Tinnitus

That cat has tinnitus.

It’s pronounced TIN-ni-tus because it is persistent tones heard in the ear when no environmental sounds are present. It’s not pronounced tin-NYE-tus because, if it were, your tin would be inflamed.

Tin smelters (Or cats. -ed.) can have tin-NYE-tus. The rest of us have TIN-ni-tus.

There is no known treatment for tinnitus. There are methods to train yourself to ignore it, and there are ways to masque it, but the ringing is something you learn to live with one way or another. People will try to sell you on treatments. My advice is to save your money.

The trick is to train yourself not to listen to the sounds the tinnitus makes. After as many years as I’ve suffered with this I think I can say pretty authoritatively that not listening to it, reducing it’s importance, even meditating on it to become one with it, is how to cope with it. I definitely don’t listen to it.

Rainymood or some other white noise generator works best when the tinnitus gets painful or impossible to ignore. I’m particularly fond of the sound of the warp engines from Star Trek the Next Generation. There are several multi hour versions of the sounds on YouTube.

reddit, reddit

My tinnitus is basically a ringing that seems to constantly vary in strength and pitch and be in varying tones simultaneously. It fluctuates from day to day, hour to hour. It is the sound of buzzing or ringing. I can hear my heartbeat in it. It seems to reflect environmental noise, so loud places are intolerable for long periods. Ear plugs are a godsend when hyperacusis sets in.

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Hyperacusis

Hyperacusis is basically an audio migraine. All sounds, even quiet sounds, can be painful. Wearing earplugs is about the only way to deal with it successfully and ear plugs can aggravate other types of tinnitus. Hyperacusis can be so bad that the sound of your own breathing can set it off.

Hyperacusis should wind down like the more traditional migraine does. They don’t know what causes any of the things they call migraines, and that is the biggest problem with them. Some part of the brain is misinterpreting the signals that it’s receiving and you get audio problems, vision problems, skin sensitivity problems or vertigo.

I wonder what the more modern epilepsy treatments would do for it?

Sudden Brief Unilateral Tapering Tinnitus (Otology & Neurotology)

SBUTTs are benign and common among most people. I’m still looking at the literature on the subject, but I see little to be concerned about in it even if it occurs frequently.

I get these at weird times. Possibly more frequently than I did before, but also possibly not. I haven’t noticed that they are linked to spells of vertigo or hearing loss myself, although the sudden spikes that disappear do make me worry about an attack. The worry is probably more of a concern than the SBUTT should be. Worry and street go hand in hand and stress is a major trigger.

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American Tinnitus Association

If you run the slider up and down on this Tone Generator you can find which specific tones that you can or cannot hear. I get a distinct doppler effect as the tone pass through ranges that I can’t hear in one ear or the other. Bit of a freaky experience.

If you want to understand what the effects of hearing loss or tinnitus sounds like to others, hear-it.org has a list of sound files that approximates them. I can’t judge the accuracy since I can’t hear them normally anyway.

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A hodgepodge of comments spliced together from numerous places over the span of a decade. Steven Novella inspired this being posted today with his pithy comment about the pronunciation of tinnitus in yesterday’s episode of the SGU. Since I mispronounce this word frequently myself, I decided to riff on the subject. Featured image.

Otologist, Neurotologist, Otolaryngologist, ENT

There is a lot of confusion about what doctor someone who thinks they have Meniere’s should see. I see this fight go on all the time and it is tiring to witness it happening over and over again, not to mention the wasted time and energy involved in multiple people arguing over and over about something that is easily proven by simply Googling the subject.

The specialist you want to see is called an Otolaryngologist. Most people call them ENTs which is short for “ear, nose and throat” doctor, what the different latin syllables that make up the word otolaryngology mean.

To make things even more confusing, there are specialists of that specialization. An Otologist is also an ENT that specializes in the outer and middle ear. A Neurotologist is an ENT that specializes in the middle and inner ear. Most neurotologists are surgeons who do things like cochlear implants but some of them have regular medical practices. It’s confusing, which is why people say “go see an ENT” and don’t elaborate further on the subject. Most of them don’t know the difference, either. They just know that they either like or dislike their ENT doctor and the experience that they’ve had.

Obviously you don’t want to go to someone who specializes in sleep disorders (probably also an otolaryngologist) or does cancer surgery in the throat (ditto) what you want is someone who works on the middle/inner ear if you’ve already been diagnosed with Meniere’s; and if you haven’t then the more general the generalized medical education the doctor has is probably fine as long as they are actually ENTs. What you need is someone who knows what tests to run to exclude what kinds of causes for the symptoms you are experiencing.

Here’s hoping that what you find out when you see your ENT doctor is that your symptoms are caused by something that is treatable. My fingers are crossed for you.

Featured image from Wikipedia, a beacon of light in the crushing darkness that is the internet. A h/t is owed to Pattywhack_the_bear whose intransigence on the subject of what specialist to see forced me to hone the point I was trying to make with my comments on this reddit thread. I did have to block her, but I also learned something from her. So congratz I guess?

Autumnal Equinox

Celebrate the autumn equinox, or Mabon, by harvesting your inner fruits of awareness and finding gratitude for the seeds that you have both reaped and sown. The good, the bad, and the ugly. All mistakes can become beautiful lessons that guide us toward the next step in our journey when we hold gratitude in our hearts.

rhythmsofplay.com

The Autumnal Equinox 2022 in the Northern Hemisphere was at 8:03 PM tonight. I’ve always thought that these annual astronomical events should be observed with some kind of ceremony that occurs at the time of the event.

Tonight we held a little ritual: lighting a candle, sharing the food, saying the words. It was nice to finally mark the equinox in a way that the event warranted. The ceremonial candle was a hurricane candle that we first lit during SnoVID. The panic-bought firelogs still in the box visible behind the fireplace glass are also a relic of that Texas tragedy.

We feasted on homemade spaghetti afterwards. It was a nice family affair. I offer my thanks to a local pagan that was willing to share a bit of their traditional ceremony with us.

The Wheel has once more turned, and the change of season begins.
What will be is. What was will be.
The Equinox is upon us, and the time to reflect, at hand.
All time comes together, here and now in this sacred space.
And I, but a moment in time, feel the change as I pass from one season to the next.

wicca.com
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Vertigo Sailing. Vertigo Flying.

Since being diagnosed with Meniere’s twenty years ago I’ve been on a boat three times. Getting on or off a boat is always the scariest part for me, relative movement being nearly impossible to predict even for the ablest of abled people. Even when I was an abled person myself this was the task that could break legs or ankles or feet and so I took it quite seriously.

I used to own a sailboat. It was a dinky little thing, a fourteen foot sliver of fiberglass with a nineteen foot mast. We took it to Twin Buttes in San Angelo and to Lake Travis here in Austin and I’d have people hanging off the trapeze on the side of the boat while we tacked across the wind. The wind whipping your hair as the spray hit your face and you flew across the water like a bird. Those were some of the most invigorating moments, the kinds of moments that you know you are alive because your heart is pounding in your chest and the adrenaline is coursing through your veins and you know (know, because you’ve done it more than once) that one wrong move could capsize the boat and cause all manner of upset for your passengers.

I loved the water and was more at home in it and on it than I was on the land. I swam like a fish and did my best to sail like a veteran captain, but not anymore. The vertigo seems to be always on the verge of occurring the entire time I’ve been on the water or even in the water since I started having to constantly fight it. Just looking at a moving ship’s deck spikes the anxiety and makes me want to run the other direction. It takes an iron will to propel me onto the boat, and I don’t dare go below decks or fail to hang onto something that isn’t structural as I move around on deck, always keeping my eyes on the horizon so that I don’t tempt the nausea to rise.

I’m know I’m alive at these times too, but it’s not a good kind of alive feeling. I could kill the anxiety with Xanax, but then I’m not going to be at my best. I’ll just be enjoying the show and marveling at the pretty colors and people, never taking any of it seriously. So I don’t go on boats much anymore and I haven’t gone for a proper swim in almost a decade now.

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This is going to change. I’m taking a few weeks off. Maybe more than a few. I’m not sure why I need to tell anyone this, I post sporadically at the best of times. Still, it bears mentioning that I will be AWOL and probably not posting much during the first few weeks of September because I’m heading to Illinois to visit relatives and to attend Chicon 8.

This will be my first convention experience since being diagnosed in 2005, much less my first flight and convention since Coronapocalypse. I might even get on a boat and go out on Lake Michigan like I did the last time I was in Chicago. The last time I was on a boat.

Next year we are thinking of going cross-Atlantic on Cunard and catching the Northern Lights (fingers crossed there) cruise ships might be stable enough for me not to notice the movement. Seven days on the water will be long enough to kill any anxiety about triggering vertigo even if it does ultimately trigger vertigo. Who knows? I used to get car sick riding as a passenger in any vehicle but these days I can’t even tell if we are moving unless I look out the window or the Wife hits a bump (she drives, I don’t) I’m planning on taking a bottle of Xanax with me anyway just in case.

Take what you need to cope and get out of town if and when you can. That is my suggestion. Take the things you need to feel safe and/or confident in your ability to manage the planned excursion and get some form of document from your doctor explaining why you need it in case anyone asks. Then just be prepared to sleep on deck so you can see the horizon line when you open your eyes. That’s my plan and I’m sticking to it.

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I’ll see ya’ll on the other side. Who knows, I might even post daily from the convention. A sailor’s wish is for fair winds and a following sea. When fighting ocean currents and weather can spell death even for the best of sailors, it’s a blessing worth having. The equivalent blessing for the modern technologist? Four full bars and direct access. Fingers crossed on there being wifi.

Postscript

Yep. I was on a boat.

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…and I didn’t need a Xanax while on the boat, either. I did need to cling to stabilizing surfaces though. My balance is very bad and there is no denying this fact.

A Vimeo Sandpit Tale

I wanted to post a simple comment on this video:

YouTube – The Sandpit (Vimeo)

That video is on YouTube. The original video link that I followed was for Vimeo. The Sandpit is a cool little short film that won awards a decade ago. Like most things on the internet, access to the data about the film gets spotty after a few years and the link in the information bar under the video points to a now-defunct blog. I wanted to let everyone know that the content was preserved on the Wayback Machine.

It is shot on a Nikon D3 (and one shot on a D80), as a series of stills. I used my Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 and Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 lenses for all of these shots. Most were shot at 4fps in DX crop mode, which is the fastest the D3 could continuously write out to the memory card. The boats had slower frame rates, and the night shots used exposures up to two seconds each. The camera actually has an automatic cut off after 130 shots, so for longer shots I counted each click and quickly released and re-pressed the shutter release after 130 to keep shooting.

I did some initial tests a while back using a rented 24mm tilt-shift lens, which is the standard way to do this. However, after my tests, I found it made much more sense to do this effect in post, rather than in camera. Shooting tilt-shift requires a tripod, as it is very hard to stabilise afterwards, and gives less flexibility in the final look. I opted to shoot it on normal lenses, which allowed me options in the depth of field and shot movement in post. I used a tripod for the night shots, and my Gorillapod (which is much more portable) where possible, but many locations—like hanging over the edge of a roof or through a gap in fencing on a bridge– had to be shot hand held, and the inevitable wobble removed afterwards.

archive.org/aerofilm

I successfully linked the interview location on YouTube because I have access to my YouTube account, it’s linked to my Google account. I could not get logged into my Vimeo account. I spent several hours that night going through my old passwords, updating some, deleting the ones for dead websites that I ran across, but I never did managed to get logged on to Vimeo. The best I could do was find some cryptic-assed note about the account being blocked.

So I wrote them a note.

The unhelpful warning about needing to log in before contacting you is kind of pointless. I can’t log in because the email address that I use is flagged as having violated some rule or other. I can’t imagine what rule that could be since I’ve never uploaded a damn thing to Vimeo in my life. I’d really like to know why my email address has been blocked from having an account on Vimeo. It’s been my address since there was a Gmail to have addresses at. Please. Enlighten me.

A few days later, they responded.

Unfortunately, your account fits within our spam categorization and isn’t permitted on Vimeo.

We wish you the best of luck in finding a hosting platform better suited to your needs.

I’ve heard fuck you said better before, even with more words involved in the directive. This sounds like a challenge that I’m up for.

This sort of response is exactly the kind of throw-down that gets lawsuits started. You did not answer my question. I have never posted anything to Vimeo, so how can my email address be associated with spam? To make those kinds of accusations you have to have proof and I’d really like to see the proof that you are making your judgements on. This should be an easy question to answer considering you can high-handedly declare that I don’t fit on the Vimeo platform. Prove this assertion.

They, of course, did not answer the question a second time.

Your account has been suspended because our system has detected some unusual characteristics.
 
For security purposes we cannot discuss the details of our security measures. Additionally, when accounts are suspended for these reasons we are unable to reconsider the status of the account.
 
From our Terms of Service: “Vimeo may suspend, disable, or delete your account (or any part thereof) or block or remove any content you submitted if Vimeo determines that you have violated any provision of this Agreement or that your conduct or content would tend to damage Vimeo’s reputation and goodwill. If Vimeo deletes your account for the foregoing reasons, you may not re-register for the Vimeo Service. Vimeo may block your email address and Internet protocol address to prevent further registration.”
 
Please refrain from opening any additional accounts as these may be terminated without notice. As this is our final decision, we will be unable to respond to additional messages about this matter.
 
We apologize for any inconvenience and we wish you the best of luck in finding a hosting platform better suited to your needs.

Ouija Boards. That must be what they are using. It certainly can’t be my own history on Vimeo. I created the account and linked to a couple of videos on the blog. I might have written a comment or two. Maybe. I don’t know because I can’t see my own history on Vimeo, a thing that pisses me off more than wasting several hours trying to log into the website in the first place.

If I’ve burned a bridge like the one they claim I burned, I should have a memory of that scorching somewhere to recon with. There is no memory, so this has to be some bullshit on their part. I simply can’t prove it.

For all you know I have a thousand different accounts already, all posting whatever the fuck I feel like. You can’t tell and that probably scares the crap out of you and your lawyers. All I want is the ban to be lifted for this email address, a ban placed for no good reason that even you are willing to defend. If I had money (and if Vimeo wasn’t a third-rate YouTube wannabe) I’d already be talking to an attorney about fixing this problem and then you’d have to tell me what it was that you so mysteriously can’t tell me right now without an attorney at my side. As it stands, all I can say is “Sell to Google while you still can.” That would be the smart move.

Postscript

I can no more say why they reinstated my account on Vimeo than I can say why they blocked my account on Vimeo. In any case, my account has been reinstated even if I can’t make a comment on the video in question still. No idea why that is, I’m not even the only person to add a comment within the last year. When I try to add the comment that YouTube gave not one shit about, Vimeo logs me out and forces me to change my password again.

In reviewing my history on Vimeo I was unable to find anything that I might have done on Vimeo that could have gotten the account blocked. Anything at all that I’d done ever aside from follow some accounts. Now this means that either they deleted my account’s history because it got hacked, or I’ve actually never done anything. Either of those cases could be true. I don’t care which one is true, I just wanted to make sure it wasn’t an old password that I left lying around that was causing the problem. It was definitely not worth the time investment from that perspective. Qualitative fuckoff superiority satisfaction, though? Very high.

Caffeine Tales

Throughout my childhood and into adolescence, morning was announced with the smell of freshly brewed coffee. Dad would get up at six am, start coffee and read the morning paper in his tighty-whities reclined in his easy chair (there’s a mental image that you’ll never erase) while drinking his first cup of coffee. Mom would get up and brew coffee in the morning in those years after dad wasn’t around.

Short Wave – How To Brew Amazing Coffee With Science – August 16, 2022

Throughout childhood and into adulthood, morning and coffee were inextricably linked for me; and to this day, I wake up when I smell coffee brewing. It’s a better alarm clock that any other that I’ve discovered in nearly sixty years of experience. This fact of life presents a problem when you aren’t allowed to have coffee anymore.

Caffeine is high on the list of food/chemical triggers for Meniere’s, and it is one of the many things that they tell you to give up when you are diagnosed. When I was first diagnosed I poo-pooed this directive. I’d been drinking iced tea and Coca-Cola all my life. Dad had a gas station with one of those ancient 25¢ (15¢ for the beverage, 10¢ for the bottle deposit) Coca-Cola vending machines and I drank Cokes every time I had a quarter to spend in that machine.

I had only recently acquired a taste for coffee myself before being diagnosed with Meniere’s. Before that time I was a tea drinker even though I liked the smell of coffee brewing. Working as one of the ever-present drones in an office cubicle farm where coffee is kept hot and on demand all day long made me come to terms with the quality issues that most coffee services face.

I was reluctant to give up my morning coffee. I fought against giving it up until that one time at the Waffle House where I gave myself a vertigo attack while drinking coffee. That was case closed for me. No more coffee. No more caffeine in anything like a regular dose; so no Coca-Cola, no black tea, etc.

Dropping caffeine from my diet revealed other things, too. That thing I called sugar shakes as a teenager? That was probably caffeine shakes. I fell off the wagon and had a cup of regular coffee one Sunday a few years ago. The same fluttering in the arms, legs and stomach that I used to blame on a dip in blood sugar occurred; and it wasn’t sugar shakes because there was no high sugar intake that preceded them. I drink everything unsweetened unless it comes presweetened. The coffee was black and I still got the reaction a few hours later, a connection that I have purposefully initiated and observed several times since.

I had stopped having these sugar shakes after I stopped drinking caffeinated beverages and not only when I had stopped drinking Coca-Cola, where the sugar was in sugar shakes. I should have known it was the caffeine.

There was this one time when we were out driving test cars on short sleep and I needed a pick me up. When we stopped for our break in Sonora I got some 357 magnum caffeine tablets (a truck driver’s replacement for a pot of coffee) and took one or two of them on the drive down into the hole along the Devil’s River.

Then I had an argument with my test car. She was a beauty, that one. They had us testing tires on new Chevrolet Camaros. I had the prettiest one of the group, midnight blue with a black interior. Most of the interior had been stripped out and replaced with sandbags, but she was still the sweetest car I’d ever driven at the time. She wanted to go to Florida. I told her, “no, we can’t go to Florida.” Didn’t I want to see her on the beach? “Well, yes, of course, a beach would be nice, but Florida isn’t on the course we’re driving.” Come on, she said. We could just take off. It would be weeks before they could find us. We could have a lot of fun by that time. The argument lasted for hours and came to a head as we drove back into Sonora on the way back home.

I made it back to the shop that day, despite the greatest temptation I’d ever encountered in my life. In hindsight, I should have known that caffeine was not my friend based on that experience alone.

I can’t lie, I miss my morning coffee. The quick pick me up and focus that comes with the caffeine buzz. The energy and concentration. I miss that. I don’t miss the lethargy and feebleness of the downhill side. Hot green tea is still good and doesn’t give me symptoms of any kind. A nice, hot cup of green tea on a cool morning. There is nothing better when viewed from a distance.

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Atelodemiourgiopapyrophobia

Atelodemiourgiopapyrophobia – the fear of imperfect creative activity on paper.

Word origins: ‘Atelo‘ from Greek ateles literally ‘without end’, meaning incomplete, inchoate, imperfect. ‘Demiourgio‘ from Greek ‘demiourgia’ literally workmanship, handicraft, meaning creative activity. ‘Papyro‘ from Middle English / from Old French papier / from Latin papȳrus, papyrus plant, papyrus paper / from Greek papūros.

robwqueen.com

I know, it is rather a mouthful, isn’t it? A friend and I have looked high and low to find a proper term for a fear of ruining a blank page. We have found fear of blank paper (vacansopapurosophobia), fear of imperfection (atelophobia),  fear of ruin (atephobia) and fear of failure (atychiphobia), but none quite describes it perfectly.

What am I talking about exactly? I’m talking about the fear of ruining a beautiful, pristine, blank piece of paper. The fear that so many of us seem to face as we stare down at that first intimidating page in a brand new journal or sketch-book, sitting there so full of amazing potential of what ‘could be’; that is, until we make that first stroke of a pen, the first sweep of a brush. Not one, single mistake lies between cover and cover yet: its perfect. The things that could potentially rest on those pristine sheets are the things dreams are made of – until we actually write or draw in it and stuff it all up with a misplaced squiggle or a crossed out word.

archive.org/katjohnston.com

The beef? I hate it when obscure references disappear like this one did. A hat/tip is owed to the Wayback Machine once again. If it hadn’t have been there I would have had to personally go knock on Kat Johnston’s door just to find out what the fuck she was talking about back in 2008 because Rob Queen fucking teased me with half an answer on his blog in 2018 and now her website is just a marketing platform for her artwork and not literary at all.

Neither of them appear to write anymore. Apparently Atelodemiourgiopapyrophobia got the best of both of them.

I’m almost caught up on leasticoulddo.com

Why is Postmaster Louis DeJoy Still a Thing?

Why is Louis DeJoy still Postmaster General? He appears to have conspired with Donald Trump in his attempt to scuttle the 2020 election by destroying mail sorting machines in the middle of a pandemic that had us all relying on the Post Office in a way we hadn’t seen in generations.

Now he’s cutting services and closing Post Offices again, and I don’t understand why he’s still in his job and not up on charges of conspiracy, treason, money laundering, whatever. If he was a friend of Trump, appointed by Trump, he’s dirty. Why does he still have a job that isn’t picking up trash by the roadside in an orange jumpsuit?

I’d really like an answer to this question.

Sent to the White House

The Postal Service had been set to purchase as many as 165,000 vehicles from Oshkosh Defense, of which 10 percent would have been electric under the original procurement plan. Now it will acquire 50,000 trucks from Oshkosh, half of which will be EVs. It will also buy another 34,500 commercially available vehicles, with sufficient electric models to make 4 in 10 trucks in its delivery fleet zero-emission vehicles.

The announcement comes after 16 states, the District of Columbia, and four of the nation’s top environmental groups sued the mail agency in the spring to prevent the original purchase plan, or compel it to buy more electric trucks. Activists at a minimum want the Postal Service’s fleet to consist of at least 75 percent EVs, though the agency’s Office of Inspector General found that 95 percent of delivery routes are suitable for electrification.

washingtonpost.com

That is still not enough of a concession on your part Mr. DeJoy. You are yet another unindicted co-conspirator in the coup attempt. I will not forget the fact that I was forced to go out and vote in person in November of 2020 because you slowed the mails down to the point where I couldn’t be sure a mail-in ballot would be received and counted. You forced me to risk my life in order to do my basic duty as a citizen of the United States. I will never forget you or your crimes.

Lying Phones

I sent a random text to a random stranger. In response I get this message:

I’m driving with Do Not Disturb While Driving turned on. I’ll see your message when I get where I’m going.

(I’m not receiving notifications. If this is urgent, reply “urgent” to send a notification through with your original message.)

We’ve all seen this message a few times now from iPhone users, the not helpful at all lie from holier than though iZombies who can’t be bothered while they are driving. If this person is like the other people who do this, then it would be more accurate to say something like the following:

I’m ignoring distractions while driving. You should thank me for this because I am normally an example of short attention span theater. Unfortunately for you I will forget to check messages when I get where I am going. You can text again, but you will only get this annoying message again. You can try the mystical “urgent” reply if you want. Good luck with that.

You might try emailing me next, but my inbox has in excess of forty thousand unread messages in it and the chances of me seeing your insignificant note are somewhere between slim and none. Again, you can try marking the message urgent but there are probably ten thousand of those unread in my inbox. My apologies for the insult and inconvenience of attempting to get my attention.

If you would like to actually communicate with me you will need to call me. One call will not be enough because I won’t pick up the phone the first time and my voicemail inbox is full since it won’t let me store unnumbered messages the way my email inbox does. You will need to call at random times for at least two days in order to get my attention. Again, I apologize for the insult and inconvenience of this effort you have embarked on.

If you ever do get to talk to me be assured that it will make your day, for I am the golden radiance that makes the day worth living for all of the people who speak to me. Please be patient and surprise me with a phone call when I’m not talking to another supplicant of your standing. We do thank you for your patience and wish you good luck in your other endeavors for you will likely have none here.

Yeah. Something more like that.

(24 carat gold iPhone? Yeah, that’s a thing.)

Meniere’s Testing

Back at the dawn of my personal Meniere’s experiences, I had been having what I saw as seasonal afflictions of tinnitus and ear pressure that I treated with Sudafed Non-Drying Sinus, an over the counter allergy medication. When the vertigo started to present itself along with the tinnitus and the ear pressure, which is also when I started to notice permanent changes in my hearing, I had no treatment options that I could fall back on because the nausea and the vertigo of spinning was something that I had merely endured as a child. That kind of vertigo was something that you braced yourself to endure until it passed; which was generally less than an hour’s time, sometimes even less than a minute. I had never experienced an extended bout of vertigo like the ones that started to take over my life back in 2001-3 when my life took a left-turn into the land of near-permanent spinning.

The first time that I spent the night on the bathroom floor suffering from vertigo; spinning, vomiting and then unconscious (the first time that wasn’t related to drinking far too many shots of liquor) I made an appointment with an otolaryngologist (ENT) and asked open questions about what these seemingly-related symptoms meant rather than assuming that they were just allergies or some other thing that I could easily treat with over the counter medication.

The second ENT gave me my first caloric stimulation test, warm and cold water in the ears. Light bars on the wall that I was supposed to track. They couldn’t tell me what was wrong with me, but even this inconclusive attempt at an assessment was better than the first ENT that I saw. That guy told me I was mental and needed a psychiatrist. That might have been a true observation at the time, but I wasn’t there for advice on my mental makeup. I was there to stop the vertigo and nothing more or less than that.

The third ENT gave me my first thorough battery of tests (thank you Dr. Thompson) Electronystagmography (ENG) and caloric stimulation, this time with hot and cold air. I have had audiograms run on my hearing for most of my life because of my frequent childhood ear and sinus infections. This was the first time that they showed me the results for one. There was a noticeable drop in the hearing in the left ear. That ENT first said the word Meniere’s to me.

Several of the ENTs I saw over the time I spent trying to figure out where the vertigo came from performed various versions of videonystagmography (VNG) and head-impulse tests (HIT) although they never explained what it was they were looking for until long after I had the Meniere’s diagnosis and I started asking tougher questions of everyone around me.

I’ve had several CAT scans over the years, the most recent one was run specifically to rule out superior semicircular canal dehiscence (missing or abnormally thin bone structure over the inner ear canals) I’ve also had several MRIs or magnetic resonance imaging tests run over the years. The brain looks good. The problem is in the ears.

I’m seeing a new ENT these days and they’ve decided that some essential tests were missed in my original diagnosis. I don’t know why they are questioning the diagnosis now but I’m not hostile to finding an alternative explanation and treatment for my symptoms, either.

The test that they currently want to run is an Electrocochleography (ECOG/ECOCHG) I’ve never had an ECOCHG before and was confused when the subject first came up in the Meniere’s subreddit because they kept calling it an ECoG, which is a widely-known experimental procedure involving placing electrodes directly on the brain. I couldn’t imagine how it could be a common test conducted on patients suffering acute vertigo. As it turns out I was right, but for the wrong reason. Par for the course.

Once that confusion was cleared up on my part I was curious to know what that test was like and what it might show for me. I was curious enough to initially agree to undergo the test when it was suggested. However, I’m beginning to have second thoughts on the subject.

I don’t think that much can be revealed from an ECOCHG now aside from ruling out a Meniere’s diagnosis, something that will not get me any closer to the kinds of answer that I as a sufferer will find helpful. I don’t really care what you call this collective group of symptoms, what I want to find is a cause and through that discovery find a more useful treatment.

From the very beginning of my symptoms I have been convinced that there is an autoimmune-caused quotient of the overall problem. While I have had several blood tests to rule out autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED) and other commonly known autoimmune issues that can cause the symptoms I have, none of them have come up as positive and so none of them have produced results that I found useful.

I remain convinced that there is an autoimmune-related cause for my symptoms in spite of there being no evidence to back up this belief of mine. Betahistine and guaifenesin added to the treatments that I already undergo for hypertension seem to be the most useful medications at preventing ear pressure and vertigo. I can’t get past these facts. An allergy treatment and the most common Meniere’s treatment in the world are the two drugs that produce the best results for me aside from just basic rest and exercise. This has to mean something.