Am I the Only One with Two Distinct Types of Tinnitus?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Mal, Mar 11, 2014.

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    1. Mal

      Mal Member Team Tech

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Cinema speakers
      Hi all,

      I'm a sufferer for little over a year now. I got tinnitus from a cinema sitting close to a loud (broken?) speaker during an action movie. Basically after that I had a whole 'concert/jet engine' inside my head. My hearing has a spiky 30db drop @ 6khz as a consequence also.

      I have been seeking a lot of help from doctors, patient organisations and of course the web, since I am very bothered by it. However, I still feel a little misunderstood, and there hasn't been someone, which I could completely relate my tinnitus to. And I have experienced some doctors getting slightly annoyed, when I tell them, that their maskers or other suggestions don't have a great effect on me.
      I don't know, if this is because my T is in the bad end of the scale, or if it is because my type of T is just not that frequent amongst the masses.
      It makes me feel alone, and in the hopes of getting people's understanding - and in the hopes of maybe helping others - I will try to describe my tinnitus in the following.

      My T is residing in my 'whole head' so to say. It sounds like a high pitched airplane, that is about to take off, and it is loud. It's hard to mask with other sounds, since it has a tendency to raise in volume together with my masking sound. However, with some effort, I can almost not hear it, while I shower (which I have also heard other people state).

      This is my 'first type of tinnitus', and I will call this Type 1. In the following I will describe another tinnitus, Type 2, that I also experience:

      I can't hear Type 2 tinnitus the most of the day, and it has very different characteristics:
      - Very clear tone in a lower frequency than my Type 1.
      - A lot lower in volume compared to Type 1.
      - Located to either left or right ear (never both).
      - I have multiple of these(!), and they are silent through the day. They occur, when I have to sleep.
      - When I hear it, I cannot unhear it. I have to use a sound masker to let my brain 'forget' the sound again.
      - They are maskable with sound - unlike my Type 1.
      - Sleeping/anti-anxiety pills seem to help, and there is a strong relation to anxity. If I 'panic' during the night, they arrive.

      So basically Type 1 is the loud and nasty one, because it prevents me from gathering my focus during the day, and it seems inescapable. Type 2 doesn't bother me as much besides, when I have to sleep. It seems like my brain is capable of completely suppressing it unless I get too anxious.

      So I guess, that I am unique in this business? :)

      Kind regards,
    2. Steve H

      Steve H Director Staff Benefactor Team Trobalt Team Tech Team Awareness Team Research

      York, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Flu, Noise-induced, Jaw trauma
      Hi Mal,

      You are definitely not alone in this, many of us have different tones. I've got 3 myself. I have a different tone in each ear (around 5500Hz and 6500Hz) and I also have a low tone which is a bit like a diesel engine idling. My higher pitch tones are at my ear, as if I have a speaker in my ear canal. The lower one feels like it's inside me.

      And they also behave in different ways, something that will mask the right ear often will not mask the left and vice versa. the low tone is less bothersome unless it's very quiet. Then it can become irritating.

      It's a shame to hear your experiences with Doctors haven't been too positive, it's unfortunately too common that they don't have enough understanding of tinnitus to be able to adapt treatment to the individual.

      Anxiety is a strong link with tinnitus, it will make you worse (kind of obvious I suppose). In my opinion I would recommend you to deal with this too, your Doctor should hopefully be able to guide you on a good treatment strategy. Drugs may help in the short term, but in the long term the best way is to teach yourself to manage it.

      Maskers have a broadband sound, usually white noise, so where you have a hearing loss they will not work very well. You probably need to get a specialist to set something up that is safe for your hearing, which deals properly with the frequency range you need masking. I can make custom masking sounds for you, but with such a big dip in your hearing we'd need to be careful they weren't potentially damaging at the volume you'd need to play them.

      You'll see that there are many people here that are in, or have been in, a similar place to you. Hopefully that will give some comfort, you can get through this and you should find plenty of useful advice on how.

    3. TinnitusGirl

      TinnitusGirl Member

      Los Angeles
      Tinnitus Since:
      I can definitely relate. I have multiple T sounds in both ears, and most of the time it just feels like it resides inside my whole head. It does change occasionally, and sometimes manifests as a "full", pressure-y type feeling in my whole head, which somehow has a noise of its own.

      Steve makes some great suggestions about working with someone to find maskers that meet your T's different frequencies/volumes. Sounds like he may be able to help you out there.

      I actually started a site/blog specifically to help people with the isolated feelings that often accompany tinnitus because I know how terrible they can be. You can check it out at, maybe it will help you feel less alone.
    4. Ray Seddon

      Ray Seddon Member Benefactor

      Western Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unprotected hearing damage - highpowered firearm, open-cab tractors...
      Hi Mal

      I've just joined this forum so I'm new to this. I can relate to two types; I have a white noise and above it and louder is a high-pitched whistle. I've had this since 1984 so that's 30 years... I managed to ignore it for most of that time, only the last couple of years it has increased in volume.
      I am using Hushtinnitus, from the internet which is masking sounds. I selected a white noise type and that has diminished the white noise sound somewhat - it's still there but less volume. This type seems to have no effect on the whistle, however, so I am contemplating switching to a whistle-type masker. I run the maskers all night. It helps me to sleep and I can sleep right through the night with the sound on (just below the level of the T) - with no problems.

      So the masking is giving me some relief but I am a long way from getting on top of this - I guess 30 years of conditioning is going to take many years to undo, so I am perservering...

    5. Mal

      Mal Member Team Tech

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Cinema speakers
      I was amazed, when I entered the 'tinnitus realm' about the complexity of the symptoms and all the factors, that play a role.. Mood, anxiety, stress, drugs, ambient sounds, etc.. I had always pictured tinnitus as a solid constant tone located in one ear, but damn did I grow wiser.

      And thanks for your replies, people. It definitely helps not to be alone in this boat.

      @Steve H The ENT doctors are a joke regarding tinnitus. Had I not sought out knowledge from the tinnitus patients organisation, I would believe when my first ENT doctor told me, that I didn't have a hearing injury. He didn't scan the 6khz frequence, and he refused to do it. I went to another ENT doctor and explicitly asked for the 6khz scan. They did it and confirmed my hearing injury.

      I appreciate your offer for making a custom masker. To this extend I am a bit confused. My Type 1 tinnitus seems to maybe be a little pulsating, but I am not sure, that it is categorised as pulsating tinnitus. It sounds like a kind of 'high pitched white noise', which fluxuates a little. And I'm pretty sure, that it mixes with my hyperacusis (which I am also gifted with after the trauma).
      So besides, that I have a loss in hearing @ 6khz, I am also sensitive to cars breaking sound and the like, and I sometimes cringe out in the traffic.

      @TinnitusGirl I went to your blog, and your story definitely has similarities with mine. One thing, that sent a chill down my spine, was this statement:

      "Friends, if you learn nothing else from this site, remember to always trust your intuition and not give a damn about propriety when it comes to keeping yourself safe and well."

      I got my tinnitus because I believed in both of the following:
      - leaving would be inappropriate (for the people I was there with) and
      - it is impossible to get a hearing injury from a cinema

      My God, I was stupid.. The screeching speaker was ruining my hearing, and it was directly painful.. I only managed to enjoy 1 year of work (software developer) after ended studies before this happened.
      They should show your appeal before any movie/concert to protect the people. I have been to countless concerts, and I also always carried my ear plugs like you.

      @Ray Seddon I will try the hushtinnitus, thanks. I already have the usual bunch of masker apps on my phone (10+?), and so far the nature sounds have given the most relief. But again, I have a really hard time masking my type 1 tinnitus. How did you originally get your tinnitus?

      Best regards,

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