Best Approach to Improve Reactive Tinnitus?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Emgee, May 12, 2020.

    1. Emgee

      Emgee Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Location:
      United States
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Modern Society = Too Loud
      Hi all,

      For those that have had improvements in their reactive tinnitus/hyperacusis, what approach should a newbie take?

      Should I try to avoid sound as much as possible or immerse myself in everyday sounds?

      I have sound-sensitive tinnitus that reacts to external noise and goes away once the sound is gone or I leave the environment. My baseline is low, so it’s just the reactivity that is bothering me.

      Thanks!
       
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    2. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not sure
      Welcome to the forum. Did your tinnitus come from acoustic trauma or loud noise exposure? Usually this can cause high pitched tinnitus and also hyperacusis. One of the result of hyperacusis is that normal sounds tend to feel much louder. Sometimes, people consider reactive tinnitus is a subset of hyperacusis. Here below is an extract from a site talking about Reactive Tinnitus:

      What makes reactive tinnitus different from “normal” tinnitus is that reactive tinnitus is combined with hyperacusis so that we perceive our tinnitus as getting louder as the surrounding noise level increases. As one ear specialist explained, “Reactive tinnitus is a subset of hyperacusis and is due to a collapsed tolerance to louder sounds.”

      What this means is that if your tinnitus was the result of noise trauma, very often, you also get hyperacusis as well as tinnitus. As a result, sounds that become too loud due to your hyperacusis may also cause your tinnitus to increase at the same time. The result? You now have reactive tinnitus.

      One saving grace of hyperacusis that results from noise trauma is that it tends to fade over time and thus the reactive tinnitus tends to get less and less noticeable. Hope yours will follow that same path. In the mean time protect your ears from loud venues and use earplugs to protect from them if you have to be there. Also, try to accept normal ambient sounds of the environment and don't excessive use earplugs for these normal sounds. Too much protection can cause sound sensitivity issue. Good luck. Take care. God bless.
       
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    3. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      HI @Emgee

      I have looked at our previous correspondence and note that ENT has diagnosed you with: ETD an ear infection and TMJ. All three can cause tinnitus. Ear infections are notorious for taking a long time to clear up as much as 3 months or longer. If your tinnitus is caused by any of the medical conditions mentioned, then I believe the best advice to take is from your ENT consultant or orthodontist/dentist if you have TMJ because this is the area of their expertise.

      I have mentioned the above medical conditions because on your Avatar it reads cause of tinnitus unknown. Whilst this is possible it is often not the case. Something usually causes tinnitus and the most common is exposure to loud noise or using headphones for long durations and at high volume levels. If you have been a regular user of headphones it is a possibility, that the main cause of your tinnitus and oversensitivity to sound is the result of exposure to loud noise.

      Once you find out what is causing the tinnitus then hopefully your ENT doctor, Orthodontist/Dentist or be referred to Audiology to see a Hearing Therapist/Audiologist that specialises in tinnitus and hyperacusis treatment and management, if the tinnitus is noise induced.

      All the best.

      Michael
       
    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Emgee

      Emgee Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Location:
      United States
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Modern Society = Too Loud
      Thanks for the insight and advice, Michael. Appreciated as always. Even with the conditions I have been diagnosed with, I am fairly certain my tinnitus is noise-induced as I noticed it a few weeks after a loud noise exposure.

      I understand you said it takes time. I will give it just that. My baseline is low but it reacts to external noise and stops once the noise ends - I believe you regard this as a form of hyperacusis or sound sensitivity. I have been avoiding loud noise but exposing myself to everyday sounds to improve the sensitivity. No change yet after two months. Do you still think this will improve?
       
    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Emgee

      Emgee Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Location:
      United States
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Modern Society = Too Loud
      Hi Billie,

      Thank you for providing insight. I have read posts where reactivity seems to decrease over time, as you mentioned.

      The difference in mine is that it immediately goes away once the external noise stops - it does not stay increased. I am hoping this improves in time. I hope you are doing well. God bless.
       
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    6. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      HI @Emgee

      From the beginning I suspected your tinnitus is noise induced but as you were examined and diagnosed at ENT, I wanted to pursue this route with you first. I do not believe there is a condition called Reactive tinnitus, although many believe there is. One's tinnitus certainly can react to sound but you'll find, most of the people that have this were exposed to loud noise or used headphones regularly that has resulted in them developing Noise induced tinnitus. They may not experience full-blown hyperacusis with pain but as I've previously mentioned, this condition like tinnitus can vary considerably in severity.

      Those that want to discus, deliberate and argue amongst themselves in forums to show who's smarter when it comes to knowing the difference between hyperacusis and so called, Reactive Tinnitus, can go straight ahead, I have nothing to prove. My advice is based on personal experience and knowledge I've acquired through corresponding with people at forums, by email and telephone that have noise induced tinnitus and hyperacusis.

      Your oversensitivity to sound will take time to improve and it's something that cannot be rushed, although I know it's a frustrating ordeal for you. Hyperacusis can take from 12 to 24 months perhaps longer to fully settle down and perhaps be completely cured as mine did, after wearing white noise generators as part of TRT for 2 years. I hasten to add, I had very severe hyperacusis with pain when hearing certain sounds. During conversation with anyone I would politely ask them, to please lower their voice as my ears hurt so much - many times this request resulted in me receiving some strange looks, until I explained the reasons for my discomfort and what I was going through, then all was well.

      You are in the early stages so I advise you to carry on with what your doing. You might want to read my post: Hyperacusis, As I see it, in the link below, just to refresh your memory on what I believe can help hyperacusis or oversensitivity to sound caused by noise trauma to the auditory system. See how things go and remember to use low level sound enrichment at night. You may need additional help by getting a referral to see an Audiologist/Hearing Therapist that specialises in noise induced tinnitus and hyperacusis treatment and management. For now I would continue with self help and see how you get on. Give it another 3 or 4 months if things haven't improved, then seek professional help with the healthcare professional I have mentioned.

      All the best
      Michael

      PS: I am doing ok and thanks for asking.

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/hyperacusis-as-i-see-it.19174/
       
    7. CAgirl

      CAgirl Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      3 M80 Firecrackers
      @Emgee What is the status of your reactive tinnitus? This morning I had the usual hissing. However, once the TV turned on and ambient sounds became louder, the moderate hissing began reacting to it with an electricity type quality. And once that began, the entire baseline shifts up in volume and is more of an electrical, piercing hiss, versus just the white noise hiss. If that makes any sense? If only this reactivity would calm down, my baseline is much more manageable.
       
    8. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Emgee

      Emgee Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Location:
      United States
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Modern Society = Too Loud
      That’s a bit similar to what I experience. When I wake up, my baseline is around a 4/10. The problem is whenever I hear consistent external noise, my reactivity goes crazy. It elevates above the external noise and becomes much more piercing and electrical. For this reason, I have to avoid sound as much as possible. I can’t watch TV, listen to music, or even go near my fridge for too long. Otherwise, it becomes so high-pitched and loud. Also, my baseline usually increases throughout the day up to around 6 or 7 out of 10 (depends on the day). The reactivity, however, is always a 10/10. If I could get rid of the reactivity, I would consider myself cured, even though my baseline isn’t the greatest. I’d welcome any improvement at all.
       
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    9. CAgirl

      CAgirl Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      3 M80 Firecrackers
      @Emgee yes I could have written those words myself!!! And you’ve seen no improvement in 5 months? Have you asked others with reactive tinnitus if they’ve gotten better? Or heard stories? I don’t feel it’s the same as hyperacusis. But hard to say.
       
    10. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Emgee

      Emgee Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Location:
      United States
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Modern Society = Too Loud
      Unfortunately, mine got worse over the five months. I’ve spoken with many who have it and some had theirs improve while others did not. For the cases that improved, it did appear that it took a while to get better (generally greater than 6 months).

      There is uncertainty regarding whether or not reactive tinnitus should be classified as a form of proper tinnitus or as a version of hyperacusis. I personally believe it’s a form of frequency-specific hyperacusis where the central gain is turned up upon hearing external noise due to cochlear damage. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. It’s still an awful condition, though I do believe it will be alleviated to some degree by regenerative medicine.

      Hang in there and protect your ears. Everybody is different. You can surely improve over time. Wishing you all the best.
       
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    11. serendipity1996
      No Mood

      serendipity1996 Member Podcast Patron

      Tinnitus Since:
      2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown but suspect noise-induced
      I have a similar form of reactive tinnitus - it's disconcerting as I'm unsure whether to class it as a form of tinnitus or hyperacusis. It feels like a weird hybrid of both. For me, my reactive tinnitus isn't necessarily 'loud', it just develops a very harsh, piercing electrical quality where I can almost feel it cutting my ears. I agree that it must be some form of frequency-specific damage.
       
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    12. CAgirl

      CAgirl Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      3 M80 Firecrackers
      @serendipity1996 That’s exactly how I describe mine! I’m only 3 weeks in. How long have you had this and has it improved at all?
       
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    13. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Emgee

      Emgee Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Location:
      United States
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Modern Society = Too Loud
      Does your reactivity kick in for only certain noises or all consistent external noise? I have a feeling regenerative medicine, and FX-322 specifically, will help us at least somewhat.
       
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    14. serendipity1996
      No Mood

      serendipity1996 Member Podcast Patron

      Tinnitus Since:
      2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown but suspect noise-induced
      I had a setback about 7 months ago - I have improved a great deal since then and most everyday noise doesn't trigger my reactive tinnitus or hyperacusis except I still have issues with artificial audio - cheap laptop speakers, phone etc. This triggers facial symptoms for me (hyperacusis) and also makes my tinnitus feel really unpleasant and piercing. I've definitely improved a lot so IMO you will likely make a good recovery! If I flashback to 5 months ago, February, I was a complete mess - hyperacusis with burning prolonged pain in silence, difficulty leaving the house, suicidal ideation and misery. I'm not 100% there yet but it's improved substantially just with time and rest. This is actually technically my 'second' go with hyperacusis so there's every chance you will get significantly better if this is your first time.
       
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    15. CAgirl

      CAgirl Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      3 M80 Firecrackers
      Oh my goodness! Thank you for the good news!! Was yours noise induced? I had an acoustic trauma. I’m sooo glad you’re doing better. Yes I get the same piercing feeling in my ear. My tinnitus is sort of an annoying hiss in the morning, but when it reacts to sounds it sounds like electricity-a shrill piercing sound. Then it stays elevated most of the day and spikes up with noise. I am also not doing well mentally or physically. How long was it before you began noticing improvements? Did you do anything to help along the process? I’m sorry you’re still reacting to some noises. Hopefully you’ll continue to recover.
       
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    16. Greg Sacramento

      Greg Sacramento Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      syringing and now somatic T dental work
    17. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Emgee

      Emgee Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Location:
      United States
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Modern Society = Too Loud
      2C25CE16-DC26-41A7-9176-C82F9948B28D.png

      Hi Greg, I came across and read this before. I have the version that Chuck described, which the author goes on to speculate could actually be audio pareidolia. I don’t see any reason to believe this is the case. I wonder if my problem is more related to cochlear inflammation opposed to hair cell/synapse death. It is such an intricate and perplexing condition. Perhaps, I may have an inflammatory condition causing my reactivity.
       
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    18. Tara Lyons

      Tara Lyons Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/01/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @serendipity1996 hi! I also struggle with artificial audio hyperacusis, I’ve reacted to speakers on the walls at work, radios, TVs and phones. And people’s voices. It’s horrible. What did you do to treat this? Anything? I’ve read so many things about how to treat this - expose your ears to every day sounds, protect yours ears all the time, artificial noise at night, no artificial noise at night...
       
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    19. serendipity1996
      No Mood

      serendipity1996 Member Podcast Patron

      Tinnitus Since:
      2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown but suspect noise-induced
      Honestly I've just not exposed them to artificial audio sources and I am just trying to ensure I make a decent recovery. I don't generally use earplugs for going out or anything but do tend to err on the side of over-protection for now. Just speaking for myself, I figure if it causes pain it's a sign to give your ears a break - I tried to push through this initially and it just made me worse.
       
    20. Tara Lyons

      Tara Lyons Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/01/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @serendipity1996 do you use any white noise or sound enrichment at night?
       
    21. serendipity1996
      No Mood

      serendipity1996 Member Podcast Patron

      Tinnitus Since:
      2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown but suspect noise-induced
      No I tried listening to pink/brown noise but it triggered my symptoms.
       
    22. bobvann
      Cheeky

      bobvann Member

      Location:
      Inside the vortex
      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud shit
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    23. serendipity1996
      No Mood

      serendipity1996 Member Podcast Patron

      Tinnitus Since:
      2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown but suspect noise-induced
      Oops didn't see this! It mostly tends to be artificial audio so laptop/phone speakers. It triggers a weird hybrid of tinnitus and hyperacusis for me, like I can feel my tinnitus piercing through my ears. I really hope FX-322 helps us!!
       
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    24. serendipity1996
      No Mood

      serendipity1996 Member Podcast Patron

      Tinnitus Since:
      2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown but suspect noise-induced
      Yes noise induced. Omg yeah it feels so electrical. My recovery has had its up and downs but it's generally trending in the right direction. The first 3-4 months were the acute phase with burning lingering pain, aural fullness, increased tinnitus and searing ear pain. I still struggle with some facial symptoms and even though my ears are out of pain I can tell that I am still healing. It's honestly just taken a lot of time and patience and ensuring I protect my ears.
       
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    25. serendipity1996
      No Mood

      serendipity1996 Member Podcast Patron

      Tinnitus Since:
      2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown but suspect noise-induced
      It does seem that in many cases, perhaps most cases, reactive tinnitus and painful hyperacusis tend to improve substantially for most people provided you ensure you give yourself the opportunity to heal. I mean, I'm 7-8 months in and it's definitely improved a lot - still not quite there yet but I'm optimistic this condition will improve for us. Even on an hyperacusis support group I joined (which tends to represent more severe sufferers), it's apparently rare for hyperacusis to just worsen drastically of its own accord. 8 months feels like a long time but in tinnitus and hyperacusis terms it's really not. I also think regenerative medicine could help us, I would be surprised if fixing the underlying damage didn't yield any improvements. Given that these conditions tend to improve just with time and rest from noise, since there are no medical treatments or interventions.

      Noxacusis etc/reactive tinnitus is horrible but it does seem that for many people there is an acute phase and then it improves significantly with time and calms down.

      I'm not convinced that it's a condition that is extremely impermeable to change and once you've got it it's permanently wired into your system like some nightmarish horror story.

      I'm in no way trying to downplay the plight of severe sufferers in saying this. I hope we can all recover.
       
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    26. Gordon Steinberg

      Gordon Steinberg Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      7/25/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Very Loud Noise
      Hi,

      May I ask how you are doing? I am exactly three weeks after an acoustic trauma. I don't really care about my normal tinnitus as it is very quiet, however, I have this same phenomenon where a tinnitus tone accompanies external noise, such as a fan, air conditioning, etc... It feels as though the sound is being interpreted as tinnitus, for lack of a better description. As soon as I turn off the stimulus, like shutting off the fan, the noise stops.

      I remember this happened to me once before after an incident, but it went away within a few days, whereas now I have been with this for some weeks.

      Would appreciate your perspective on how it has changed over time if at all, and anything you feel has helped to reduce the volume/occurrence.

      Thanks!
       
    27. weab00
      Alone

      weab00 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      depression-ville
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      music, concerts, whiplash; 08/20 H worsening
      I’m hoping you’re right on this. With the regenerative treatment part and resting ears. I have moderate pain hyperacusis that causes whistling overtones and sound distortions to many sounds and painful pangs/stabs to the ear drum. It’s only been 2 weeks though so I’m thinking that I’m still in the acute phase and things will improve much more in a year’s time.
       
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    28. GBB

      GBB Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Microsuction / Virus / Acoustic Trauma in one month
      I have the same thing regarding reactivity having a physical feeling. For me it varies between burning and a super harsh nails on a chalkboard feeling that effects my whole body. Did your reactivity get better over time?
       
    29. serendipity1996
      No Mood

      serendipity1996 Member Podcast Patron

      Tinnitus Since:
      2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown but suspect noise-induced
      Sort of - I am pretty much symptom-free with one exception: artificial audio is still an issue - noise from my laptop/phone. It's lessened and I used to get a delayed reaction that consisted of burning and facial pain. I don't really get much of a delayed reaction anymore but I still can't handle anymore than like 20 minutes? The sound quality actually sounds different though - almost very tinny and poor-quality. I'm forced to conclude that I must have damage at those frequencies otherwise why else would I be having these issues? I hope it improves!
       
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