3 Weeks Into Tinnitus

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by ComradeLucas, Jun 25, 2015.

    1. ComradeLucas

      ComradeLucas Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hi. My name's Luke Pfaff. This is going to be a long one and I won't be offended if you don't want to read it. I just want to go into detail in order to convey a full account of my situation. It's to introduce myself to all you other sufferers in whom I voice solidarity and understanding, but also something I need to do for myself.

      I'm 18 years old and I just graduated from high school. I'm a musician, and a fan of music. I've been to many concerts, only a few of them have been noticeably too loud and made my ears ring temporarily. There has undoubtedly been some dangerous/unprotected noise exposure over the last few years for me, especially the few bands I've seen play in the basement of my favorite record store, but nothing too prolonged or repeated. As far as headphones, I was never the kid to blast death metal in my ears for everyone else to hear as well, but I could have done better. Nevertheless, I should have seen this coming. I was not properly educated to the consequences, and always assumed that ears ringing after a show was a small price to pay afterwards and nothing to worry about too much.

      After the last show I went to on June 4th, exactly three weeks ago, I knew something was not right. I had stood right in front of the stage as soon as the show begun to ensure a good spot. The opening band was not even very good, and I should have stepped outside for a breather just for that reason. They played way too loud. Already that noticeably affected my ears and I should've heeded the warning sign. The band who headlined didn't blast my ears out with their music quite as much, but played a fairly long set. I would say it was no more than 1.5 - 2 hours of loud noise exposure overall, at the most. I became stressed during the show which I feel may have contributed negatively, because I did start to worry about the sound level and also had some social anxiety.

      Once the show was over I had the classic symptoms of a more serious tinnitus issue, sounds seemed muffled, and my hearing just didn't seem quite right into the next day. Of course the ringing persisted. I immediately saw a doctor that next day, a Friday, after school. This was still the first 24 hours so she was reassuring and said that it should go away. I was extremely thankful and hopeful, knowing that I had learned my lesson and would never be unmindful with sound again. This lesson has since become much more powerful when the T did not go away. Day by day, my anxiety worsened to the point where I would research online and become so horrified by the realization of what a serious problem tinnitus is for so many people, and how many people end up having it for the rest of their lives, that I would break down and become anxious, depressed, and even vomit. I think this was because my whole being just wanted to expel this problem somehow. I was so upset and couldn't accept that this could not be undone. I would wake up and tear up to the fact it wasn't just a bad dream (A side note: I've had much weirder dreams since having tinnitus, and wonder how what's going on in the auditory cortex might affect the subconscious, though I'm sure it's a combination of things going on in my brain).

      A week later I went to the ENT doctor. Luckily, he was a great man. Conservative and old-school, but honest, and I had a lot of respect for him. He told me in his day he got tinnitus at the same age from working in industrial factories, and T from loud rock concerts was unheard of. He also said if in a few months the tinnitus, hyperacusis, and the anxiety that comes with it have not improved I can go the local university and try retraining therapy. My ears were flushed out, wax removed, I was given the standard hearing test and told my hearing was still good, which was relieving though I am aware they cannot detect hearing loss in the higher frequencies. The appointment put me at ease much more. White noise and masking were recommended and have since helped. I had asked him if there was a chance that this would stop in a matter of months and he said 'yes'. Though this was great news, an anxious part of me wonders if he meant the tinnitus could very well fade completely or if my cares about it will fade completely.

      In the time after this appointment my anxiety and depression over the issue has fluctuated, sometimes being non-existent, other times intense. I know that drugs do not help, providing only temporary relief, but I tried a low-dose valium which temporarily relieved anxiety. I also smoke cannabis on occasion, which I'm aware can make tinnitus worse given the heightened sensory awareness and potential paranoia, but I have also found that it can be therapeutic and help. I used to smoke marijuana more before this problem, but have since cut down significantly. I will likely stop smoking for long periods of time in the future to see if that helps the tinnitus to fade. I've also started running daily and trying to exercise as much as I can, taking some vitamins and daily magnesium (which I was prescribed for chronic migraines).

      I'm extremely grateful that this mild T+H has not interfered with my interactions with my friends, my family, and my girlfriend Maddy, and I've been able to do what I normally like to do. A few times I got scared. I went to a movie and wore earplugs, though it still seemed pretty loud. When I went camping a few days ago, there were brief fireworks and I tried covering my ears for each one. Graduation just happened and there were plenty of screaming teenagers. As mild as this condition is for me, it's only heard in total silence or if I cover my ears with my hands or a pillow. The ringing, which is likely the most typically heard sound, is the high pitched "eeeeee" and there have been times where I could've sworn it was quieter, though it's very difficult to tell because it varies based on how much you focus on it. For the most part, it peaked the first few days after that regrettable concert and since flattened out to the subtle tone I hear now in silence. It can be heard in both ears.

      Aspects of this I am actually very thankful for. The slight hyperacusis that has come with this has actually been interesting to me, as the sensitivity to sound has opened my eyes to the amount of noise pollution where I live. As a musician it's made me appreciate the subtleties in the things we hear every day and take for granted, and I've been listening to quieter music as well as writing some acoustic music of my own. I've done the best I can to keep the tinnitus as far back in my mind as possible, but I'm not perfect. Much of the remaining anxiety at this point is over fear of the unknown. I cannot know if this will ever go away, and it will only hurt my head to try and fathom this.

      So I suppose I haven't really come here to ask if this will ever go away for reassurance. I know none of you can know for sure. Some of you may know others who have had their tinnitus miraculously disappear, I've read a few posts which have said that. It's a tricky matter of probability. No one deserves tinnitus, but many have it far worse and I should consider myself very lucky comparatively. The ENT said to me "This will never hurt you." and that's what truly matters. I can do almost anything I would've done anyway. Life is wonderful and worthwhile and I will be kind to my ears for the rest of my life to the best of my ability. That's all I can do.

      Three weeks in, it was just about this time I left for that concert. I'm still within a month. I've read about AM-101, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and other things that seem promising considering my circumstances, though I don't know if I'll have access to those treatments. I've seen that scientists are looking into this nowadays much more than they had in the past, and it even makes me want to get involved in the field of medical science (I'm still not sure what I want to do with my life). Of course, if they could build a functioning time machine that would be the most ideal.

      I'm glad I posted this here. I've been browsing these forums now and then ever since I got T and H, which doesn't always make me feel better. I truly feel that concert was me just crossing that line, just by a step, and there's still a chance this could be reversible. But as I've said, I can't bet my cards on anything. I just have to take it one day at a time. It's spooky how long some of you live with this, but you learn to, and it becomes a part of you that you accept, and for that you have my utmost respect. Feel free to share your story with me, or any advice, or others experiences you know of, or whatever comes to mind. Thank you.
      • Hug Hug x 1
    2. billie48

      billie48 Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not sure
      Welcome to TT. We are a friendly bunch here and we understand your condition. It seems from your description and story that you are handling your T well. If it takes silence and listening to hear your T at times, it is a positive sign that it can only get better in time, especially after you get some support and begin to relax more about T. It is a bully which feeds on your negative emotions, the fears, the anxiety, stress and sleeplessness. The less you provide those emotions, the more likely your body will ignore T and get habituated to it. Will it ever disappear? No one knows. But if you can get to the stage you aren't aware of it most of the time even though it is there, it is as good as it gets. I am now at that stage. As I am typing, I can hear that ultra high pitch scream lurking, what an alien sound. A few years back, it would have turned me into a mess. No longer. Time does some magic healing and I wrote my success story to explain the process. If you have time to read it, for brevity, I provide the link below:

      • Agree Agree x 1
    3. Kyle Cullen

      Kyle Cullen Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      I'm 3 weeks into T as well. I developed mine from an infection. Like yours it is mild and I hope it improves over time
    4. Robert44

      Robert44 Member Benefactor

      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      loud concert
      hi Luke, Just read your story. I got my T from a concert on April 24 this year. I am also a musician and a music teacher. The first two weeks were really tough. I couldn't go to work, cried, had that caved in chest feeling and I would shake from worrying about it. I have been playing in bands for 35 years. You sound so mature. You actually sound like your doing pretty well. So I've had this for about 2 months and you seem to have recovered quicker than I did. My ringing is still the same. I am much better now. It doesn't bother me during the day and I'm doing better at night. I do use white noise for masking at night to help. I am learning to accept it. I never thought I would get to this point. Another member on this forum told me awhile ago that " if it doesn't kill you it will make you stronger" or something like that. This is true. Your brain will get used to it and it will bother you less and less. You will get to feel like your "old self" again. I still find myself thinking about about it almost 24/7. I do feel like I'm getting back to my old self. Remember there are people who have worst situations than us. Blindness, total deafness and paralyzed people. As a result of this I lost weight, eat healthier, gave up Advil and I feel in some ways that good things have come from this. I have a son your age who will be graduating this Sat. and I remind him to not listen to the music too loud now. So I can help all my kids because of what happened to me to by being an example of what can happen if you don't take car of your hearing. There are so many people I know who now because of me now are carful for their ears. I still listen to music with headphones but I don't put it too loud. Good luck!! You will be fine!
      • Winner Winner x 1
    5. Kyle Cullen

      Kyle Cullen Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Robert, everytime I'm out in public, and I see someone with headphones on I tell them to throw them away.

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