PDA

View Full Version : TBI and Ear Problems...




greenne
06-16-2008, 07:23 PM
Hey,

I am having problems with my ears and no one (including the ENT) can figure it out. I am posting to this board because I believe I suffered a mild TBI

I was involved in an explosion in Iraq 2 months ago. I didn't hit my head on anything, but the force of the explosion threw me forward and the sound waves litterally knocked the wind out of me. I wasn't knocked out (I don't think), but when I got up I was dazed..kind of out of it a few minutes. I went to the hospital and was told I suffered a concussion. I had tinnitus(ears ringing) and headaches for a week afterward.

Approx two weeks later...very suddenly....both ears plugged up and I was getting horrendous headaches. Dr (general Physician) thought ear infection(s) and gave me antibiotics. They did not help and ear pain continued to get worse. At the time, my Dr was aware of the blast injury but didn't think the two were related.

After I got home, I suffered significant pain for weeks while I was drugged on Tramadol and they tried everything (Flonase, Claritin, etc.) to drain my ears with no luck. I saw ENT and she said she has never seen as severe case of Eustacian Tube Dysfunction in an adult. I eventually got ear tubes last week after the pain became too much to bear--my eardrums began to perforate(sp?) under the pressure and I was at risk of bursting my eardrums.

The tubes helped...but I still am getting pressure behind the ears (even with the tubes). My ears are leaking, so I know the tubes are working...but I've noticed my hearing has gotten worse with the tubes. I thought they were supossed to improve hearing?

Does anyone have any ideas? Also, has anyone ever heard of a concussion(mTBI) or very loud noise causing such ear problems? There is nothing on the internet--but the pain and pressure are very real.

All I can find for causes on the internet are sinus problems...but I haven't had any allergies or ear infections for years. I haven't had any other symptoms of a cold/sinus probs...no runny nose or cough or anything.

Thanks.

Nate




laquila57
06-18-2008, 06:38 AM
I have the exact same problem--I was involved in auto accident and the whiplash created these problems- had tubes in one year ago now it is worse than before will keep in touch

greenne
07-02-2008, 10:10 PM
I have the exact same problem--I was involved in auto accident and the whiplash created these problems- had tubes in one year ago now it is worse than before will keep in touch

Hi, I was just wondering how you're doing? Nice to know that I'm not crazy, because my ENT has tried to convince me 2x now that the explosion had nothing to do with eustachian tube problems. She has tried to link it to allergies, which is a crock.

I have not had allergies of any kind since I was a kid, 20 years ago. The ear problems came on suddenly, without so much as a sniffle or a runny nose or anything. I was in Iraq for 5 months prior with no issues..and then poof....I'm suddenly allergic? I don't think so.

I've now got some TBI symptoms showing up. I recently started getting some headaches. One in particular was severe enough to drive me to the ER. They have been getting worse over the last week...

I can't tell if the headaches are related to the ears directly or a different problem all together.

I'm having a hard time getting anyone to take me seriously. The ER visit was a joke, after 4 hrs of waiting they took me back and asked me a bunch of questions (date, name, location, etc). Asked me to count backwards and then tested my motor skills (touch your nose, follow my finger with eyes, etc).

The ER said since I have no neuro symptoms (other than excruciating had pain), the only thing they could do was to give me drugs (Tramadol) and put on the waiting list to see a neurologist (appt is in 3 wks). No x-rays, ct scans, MRI, nothing. So I've survived a blast in Iraq, diagnosed with a mTBI, worsening conditions 2 months later and this is the best the military medical system can do. 30 min later I'm kicked to the curb.

I'm still having the headaches but I'm at a loss on what to do. I'm just worried right now and kinda scared. I pride myself on being healthy and have a high tolerance for pain. Sunday's visit to the ER was my second visit ever in my adult life to an ER for anything. I really feel something is wrong and no one is helping me.

Nate

dizzie lizzy
07-03-2008, 10:42 AM
Are you allowed to see non-military doctors or does you contract require you to stay in the military system? What state are you located in?

Hi, I was just wondering how you're doing? Nice to know that I'm not crazy, because my ENT has tried to convince me 2x now that the explosion had nothing to do with eustachian tube problems. She has tried to link it to allergies, which is a crock.

I have not had allergies of any kind since I was a kid, 20 years ago. The ear problems came on suddenly, without so much as a sniffle or a runny nose or anything. I was in Iraq for 5 months prior with no issues..and then poof....I'm suddenly allergic? I don't think so.

I've now got some TBI symptoms showing up. I recently started getting some headaches. One in particular was severe enough to drive me to the ER. They have been getting worse over the last week...

I can't tell if the headaches are related to the ears directly or a different problem all together.

I'm having a hard time getting anyone to take me seriously. The ER visit was a joke, after 4 hrs of waiting they took me back and asked me a bunch of questions (date, name, location, etc). Asked me to count backwards and then tested my motor skills (touch your nose, follow my finger with eyes, etc).

The ER said since I have no neuro symptoms (other than excruciating had pain), the only thing they could do was to give me drugs (Tramadol) and put on the waiting list to see a neurologist (appt is in 3 wks). No x-rays, ct scans, MRI, nothing. So I've survived a blast in Iraq, diagnosed with a mTBI, worsening conditions 2 months later and this is the best the military medical system can do. 30 min later I'm kicked to the curb.

I'm still having the headaches but I'm at a loss on what to do. I'm just worried right now and kinda scared. I pride myself on being healthy and have a high tolerance for pain. Sunday's visit to the ER was my second visit ever in my adult life to an ER for anything. I really feel something is wrong and no one is helping me.

Nate

greenne
07-03-2008, 04:19 PM
Are you allowed to see non-military doctors or does you contract require you to stay in the military system? What state are you located in?

I am located in Northern Virginia--suburban Wash DC. I can see civilian Dr's but I would have to pay a co-pay or get authorization from my case manager (like HMO manager). I am still waiting to hear back from them.

My first choice is to go to Walter Reed. Despite the bad press, I've gotta believe unfortunately there's lots of folks with mTBIs and ear problems there--blast injuries. Maybe I can find an ENT with experience dealing with head injuries and he/she could find the answer.

I believe my injury is due to the blast or something released during the blast (chemical allergy maybe?). Chances are if it happened to me...there's someone else suffering from it too.

I've heard possible problems ranging from a CSF leak to nerve damage (i.e. damaged nerves are causing the eustahian tube to shut), to a small hole in my inner ear--Fistula. These are all on the internet....my ENT has suggested NOTHING and has rebuffed my request to have her test for these conditions.

Nate

dizzie lizzy
07-07-2008, 09:10 AM
I am located in Northern Virginia--suburban Wash DC. I can see civilian Dr's but I would have to pay a co-pay or get authorization from my case manager (like HMO manager). I am still waiting to hear back from them.

My first choice is to go to Walter Reed. Despite the bad press, I've gotta believe unfortunately there's lots of folks with mTBIs and ear problems there--blast injuries. Maybe I can find an ENT with experience dealing with head injuries and he/she could find the answer.

I believe my injury is due to the blast or something released during the blast (chemical allergy maybe?). Chances are if it happened to me...there's someone else suffering from it too.

I've heard possible problems ranging from a CSF leak to nerve damage (i.e. damaged nerves are causing the eustahian tube to shut), to a small hole in my inner ear--Fistula. These are all on the internet....my ENT has suggested NOTHING and has rebuffed my request to have her test for these conditions.

Nate

Yep. You're probably right. My ENT is in NYC but he used to work at NIH in DC. I could ask him (if I remember) if there's someone in particular he could recommend. He' s my hero right now so I'd trust his recommendation. It may be all I can do but I'd like to help if I can.

NaeNae
07-07-2008, 09:40 AM
Nate, although I don't have ear problems...I did have military doc problems, I saw approx 6 military neuros and then demanded to be referred to a civilian...and got a great one. Be your own advocate and tell them what you want!

colinr
09-12-2013, 05:36 AM
Hi Greenne,

Did you manage to establish what was wrong?

I am too in a similar situation to you. I was in close proximity (20 m) to a 155mm artillery shell that was converted to an IED back in 2004.

Basically, I was conducting top cover in a soft skinned vehicle when the device was detonated about 20m front-left of my vehicle, I was hit by the heat and pressure wave, and the loudest bang I have ever heard. Luckily, the device was buried too deep so there was not too much shrapnel, the vehicle windscreen was totally cracked but not blown through.

I don't think that I was knocked out, there was a large wall on the right hand side of the road, so I assume that the blast was deflected off this wall.

I suffered immediate pain and tinnitus, but my left ear seemed to be affected the worst (possibly from the deflected blast?).

I saw the doctor in Iraq who's only advise was to stay away from loud bangs, kind of laughable really!

After about 6 months or so, the tinnitus faded away, only returning intermittently, usually after being exposed to sharp cracks such as wood slamming together, metal on metal, gunshots etc.

I have also suffered from a continuous dull pain in my left ear since the blast, which I can only describe as a pain similar to being in an aeroplane during takeoff/landing or going too deep in a swimming pool. The pain also fluctuates from what I would describe as an annoying bearable level to quite painful, the latter being less often.

I've attended the military medical center loads of times, each time I have an audiogram test (headphones with a button that I press when I hear beep noises), I pass these tests, with what the 'specialists' describe as just minor hearing loss. The first few times I was given nasal sprays which did absolutely nothing.

Last year, I saw another specialist who fitted a grommet tube to my left ear, everything seemed to improve for a short while, but now the pain has started to return, the grommet is still fitted and I know it's not blocked as when I pinch my nose and blow I can hear and feel the air being passed through the grommet.

I have never noticed any kind of leakage from the grommet.

I'm just getting sick of it now, it's been almost 10 years and nothing has improved, as far as the military are concerned, I can pass the audiogram, so there is nothing wrong with me.

I've never had an MRI scan etc. as the 'specialists' that I have seen have said that if I did have a TBI, it would be obvious.

Thanks in advance.

colinr
09-12-2013, 06:10 AM
Sorry, my bad, the device/explosion was at my front/right, the large wall was accross the road on the left, hence why I assume my left ear was damaged the most.

Concussion
09-12-2013, 08:21 AM
Your military "general" practitioner is way off base with his assumptions.

Your military ENT doc is off base also if he stopped with an audiogram.

You suffered a TBI/Concussion, Blast Injury. Much is called for in follow-up to evaluate your Concussion injury/TBI injuries; as well as your Blast Injuries.

Give some of these studies a read, especially relating to the audiology, ear injury aspects of TBI/Blast Injury, and Audiology Evaluations; copy them and show them to a specific Neuro-ENT M.D. (ask for that referral thru the VA/Military system).

Auditory and vestibular dysfunction associated with blast-related
traumatic brain injury (http://www.ncrar.research.va.gov/Publications/Documents/AuditoryAndVestibularDysfunction.pdf)

Tinnitus Evaluation and Management Considerations for Persons with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (http://www.asha.org/aud/articles/TinnitusTBI/)

Current Perspectives on Traumatic Brain Injury (http://www.asha.org/aud/articles/CurrentTBI/)

I hope this gives you some insight and information that is useful in your road to recovery.

Best Wishes >>> Thanks for your service. <<<

colinr
10-01-2013, 05:58 AM
Thanks Concussion,

I'm in the British Army, so I suppose that we might do things differently.

I've been back to the medical center, where I was referred back to ENT. After yet another pointless hearing test (which as far as I know, I past), the consultant got me to do some strange balancing and touching tests which he stated that I seemed to complete without problem.

Anyway, he has referred me for an MRI scan, so I'm now waiting for this, 10 years on, it would appear that I might be finally getting somewhere.

berkeleybrain
10-01-2013, 01:01 PM
I am not sure if my findings are relevant, but I thought I'd share.

I was rear ended in car accident 7/2012. I had a lot of typical tbi/pcs symptoms plus visual issues and balance issues. Received propanolol, tramadol and trazodone to help with sleep, migraines and anxiety. (plus vitamin thread at top of this forum and daily walks).

Over time, I had severe migraines, vertigo, tinnitus, ear pain/fullness. Despite neurologist and ENT, it took the specialists at UCSF Ent to say it wasn't eustachian tube dysfunction but rather migraine associated vertigo.

MAV often presents as eustachian tube dysfunction, but the trigger is not sinus allergies or barometric pressure per se, but the brain (migraine).

So I switched to a migraine free diet (no caffeine, chocolate, red wine, aged cheese, no nuts, etc. as discussed in _Heal Your Headache_ by
Buchholz M.D., David) and switched trazodone/tramadol for noritryptiline to help increase my threshold.

I haven't had a case of migraine or ear pain for several weeks now, knock wood.

Best of luck!

Mokey
10-01-2013, 11:49 PM
Hi Berkely Brain...are you drowsy or sluggish with the nortrytiline? I am desperate to be headache free but fear being drugged down.
Hope you are improving!

berkeleybrain
10-02-2013, 02:48 PM
Hiya Mokey! Thanks-I hope you are recovering, too!

I was extremely (!) sluggish and tired for about 4-5 days when I first started on nori. But then, I noticed, I hadn't any dizzy spells or ear pain.

This really motivated me to make the nori work, and I must say at week 3-I feel much better. No ear pain, vertigo, vestibular or dizziness. Mild tinnitus.

Now-I have to stabilize my gaze and eye teaming. This may take a while I suspect. :)