(05-01-2015, 12:01 PM)PsychoMike Wrote: Considering there is a connection between the ears and throat (estuchan tubes (sp?) ) there is the potential for an impact....but at the range of pressures we're dealing with (even up to 25 cm h2o), the pressure difference is very small and not very likely to cause a problem. It may; however, accentuate a developing problem from another source and should be checked out.,
I'm voting Mike as having the most sensible response here.
One chief reason for eustachian tubes is to equalize pressure between outside your tympanic membrane and inside your sinuses, as if that pressure is not fairly equal, it prevents the membrane from vibrating as it should, which reduces your ability to hear. Fly on JetBlue with a cold (which is causing those pathways to be closed) and this will become abundantly clear.
So yes, xPAP will increase internal pressure a bit, but no xPAP manufacturer who understands liability would ever build one with the capability of creating a pressure differential that could cause problems with anyone's ears. That differential goes away as soon as you remove the mask, so it will not affect your hearing.
The most common issue with ears as we age is cerumen, or earwax. The most common reason is from getting water in your ears. Once it builds up just a little bit, water creates little tide pools and turns normal earwax that when it dries out sheds naturally, to encrusted mud, which just builds up in a vicious cycle. Assuming you do not have a larger issue, water is the real enemy.
Wear earplugs when you shower, pull the pinna of your ears down to shed water when you rinse your hair under the shower (with your thumbs in your ears). When you dry your hair, blow some cool air into each ear for a minute or so. IOW, keep them dry; dry them out when they get wet, and the earwax will shed normally. Problem solved.
One theory of tinnitus is that the little furry hairs in your cochlea that vibrate like tuning forks to indicate the presence of sound, can start to droop with age and touch each other, which acts like a false positive. The little hairs are stimulated and think there is vibration but it is just that they are touching each other.
So this sends a false auditory signal to the brain, which means everything (other than the hairs) is working as it is supposed to, and we interpret this as a ringing sound which actually isn't really there.
Sadly, there is no cure. But there are coping mechanisms (and yes, NSAIDS in enough dosage will cause a temporary condition that mimics tinnitus). One is hearing aids that actually generate a noise which had the paradoxical effect of masking the sensation. Another is to use a "sleep machine" that generates white noise or rain sounds.
I do not have tinnitus (or at least not much of it) but I love to sleep to rain sounds. There is a free app called "Storm Sim" that allows you to tailor and combine numerous rains sounds and thunder (and foghorns and train sounds and crickets if you want to pay a couple bucks). It even has a timer that allows it to ramp down slowly after you are asleep.
Its pretty great. I dial the thunder down and run it for 2 hours on my phone and also on my iPad (bluetoothed to a speaker on the other side of the bed) every night. Its like sleeping with the windows open on a damp summer night.