Cap Gun; Measured Hearing Loss Frequencies; Tinnitus Around Hearing Loss Frequencies

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by D#8, Oct 17, 2020.

    1. D#8

      D#8 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1981
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Initially a cap gun, later perhaps drums and headphones
      I found this forum because my tinnitus has suddenly become louder in the past two days for no apparent reason - after 39 quieter years (though slightly louder in the last 10 years and particularly this year). I was shaving in the bathroom and suddenly my left ear felt like it closed for a moment, and since then, both ears have more tinnitus than before.

      Here's a summary of topics the following covers so you can choose to read on if anything's relevant to you: a cap gun going off in my left year at age 7; the hearing loss frequencies measured using my Reason music software; tinnitus frequencies being similar to the hearing loss range; drumming; headphone music production levels; new, cicada-like sounds this year; thoughts about Sprengel's Deformity affecting pressures on the ear; eustachian tube dysfunction; thoughts on ear plugs making tinnitus worse; and Bluetooth. I'm happy to clarify anything if you'd like to compare notes on your experiences.

      I'm 46. A school kid let off a cap gun in my left ear at point blank range in 1983 when I was seven. That ear heard only a crackling roar for days. A noticeable ringing sound has remained in both ears for most of my life, with what music producers describe as resonance peaks accompanying high frequency sounds (though only in my left ear). Over many years the tinnitus seemed to gradually decline and I generally didn't notice it unless I listened for it or my surroundings were quiet, and didn't notice sensitivity or resonance peaks without loud sounds.

      Over time the tinnitus reduced to a point where I was not conscious of having worse hearing in the left ear. But it's only just occurred to me that I could use my Reason music software to measure frequencies of hearing loss myself, so I did that today and indeed was able to measure left ear hearing loss in terms of frequencies (not in terms of dB levels). It started off as an attempt to find the frequencies of my tinnitus. But by panning left and right on the same tones, I discovered I'm largely deaf from D#8 upwards, or around 10kHz, in only my left ear. The hearing gradually reduces from B7 to D8, and then virtually disappears. I can only put this down to the cap gun - it's the only audio harm my left ear has had over my right. (Supposedly cap guns are around 155dB.) I'm not completely deaf from D#8 up - I can still hear everything up to the highest note my Reason music production can display (which is only a few semitones higher - G8). But I can only hear those frequencies in my left ear if I turn the volume up to a level that would be uncomfortable if listening with my right ear. And without turning it up really loud, I can only hear it in terms of a fluctuation in the permanent tinnitus tones that seem to occupy roughly those frequencies. So I'm effectively deaf from D#8 up at normal listening volumes. On that note or higher at normal listening levels, panning from left to right is like turning up an instrument playing only to the right ear. So it's interesting to note that the tinnitus tones seem to primarily occupy frequencies that border the range of hearing loss. But the other interesting thing is that I have a mix of similar tinnitus tones in both ears, but the dominant frequency is lower-pitched in the ear that has the high-frequency hearing loss.

      For much of my life I only put the louder left side ringing down to the cap gun. I assumed everyone would hear some degree of ringing in their ears when in a quiet room - as if it was just some kind of noise floor (not that I knew of "noise floor" as an audio term before I got involved in music production). I've been surprised, many years later, to find that some people claim to have never had any ringing at all. And I didn't know for a long time that it had a name.

      I played drums from 1986 to 1995, but usually with industrial headphones on while practising, to protect my ears. Drumming or being involved in school music programs would increase ringing temporarily, though never severely. I've been to a far-below-average number of loud events - 2 rock concerts and two loud dances in my whole life, as far as I can think (occasional other loud events of different kinds, but not sustained), so it's difficult to imagine that could have contributed much. Yet the permanent ringing in my ears today is as loud as I remembering it sounding the moment I stepped into the silence of the street outside a school dance in 1989.

      My tinnitus has been noticeably louder for the past 10 years than it was before, but always forgettable except in a quiet room. I fear some of the increase is from producing music using headphones, since my environment is too poor for effective use of monitor speakers for mixing. But I've doubted, and hoped, that it's not a significant cause, for a number of reasons: of the years 2012-2020, I've spent serious hobby time mixing only for about 6 of those years; my usual mixing level has, for most of that time, as far as I can estimate from text that make me familiar with decibel levels now, been below the 75dB recommended for smaller mixing rooms; and this year, since becoming more conscious of protecting my ears, I've mixed at much lower volumes - usually only 50-55dB except when I need louder temporarily to check something specific. (Using the recommended 85dB for large mixing spaces would seem downright reckless.)

      Yet this is the year my tinnitus has most noticeably increased. It's the first year of my 39 with tinnitus that I am hearing a lower-pitched cicada-like sound in addition to the constant dominant high-pitched tones in each ear. The cicadas are more in the background, and are heard only in quiet rooms. It is actually quite a peaceful sound at night - as if going to sleep camping in a tent. It mitigates against the louder tones. It undulates, but only very gently, like a quiet chorus of many cicadas smeared together, with no harsh beginning or end to the sound of any one insect. It doesn't give me trouble getting to sleep.

      I have no ear wax build-up. I've had that checked because it felt like something was inside my left ear. The doctor suggested possible eustachian tube dysfunction, and gave me a nasal spray that he said may help fix a problem with eustachian tube pressure. No result so far, but it's early days.

      Another factor I wonder about is Sprengel's Deformity - a rare condition that gave me an extra piece of backbone from birth, a kink in my spine and a raised left scapula. I'm sure it's related that in a quiet room I can move my left thumb and hear the movement internally through my left ear, which doesn't happen with any other limb movement, nor with my other ear. So it's difficult to know how much the shifted position of my shoulder and neck create pressures that affect the ear's functioning.

      And then there's ear plugs. I wake up easily from night-time noise, so I use earplugs to block that out. I have an unverified hunch that using them makes my tinnitus worse, and it occurs to me that the 10 years of it being worse roughly coincides with my earplug use. So I'm curious to explore that more.

      And then there's Bluetooth. I had a Bluetooth keyboard to take notes a presentation, and someone there warned me of the health dangers of Bluetooth, which I saw as a bit of a conspiracy theory at the time. But today it occurred to me that this year - when my tinnitus is noticeably worse - is the one when I've used a Bluetooth app on my phone for many months straight for government COVID-19 contact tracing here in Australia. And I read here on this forum that numerous people insist there's a connection.

      I'll stop wearing ear plugs and see what happens - as long as I can sleep. And I've turned Bluetooth off.

      Yes, I've had tinnitus a long time, but I'm new to exploring it in depth because for me it was a background thing for so long - except when I was a child, before the internet. There are so many possible factors, and seems to be so much vagueness in the world about this condition.

      I hope someone figures out a way to reverse tinnitus in our lifetime.
       
      • Hug Hug x 2
    2. Kendra

      Kendra Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      SSNHL/ Acoustic Trauma
      Can you describe your resonance peaks?
       
    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      D#8

      D#8 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1981
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Initially a cap gun, later perhaps drums and headphones
      It's certain frequencies at which the affected ear's hearing perception takes on a different, harsher tone and sometimes crackles, mainly when those frequencies are at louder volumes. It seems to happens less now than in the years following the cap gun incident. Were you wanting to compare my description with your own experience?
       
    4. Kendra

      Kendra Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      SSNHL/ Acoustic Trauma
      Yes. My right ear had a sudden hearing loss about 4 months ago and since then when I hear higher frequencies, especially loud ones, I get another higher tone sound/ ringing in that ear only for the duration of the sound. Like the frequencies up even higher in that ear are also getting activated somehow.
       

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