me on a bacterial antibiotic for 3 weeks and said I needed to go to an ENT. My dentist however wanted me to go to an Endodontist first. The endodontist found infection above my teeth roots but below my sinus with a digital x-ray. He performed root canal retreats on both teeth ($1400) and found drainage in one. He thought that would take care of it and put me on Clindamycin for 10 days. It didn't.

I called him back he doubled the dosage for another 10 days. The noise seemed better while on the antibiotic but it never left. I have been to a different ENT. He says it is not dental related and wants me to have another MRI. Please advise. I am frustrated, and going crazy with this noise. ...Visitor from AR

Answer:
Tinnitus has a few different reasons for being. It can be from a nerve problem, where the nerve is sending impulses for no known reason to the brain. The result is a noise similar to a ringing in the ear.

Also the ringing in the ear can be coming form the tensor tympani muscle, a small muscle which acts to dampen the bones of the inner ear from moving too far and harming the ear. This is what happens when there is a loud noise or a prolonged noise. The noise is then removed and the muscle is still tight, similar to when you are holding a heavy weight the muscle will twitch or vibrate (quivering).

This vibration will trigger the nerve and be interpreted as a noise being received in the ear. The antibiotics may help from their small anti-inflammatory ability which would stabilize the nerve membrane and could rest the muscles.

A bite plate has helped some people, but there would be no guarantee. It would help by stretching the muscle and allowing it it rest and hopefully stop the vibration.

Editorial Staff

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