23 Years Old, Only Just Noticed Tinnitus, Scared, Has Questions

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by dog_snack, Feb 7, 2016.

    1. dog_snack

      dog_snack Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Hi everyone,
      I'm a 23-year-old musician in Vancouver, Canada. In only the past few days, I think I've noticed a persistent, very high-pitched, though really fairly quiet whine in both my ears. I fear the worst, of course, and I'm already prone to brooding and worrying about things for days, weeks at a time.

      I've been sensitive to harsh, loud noise my entire life, and I have virtually always (whenever possible) used hearing protection when I attend or play shows, usually big foam earplugs. When earplugs are not available, I either cover my ears manually or reach for some toilet paper (which I know is not medically recommended but it's better than nothing, I figure). But there have been instances where I was unpredictably exposed to very brief, very loud noise at gig situations (amp turned up higher than I thought, accidental feedback). I've also listened to music on headphones since I was a kid, and I've probably turned it up past safe volumes when I've been in noisy environments (public transportation).

      Only a few days ago, I actually began noticing a very quiet whine all the time. It's maddening, and it's making me feel as though I didn't do enough to protect my ears, which feels pretty crappy. Is it possible that even wearing earplugs all the time won't help entirely? (If that's the case, maybe it's an acceptable risk of the job). I still figure I've been doing more to protect my hearing than most other people I know.

      Ironically, I only really noticed it right after I went in to get custom earplugs molded last week, and I hadn't been to a show in at least a few days. Maybe I only just started paying attention to it? My (probably foolish) hope is that the earwax-softening drops I put in my ears to prepare myself for the appointment got stuck in there and is causing problems, cuz that's happened before. I have been noticing occasional, momentary ringing recently, so I wanted to prevent it from getting worse/debilitating.

      I recall very early childhood memories of hearing a high-pitched whine in a silent room, so maybe I've actually had it all the time? In any case, I'm preparing to go in for an assessment at the same clinic that made my plugs. I also hope my doctor can flush out my ears soon, because I had that done once and had superhuman hearing for like a week.

      Hopefully this post makes sense, I wrote it in a hurry. Basically I feel like there was more I could have done and I hope someone can tell me it's not as bad as it seems right now.
    2. Karen

      Karen Manager Staff Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      First time: Noise 2nd Time: Ototoxic drug
      Hi, @dog_snack,

      Welcome to Tinnitus Talk! I'm sorry you've begun noticing a high-pitched constant whine in your ears. After reading your post, I realize it's possible that you could have acquired the tinnitus even though you wear hearing protection during your gigs. However, what I think is the most likely cause is the use of headphones while listening to music. It could be that you had the volume turned up a lot louder than you realized during those times, and it may have gradually damaged your ears.

      Most of us with tinnitus would agree that tinnitus is at its worst in the beginning. I know that mine seemed unbearable when it first began, and I was anxious and depressed. I cried a lot, and thought I couldn't go on with such loud noise in my head all the time. However, after several months, I got used to the sound and it didn't bother me much any more. And I believe it will be the same for you. In the meantime, try to get enough sleep, protect your ears from any further damage, use some type of masking sounds in your environment, eat a healthy diet, and try not to worry. Things will improve as time goes on.

      I'm sure other people here will have additional suggestions for you. All of us here understand what you're going through right now. Stay strong, and all will be well!

      Best wishes,
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