Can't Put on Headphones (Even When Off), or Put in Earplugs without Tinnitus Exploding

Discussion in 'Support' started by tinnitucide, Jul 16, 2021.

    1. tinnitucide
      Gloomy

      tinnitucide Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      god's hatred
      Hello everyone,

      As of about a week and a half ago I suddenly got tinnitus in my left ear. I wasn't doing anything in particular to "trigger" it , but I hadn't been taking good care of my body before that - not exercising much, smoking a lot of weed and drinking a lot, working a sitting desk job...

      I still work my sitting desk job, but now I am constantly stretching (not that it's helped my neck or back pain at all), have completely cut alcohol from my diet, exercise every day and am on a course of two separate antibiotics prescribed by my primary care doctor. None of it has helped at all - the only thing that makes the ringing in my left ear even remotely better is vigorous exercise, and that is very, very short lived. TMJ exercises seem to also briefly help and there is a clicking in my jaw on the side with tinnitus but not on the "good" side, which, combined with the fact that the antibiotics do absolutely nothing, makes me think that this whole thing was caused by TMJ and not an ear infection as my primary care doctor initially thought I'm going to an ENT and dentist within the next 2 weeks which should hopefully give me more clues.

      That being said... my tinnitus is pretty low and manageable normally, and I barely notice it (except when I'm out at a noisy bar or anywhere else fun, which I'm no longer allowed to do because God hates me).

      My concern is that I absolutely CANNOT have anything in or over the affected ear whatsoever. If I put an earplug in, the tinnitus goes from manageable to unbearable. If I put headphones on - not TURNING them on, literally just wearing a pair of silent headphones over my ear - it becomes unbearable. If I turn on my fucking side in my sleep and accidentally cover the affected ear with my pillow, the tinnitus becomes unbearable.

      I love headphones. I loved listening to music. It used to give me the electric energy to push through my novels and creative work (I'm a writer) or let me really get into video games or YouTube videos. I find that I don't enjoy music at all and don't really even like watching youtube much if I can't have my headphones on to feel part of the experience. But within minutes of putting a pair of headphones on, my head is buzzing so bad that I all but have to throw them off.

      Everyone says that "headphones don't cause tinnitus, noise does!" So what the hell is going on here? I want to be able to do the things I love again. This fucking piece of shit tinnitus has completely dominated my life for the past week and a half, ruined my social life by making going out with friends impossible, and forced me to make dramatic life changes to cope. The fact that I can't even wear my favorite headphones when they're OFF makes me want to cry. Or kill myself. I can't find any answers for this or even anyone with the same problem. If you can help, I really need some right now.
       
      • Hug Hug x 4
    2. Foamearplugssuck
      Angry

      Foamearplugssuck Member

      Location:
      new dorp new york
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/26/19
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Doing concert photography
      Oof, I definitely understand what you're going through. the hardest part of dealing with tinnitus for me is not using headphones. Music isn't the same anymore. I long to go out with my friends but I can't because of this stupid noise. I'd be lying if I said he gets easier to deal with, but the longer you live with it, the more you get used to it/less you want to jump out of a window lol.

      I am not a doctor, but I think part of this may be mental. If you were listening to music with headphones, I would expect you to get a spike. But putting headphones on and just wearing them shouldn't be doing anything to your tinnitus. Maybe there is an element of you psyching yourself out by putting headphones? The act itself though shouldn't be impacting your tinnitus. I will say that my tinnitus definitely seems louder whenever I put in earplugs because there is no longer any outside noise that is masking it, but that isn't what you seem to be describing. though, I will say that foam earplugs usually give me a spike, and I think that's because they irritate my ear canals. But who knows.

      Hopefully someone else can chime in here and offer some more tips and explanations. hang in there for now; things will get a little less awful.
       
    3. Matchbox
      Wishful

      Matchbox Member

      Location:
      BC Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      August 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced, Prednisone (drones), Barotrauma (distortions)
      Welcome. Unfortunately it's just something you'll need to invest in good speakers for. Headphones are notoriously bad for this condition.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    4. Brian Newman

      Brian Newman Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/28/16
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shooting/loud noise
      Hey man, sorry you're having a hard time right now. Definitely get your hearing tested. If somebody gets random hearing loss and tinnitus, taking Prednisone ASAP can help a lot. Every day that goes by the effective window goes down more and more. If you don't have hearing loss, get your upper neck checked by a chiropractor. Do not be depressed. You will get better. It will most likely get quieter over time or even disappear.

      I used to have only tinnitus and man do I want to go back to bad. Now I have severe hyperacusis and severe dysacusis. The ringing I could always ignore with background noise and crickets. Now if I hear any noise, everything is horribly distorted and my ears will hurt for the rest of the day. My own voice hurts.

      Keep working out and doing what you're doing. You will get better I promise. Enjoy life. Spend time with people you love. Try Lipoflavonoid. It helps me a bit.
       
    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      tinnitucide
      Gloomy

      tinnitucide Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      god's hatred
      It is definitely not psychological. I have noticed many clear mechanical causes of my tinnitus that have absolutely nothing to do with anxiety/stress. I am often a pretty anxious person but even when I am extremely anxious I have noticed absolutely no change in my tinnitus whatsoever; it has virtually zero reaction to my mental state.

      However, taking a shower will consistently cause a very short spike; being in a noisy environment will cause it to get much worse rapidly (and stay worse for 24~ hours); and when I wake up in the morning, it is very loud, but quiets down after a while. When I move my head sharply to one side or back - considerably louder. For the first thirty seconds of wearing headphones, I tend to relax and start to get into whatever I'm doing on the computer... And then I'll notice an intense "buzz" starting to grow within my head which starts getting worse and worse. For me personally at least, everything seems to have a strongly mechanical cause with almost no psychological aspect; I can sit in bed feeling anxiety literally tighten my chest thinking about whether my Tinnitus will cause me to not be able to sleep but easily manage it with breathing exercises and not actually notice my tinnitus at all, which doesn't change whether I'm totally relaxed or having a panic attack.

      But if I turn to the side and accidentally cover my affected ear with my pillow, after just a few seconds it will grow extremely loud. The one thing I am almost positive of is that the ears-covering-tinnitus thing is a mechanical issue, not a psychological one.
      I've got decent speakers.... It's just not the same, man. It's just not the same.
      I don't think I have any hearing loss... I've always had extremely excellent ears and still do. I can pick out each individual noise in my environment from rooms away and hear my computer fans through multiple doors, or clearly detect individual pieces of machinery running through a closed window. If anything, this has just made me more sensitive to noise, especially loud noise. Now I just have an additional buzzing in my ear - it's subtle enough that I don't notice it most of the time, but it can cause significant psychological distress when I hear a noise and can't tell whether it's from the environment or invasive tinnitus, which can flare up seemingly randomly sometimes. And after those spike causers like waking up or taking a shower, it's *extremely* loud. If I wake up early it's hard to go back to sleep because of the intense buzzing.

      Visiting a chiropractor definitely sounds like a good idea. The fact that it's only in one ear, the intense and inexplicable muscle stiffness of my neck and clicking in my jaw on the affected side combined with the seemingly purely 'physical' nature of my tinnitus has me pretty convinced that it's TMJ, which seems like something a good chiropractor could help with. Hope your ears get better, man.

      Thanks everyone for the kind words. I'll be visiting an ENT doctor in three days (July 19) to test for hearing loss and other things that should provide information, but as I've mentioned I now personally believe this is caused by TMJ (/muscle stiffness) due to matching most of the symptoms, antibiotics doing nothing, and its strong mechanical reactions. Unfortunately, it has definitely been getting much worse over the course of the last two weeks; at the start of the month I didn't have tinnitus, then I had very slight ringing that I thought was due to earwax, and now I have consistently noticeable noise that is extremely loud in the mornings (but thankfully gets quieter after a while being awake). I will keep everyone updated on progress and whatever info I might have; in the meantime, if you have any insights on what's going on here, please share.
       
      • Informative Informative x 1
      • Creative Creative x 1
    6. Brian Newman

      Brian Newman Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/28/16
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shooting/loud noise
      Yeah man, let me know how you're doing, ask the chiropractor about C1 and C2, he can do some tests. But if you do go through with it, your tinnitus will spike after adjustments, or at least mine did but went back to normal. If your tinnitus is caused by it, it should quiet down. Make sure he’s a good Chiro because you don’t want to get worse.
       
      • Useful Useful x 1
    7. Wrfortiscue
      Provocative

      Wrfortiscue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      How long do you spike after adjustment?
       
    8. Brian Newman

      Brian Newman Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/28/16
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shooting/loud noise
      I spike like for a few hours. I went for 4 months, tinnitus actually got a little better with distortions until last week. My new adjustment made my ears go crazy. I’m taking a break from it for a while.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    9. Wrfortiscue
      Provocative

      Wrfortiscue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      That sucks. I just did my first adjustment yesterday.
       
    10. Brian Newman

      Brian Newman Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/28/16
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shooting/loud noise
      How was it?
       
    11. Wrfortiscue
      Provocative

      Wrfortiscue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Everything was fine but I’ve been spiking lately at night. Just spiking for the first time.
      Left ear pretty loud right now.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    12. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      tinnitucide
      Gloomy

      tinnitucide Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      god's hatred
      That sucks, man. Just try not to focus on it at all and it'll return to normal, with any luck.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    13. Brian Newman

      Brian Newman Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/28/16
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shooting/loud noise
      Did he check your C1 and C2?
       
    14. Wrfortiscue
      Provocative

      Wrfortiscue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      He just did the usual chiropractor adjustment lol. Neck, back, hips, and then used some electrodes and ice in neck area.
       
    15. Wrfortiscue
      Provocative

      Wrfortiscue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Turns out my left ear squeak noise evolved and is super reactive to white noise now. Very high frequency. I turned off everything and laid flat and it calmed down.
       
    16. EddieL.

      EddieL. Member

      Location:
      Connecticut, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      The reason why your tinnitus seems louder when you cover your ears is because there's no outside noise to mask it at all, and the ringing is more noticeably trapped in your head.
       
    17. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      tinnitucide
      Gloomy

      tinnitucide Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      god's hatred
      Nope. It's not my perception of the tinnitus that grows louder. Sure, I can perceive it as slightly louder within the first few seconds... And then it immediately starts to grow MUCH louder. We're talking 10x-20x louder - from so subtle that the hum of the fridge will mask it completely and when it's covered I sometimes can't actually hear anything at all and don't think about it... to explosively loud buzzing after less than a minute. It's not just that I'm hearing it more. It's physically growing much, much, MUCH louder.

      ENT visit tomorrow, will note whatever's found.
      Yeah, I'm starting to get some serious hyperacusis too, that really sucks - hope it goes away quick for you.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    18. Wrfortiscue
      Provocative

      Wrfortiscue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Is that hyperacusis? I don’t have any pain associated.
       
    19. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      tinnitucide
      Gloomy

      tinnitucide Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      god's hatred
      I believe so. I also seem to have some hyperacusis - most sounds seem louder to me now, even though I rationally know they are not (no, brain, the sound of ceramic plates hitting a metal fork is not that loud.)

      I finally got my audiologist's hearing test - as I strongly suspected, I have absolutely no hearing loss. The audiologist told me that I have some of the best hearing she's seen in years, in both ears. It's nice to get formal confirmation of suspicions; and this also means that it isn't the irreversible nightmare that is ear damage (my heart goes out to all of you who have ear trauma, hopefully we figure out how the hell birds can regenerate their ears soon). I've started seeing a chiropractor for adjustments, physical therapy, and massages to the affected side, and I hope it will help. Still no clue why I can't wear any damn headphones. But maybe with a month of dedicated work I will finally be able to listen to music again.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    20. Wrfortiscue
      Provocative

      Wrfortiscue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      I have hearing damage... sucks lol. My ENT said I may qualify for hearing aids though and I’ve heard it’s helped some people with tinnitus.
       
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