A month ago I became aware of a hissing sound in my ear - not particularly loud but loud enough to be annoying. This was on a Wednesday. I phoned the local National Health Service practice and was surprised - to say the least - that the first available appointment with any doctor was 5 days later.
And so the merry-go-round of misdiagnosis and waiting for treatment started. The people I met were pleasant enough but the system, to be blunt, sucks!
The first two doctors didn't listen when I explained my symptoms. As soon as I said noises in the ear each became fixated on ear wax and then on tinnitus and both seemed to filter out all that I told them about how the ringing almost always only started when I lay down. I could be noise free all day but within 30 seconds of lying down the noises would start. I could also usually eliminate all or part of the noise by blowing my nose.
I ended up with a blood-pressure monitor for a week. My blood pressure was slightly raised - yes by the stress resulting from not sleeping due the noises in my ear. Assorted blood tests proved negative and a trip to the not-very-local hospital to have my hearing checked proved that my hearing was excellent.
At this stage, about 3 weeks into the story, I hadn't had any treatment or any evidence-based diagnosis. I was so fed up by now that I went back to the local medical practice. Doctor #3 was much better and gave me a steroid containing nasal spray that started to help almost at once by reducing the inflammation that was causing the noises in my ear. He also gave me something to help with my sleeping problems. Why did he do this? Because he listened to the fine detail of my problem!
September 2016 was one of the worst months of my adult life. I am gradually improving but it will take a while before I will feel relaxed about undertaking activities that had previously made the noises start or get louder. This erosion of confidence is not at all nice - nor easy to deal with!