Both My Hearing Loss and Tinnitus (Almost) Cured — Caused by .223 Sniper Rifle Fired Near My Ear

Discussion in 'Success Stories' started by Screeeee, Aug 3, 2020.

    1. Screeeee

      Screeeee Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      July 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Someone fired a .223 sniper rifle 1m away from my ear
      I am 25 years old today. I want to preface this post by saying I'm so so sorry for everyone going through this. It is such a debilitating condition and I almost killed myself from it, I know how you feel perfectly, and I empathise with every single one of you. I'm not writing this to give long-term sufferers hope that they will recover, I'm writing this so that people who are new to this know there are people out there like me who have had a drastic improvement over the course of a year and to at least hold on to hope for a little while (1-2 years). I didn't want to be one of those people that "recovered and went away", and with all the negativity on this forum, every success story counts.

      I'm going to break this down into a timeline, I am going to tell you what I did, what I tried, what worked for me. This is what I felt helped me, and it's my story.

      Onset; August 2019: How did I get my hearing loss and tinnitus? I had perfect hearing, then one day I went to my friends farm and he had guns, to which I have never been exposed to before. I had no idea how loud there were. I fired a few rounds of a double barrel shotgun (both barrels at once) and that caused some ringing, I was reckless. But this isn't what "broke the camels back". My friend's brother had a .223 Sniper Rifle sitting on a bench near a BBQ which I was cooking for everyone, he snuck up and fired it. I was barely 1m away from the blast and my left ear was facing the muzzle. THIS is what damaged my hearing, and I have suffered with it's consequences, and still do to some extent.

      I was in denial. I had hoped my hearing would recover. What i was left with was a "muted" left ear that felt full all the time. My love for music was gone. I could hear my tinnitus during the day, during conversations, even in the shower. I could not escape it. I learned to sleep without putting my ears on my pillows. I couldn't even cover my good ear because my left ear "took over" and I'd hear the tinnitus anyway. Masking noises with rain, crickets and fire was all that helped.

      September 2019: The mental strain was insane. I had become a husk of my former self, and had lost all my friends in the process. My work had taken a huge hit too. I took a month off work and decided to travel around Europe, to clear my head so to speak, to come to terms with it all. I was still in denial and refused to see a doctor or ENT about it. I didn't want it to be "real", to be diagnosed with hearing loss, to wear hearing aids at 24 years old (at the time).

      October 2019: I came back from Europe, my hearing loss just as bad. While on the trip, I had suffered from a bad ear infection, and had to take a plane back home, which exacerbated the condition. My tinnitus was absolutely screaming. I couldn't do it anymore, I went to see all sorts of doctors, I was given prednisone, I took MRIs, blood scans, everything. I wanted a solution, a way to minimise this. This is when I took my first audiogram, two-three months after on-set. The audiogram was done on 28/10/2019. See the attached file. I had a significant mid frequency dip at around 1 kHz, which perfectly matched the pitch of my tinnitus. Playing tones at 1 kHz to 2 kHz gave me temporary relief (10-20 seconds, but it was something).

      Audiogram before:

      Audiogram Before.png

      December 2019 to May 2020: My hearing loss and tinnitus remained the same. Not one day went by where I did not regret my decision of going to that farm. I became obsessed with it.

      * I had earplugs on my key chain at all times.
      * I bought a dB sound monitor (word of advice: DO NOT use your phone to monitor sound levels with those shitty apps, they should be illegal. It's dangerous. They are not calibrated to be able to "hear" above a certain threshold of sound and just clip. That 90dB sound your listening to can be in excess of 100dB. Buy a decent sound monitor of eBay, it's only $30 or so for a basic one).
      * I bought a ear camera to view and see my eardrum, I popped my eustachian tubes and could see my eardrum expand. That was cool. I cleaned out the wax with a solution of hydrogen peroxide.
      * I bought one of the netti pots and flushed my sinuses every week or so.
      * I popped my ears all the time.
      * Avoided all kinds of loud sounds. I wore noise cancelling headphones all the time, and I'd only wear my headphones over my left ear and play music into it at lower volumes because I couldn't handle listening to different sounds in both ears. To be honest, I think listening to music with one ear is what helped my ear get better, as my brain was receiving only sensory input from that ear. But I can't back this up, this is what worked for me. It's anecdotal.

      I had mostly began getting "used" to it by May. I could at least function like I used to and went out and made all sorts of new friends.

      June 2020: I didn't recognise an improvement, until one day, I did, my tinnitus tone had whittled down to the point that I could only hear it at night, according to my noise monitor, if ambient sound is <38dB, I can hear my tinnitus. Which is not bad compared to what it used to be! 38dB is the sound of sitting in your car with windows up, engine off in a quiet sub-urban street. I could finally sleep with my ear on my pillow, yes the tinnitus was there, but it wasn't screaming, sometimes it disappeared into a very faint distant whistle. I noticed this change over night almost. There was also the rare night where I my tinnitus was nothing more than a mere hiss, if I didn't know what tinnitus was, I don't think I would've picked it up at all.

      July 2020: I woke up and my muffled hearing had returned. I had immediately taken my headphones off and stopped listening to music again. It was fluctuating. When I listened to music, it sounded as if my left ear had it's own heartbeat. I could "feel" my eardrum moving. It was weird. I booked an appointment with an audiologist, I wanted to get it checked out, and the appointment was 1 week out. When I went to the audiologist, my hearing was once again "un-muffled and fine". I took the test. See the attached "Audiogram now", it's almost as if I never went through a hearing loss episode. My left ear had made an improvement I didn't think possible showing excellent hearing/no hearing loss.

      Audiogram now:

      Audiogram Now.png

      Where I am now: It still fluctuates, my hearing muffles maybe once every three or four days for a period of 3 hours or so in the morning where I feel a fullness in my left ear. I don't know what it is, but it's getting better, and less frequent, and in time so long as I stay careful, I am confident it will go away, and hopefully, in 5-10 years, we will have treatment available to fix whatever damage the idiot who fired that gun caused. But most importantly, I have habituated to it, even if it DIDN'T go away, I won't let it control my life anymore. I have acknowledged it as a mistake of the past and it's made me stronger in every way possible.

      I just want to say to the new people. It DOES get better. I can't promise you it will go away, no one can, and anyone who says so is full of ****. Go out there and live your best life, don't look back at the past too much, I wish I did that a lot less and I could've maybe saved some of my relationships, even if it doesn't go away, you will get used to it. This I can promise.

      TLDR; I had debilitating hearing loss and tinnitus which has mostly vanished. My before audiogram was taken two months after acoustic trauma and my after audiogram was taken last month.
       
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    2. tbuzz89

      tbuzz89 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Good question.
      Seems like you've been making some great progress in the last year. So you're saying that your tinnitus has lowered a substantial amount now and stays that way, or the tinnitus still fluctuates up and down?

      Looks like from your post that you still use headphones. Considering how much progress you've made, most people on this forum HIGHLY advise you never use earbuds or headphones again as they do a lot more damage than people are aware.

      Thanks for sharing your story, @Screeeee.
       
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    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Screeeee

      Screeeee Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      July 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Someone fired a .223 sniper rifle 1m away from my ear
      My tinnitus has made a permanent improvement since 2019. It is much much quieter now, but still there. I think it changed tone from the 1-2 kHz it used to be to more like 8-12kHz. Some days I don't have tinnitus at all. My hearing loss is almost gone.

      Thank you for your advice regarding headphones, I only use them in quiet settings at a low volume :)
       
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    4. tbuzz89

      tbuzz89 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Good question.
      It's always nice to read positive stories of people getting better, especially after a major acoustic trauma like yours. Congrats!
      I would still err on the side of caution. There are numerous posts from people on this site that have used headphones only at low volumes and still encountered issues because of it. Believe me, I miss music through headphones immensely, but not willing to take a chance to make this screaming beast any worse.
       
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    5. sensualmosquito
      Dreaming

      sensualmosquito Member

      Location:
      New Mexico
      Tinnitus Since:
      June 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      6-8 khz HL, T and H from gunshots
      That's very significant that your hearing improved that much over time! From what I have read this doesn't usually happen. I'm nearly 2 months into a similar incident (pistol shots) and I've been told that my hearing is irreversibly done for. My losses are in the higher ranges and my tinnitus fluctuates although I can nearly always hear it. Did you have more reactive tinnitus that got worse with certain sounds? For me I take a shower and when I get out the tinnitus is 3 times worse.

      I'm so glad you've made such a recovery. It gives me a little bit of hope that my life will slowly come back, even if I don't get all the sound back.
       
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    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Screeeee

      Screeeee Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      July 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Someone fired a .223 sniper rifle 1m away from my ear
      Yes! I had exactly this, still to this day, but it's a minor inconvenience that I handle by rolling the end of a piece of tissue and inserting it into my ear canal gently and drying all the water. I do this several times to make sure I get it all. Goes away after a few minutes when I do this, otherwise stays for hours on end while my ear canal/ear drum is wet. It's a lot less these days so I can get away without it but I still do it out of habit.

      Have hope. it's still early, my initial audiogram was 2 months out from the cause, so going by that it should have been permanent, but my current audiogram shows both my conductive and sensorineural hearing loss have gone back to above -10dB, 11 months after the gunshot. And I'm going to say the situation for me only changed around 9-10 months in.

      I'm not going to go as far as to say it's what it used to be, I can still feel some slight pressure in my left ear on occasion, especially if I have an energy drink, coffee, i'm stressed or I listen to too much music, which didn't happen before, but my ear is probably 90-95% back now. I'm hoping for more improvement over the next year, but if not, I'm fine with this :)
       
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    7. Falchion

      Falchion Member

      Location:
      Utrecht, Netherlands
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/05/20
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hammer drill
      Thanks for posting this. It's so good to see people drop in and share their successes!
       
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    8. tbuzz89

      tbuzz89 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Good question.
      Did you experience any fading up to this point or did you just notice that one day it turned down and stayed that way?
       
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    9. Juan

      Juan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      Congrats for your recovery! And remember... your ears are priceless. From now on be careful with noise ;-)
       
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    10. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Screeeee

      Screeeee Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      July 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Someone fired a .223 sniper rifle 1m away from my ear
      Rating tinnitus to 10, where 10 is where life isn't worth living anymore:

      It was constant 9/10 Tinnitus (extremely noticeable everywhere, even in the shower);

      then it started bouncing between 6/10 (which is still horrible, I heard it in conversations but was able to escape it in showers) and 9/10 tinnitus a few months down the track;

      then it started bouncing between 4/10 (quite audible in a quiet car, not in conversations) and 6/10 tinnitus a few months more;

      now it bounces between 2/10 (almost inaudible in a quiet car, really have to listen to it, still audible at night, sometimes it even goes to a 1/10 which is a slight whistle or hiss as opposed to a ringing) and 4/10 tinnitus.

      My hearing in that ear improved noticeably at each stage of that. The hearing loss sucked, but what was even worse was the feeling of having a full ear 24/7, almost as if something was pushing against the eardrum, a similar feeling to when your ears pop on an airplane, but 24/7, only one ear, and it doesn't pop back, and actually popping it (by holding nose and blowing) makes it feel even worse. And hearing sound as if it's coming from my right even though it is coming from straight ahead. Makes you want to poke it with a screwdriver, I got how Van Gogh felt.

      I still experience said bouncing. I get the 4/10 tinnitus (which is audible in a quiet car) every couple of days or so and with it, it comes with a slightly full ear feeling, however, the good news is it lasts only a few hours before defaulting back to the 2/10 state (which is only audible at night when trying to sleep), maybe it's the way I'm sleeping and gravity is having an effect, not sure. On the off occasion the tinnitus goes down to 1/10 which is a whistle/hiss as opposed to a ringing.

      It seems I've recovered from what was initially diagnosable full blown hearing loss (-50dB, but possible even worse initially as this was 2 months in) and now I have hidden hearing loss (I can hear at all frequencies in the tested range at near 0dB), and I've self tested in addition to the audiologist report and can hear frequencies up to about 16-17kHz in both ears. I'll definitely keep updating if it improves another year down the track (however unlikely, but possible) and fingers crossed in 5-10 years we'll have a viable medical solution to this problem.
       
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    11. sensualmosquito
      Dreaming

      sensualmosquito Member

      Location:
      New Mexico
      Tinnitus Since:
      June 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      6-8 khz HL, T and H from gunshots
      Did you ever have hyperacusis/recruitment? My ear now sounds like a broken microphone and even sounds i can hear are mushed and distorted. It gets worse with higher volume too.
       
    12. tbuzz89

      tbuzz89 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Good question.
      Your story is really incredible @Screeeee! Very happy you’ve been recovering so well and that you came to share your story. I’m sure this will give a lot of people some hope and strength.

      @Bill Bauer, I’d say this is a pretty good example of what you always always say regarding fading.
       
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    13. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      I've been reading this forum for about 3.5 years, and I began saying/believing that after reading many other stories similar to this one.
       
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    14. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Screeeee

      Screeeee Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      July 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Someone fired a .223 sniper rifle 1m away from my ear
      Probably not in the sense you are describing. It just felt irritating to listen to music because of the difference in volume in both ears, but, I could feel a little rumble/itch in my left ear when music was playing.
       
    15. Jrblovsky

      Jrblovsky Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Christmas 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Gunfire. I think
      Glad you recovered. I think about suicide everyday. Eventually I will follow through with it. I have absolutely no enjoyment in life anymore. I lost my career, and all enjoyment in everything. Having a 75 decibel roar in your head all the time can make any person crazy. Makes me sad to know I won't be around to see my kids grow up.
       
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    16. Kendra

      Kendra Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      SSNHL/ Acoustic Trauma
      Praying for you. Keep holding on and have hope! Medical advancements for a treatment/ cure are being made and will hopefully come out in the next few years. I know it can be hard but try and talk to a therapist and if you have any hearing loss hopefully a hearing aid might help lessen the intrusiveness.
       
    17. MindOverMatter

      MindOverMatter Member

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown (possibly stress induced, and later sound)
      Heartbreaking to read @Jrblovsky Your kids will need you also in the future. You will get through it! There is help to get, and anyone can potentially get better from this condition. Do not loose your hope, and stay strong!
       
    18. Jrblovsky

      Jrblovsky Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Christmas 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Gunfire. I think
      Hi Kendra,

      I've tried all that stuff. I have cochlear Meniere's and the pressure is destroying my inner ear. Unlike most people who have slow onset and stages, I have gone from 10% loss in January of this year to a 50% loss now. My hearing continues to decline rapidly with no other explanation. My only hope is a cochlear implant.
       
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    19. Kendra

      Kendra Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      SSNHL/ Acoustic Trauma
      I’ve heard a cochlear implant does help many people’s tinnitus. Hang in there any hopefully that will fix the tinnitus problems.
       
    20. Rb86

      Rb86 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      5/31/19
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      Isn't there a drug that's almost released for Meniere's?

      All I know is this: Tinnitus is a bitch that nobody fully understands yet. Being that you haven't even had this a year yet, give it time. It very well will fluctuate with no rhyme or reason. What helps me cope are hot baths, or reading articles about things, researching to get my mind off it. Not about tinnitus but anything you're interested in. Hang tough, help is on the way.
       
    21. Jrblovsky

      Jrblovsky Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Christmas 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Gunfire. I think
      I don't know about the drug. I was very optimistic about improving but I honestly keep getting worse. The noise now is piercing loud all the time. I used to get days where the noise would totally stop for a few hours, but not anymore. Everything sounds so horribly muffled. I would do anything get rid of or just get relief from.
       
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    22. GBB

      GBB Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Microsuction / Virus / Acoustic Trauma in one month
      I believe they mean Betahistine.
       
    23. Jrblovsky

      Jrblovsky Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Christmas 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Gunfire. I think
      Betahistine is not available in the United States. The only way is to have it compounded which is not covered by insurance and runs $80 a month. I spent the money and had a month worth but found no relief while taking it. It mostly helps with vertigo I'm told, which I don't have.
       

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