Confused, Frustrated, and in Need of Support — Tinnitus Caused by Loud Music (Attending Concerts)

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by DavidKent, Jun 22, 2022.

    1. DavidKent
      Wishful

      DavidKent Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Noise
      Hello everyone,

      First off thank you if you choose to read and respond to this. I have been going through the mental wringer and I need more people's thoughts to help me get through this here.

      Let me start from the top. I am 22 and I have been going to 3-6 rock concerts a year basically since 2017, usually in the summer. I never wore earplugs and never had a problem. Fast forward to last summer, I finally had a problem. After this particular concert, I woke up and my left ear was not back to normal yet. Usually by the next morning, my ear had both returned to normal but obviously this was not the case. There was no ringing or pain, just that there was a bit of pressure and my ear felt a tiny bit muffled. After about 20 hours from the concert it returned to normal and I thought nothing of it.

      From the first incident I went to two more concerts and was fine as usual. I attributed the first issue as a one-time thing due to potentially being a bit too close to the speakers. The third show after is where things began to go down hill.

      This second incident occurred in a completely indoor venue that was quite small about 9 months later. It was easily the loudest concert I had been to and the next morning I had similar issues again in my left ear only: pressure in the ear, slightly muffled, no ringing still. This then lasted two more days. Causing me to worry, I was able to get a hearing test done about two and a half days after the concert. Luckily for me, the hearing test came back with great results and funny enough my ear felt better immediately after the appointment. They recommended wearing ear plugs in the future (which makes sense) and I intended to do so. This should never happen again...

      Fast-forward to the third and most recent incident. This occurred 3 and a half weeks ago and about a month and a half after the second incident. This was an outdoor venue and I intended to wear earplugs as stated. I purchased a quality pair that will lessen the sound intensity but not sacrifice the experience so I was pumped to give them a try! Unfortunately for me, they were forgotten. I did not think of stopping at a drug store to pick up some earplugs, and when I saw a concert goer ahead of me in line with a bag of them, I did not work up the courage to ask if he could spare a pair for me. I went into the show worried, but my companion reassured me that I should be alright since we were not close to the speakers, it was outdoors, and once things got going it was not remotely close to being the loudest concert I have ever been to. We left the concert with my ear feeling like it usually did after a concert and went to bed expecting things to become better in the morning. This was not the case...

      After a day, really intense pressure manifested into my ear, slightly muffled hearing, but again no ringing. I had a small spat of ringing twice for a few seconds, but nothing constant and it went away. After things did not improve after 4 full days, I went and saw an audiologist and again got a really good hearing test back in both ears. All of my data was at 5 dB or lower so there is no signs of hearing loss. After 9 and 10 days, I was able to see a pair of ENTs which said much of the same and that things should rebound to normal levels. Their evaluation, coupled with my hearing test, had them determined I should make a full recovery. I just need to give it time (this phrase is beginning to be my least favorite phrase in the world).

      It has been 3 and a half weeks since the concert now and I am still recovering. On this timeline, my mental health has plummeted. About 12 days after the concert, I had a legitimate mental breakdown over my left ear still having major pressure in it, causing me to become super regretful for forgetting earplugs and not putting in any effort to get some before the concert that caused this. Luckily, the next day the pressure feeling basically faded away. After another week, my hearing seemed to regain a bit of sensitivity. It seems it keeps noticeably improving about every week or so.

      One thing I have noticed about myself is I really hyper-fixate on this change due to hearing is probably my favorite of the 5 senses. At the end of the day, I love music. I can't listen to music the same, or anything for that matter due to my right ear seemingly absorbing everything while it feels like my left isn't. When I plug one ear up and listen through just the other, my left is slightly less than my right, but there is still good hearing in both. I do not heard mumbling, I can hear fine in noisy environments, ect. At this moment in time, if my right ear is 100%, my left is sitting at about 97%. The hearing itself is good, but the really noticeable difference is my right ear seems to pick up the crispness of sound (as one of the ENTs used to describe it) or there is slightly better HD quality if that makes sense. Unless my left is slightly positioned more towards the sounds being heard, my right ear will perceive hearing it better. This is not very noticeable in small group conversations, but much more so when there is sound coming from a device. This is making me think things are worse than they are potentially.

      Also, since I have been more focused on my left ear, I have noticed if I lay on a pillow on that side, I can notice a bit of static in my left ear which I think has been there but I never noticed once until this incident due to how low level it is. It has increased my anxiety a lot. Also, sometimes my left ear will itch a little inside and the pressure will come back slightly for a day and then leave again. No real pain, just annoyances from time to time. Half the time it just feels like things need to pop in there.

      With that being said, I still worry that this is going to be permanent, despite every sign pointing towards otherwise. I have had 2 ENTs and an Audiologist say I will recover, and recontacting an ENT and the Audiologist in the past 2 weeks for reassurance and receiving the same good news. A combination of reading things online that are way too general and there being no exact timetable for this to wrap up is killing me. I am just afraid my left will never recover that "pop" or "crispness" and I will forever perceive my right as much stronger. Other people I have came to about this issue keep saying to give it time, distract yourself, it's just allergies, etc. but since this is something I experience every second I am conscious, it is extremely difficult to do so. I have began exercising again, taking vitamins, decongestants, allergy nasal spray, and reducing noise exposure with the hope my left ear would correct itself by now. But it hasn't. Again, it keeps making me think this is never going away despite the gradual improvement.

      It is also difficult to cope with the guilt because this could have been avoided but now I just was to coup myself in my room most of the day, lay on my left ear to protect it, watch YouTube, and think about how I could have stopped this. I am fatigued from waiting and uncertainty. I want to stop isolating myself and return to normal life. I know I will break out of my funk once my ear returns to basically normal. It also hurts my significant other can't really help me.

      I guess the point of this exhaustingly long article is what advice could any of you give?
      • Do you think this will this go away?
      • What coping mechanisms could I use in the meantime?
      • Am I possibly blowing it up more than I should?
      • Should I forgive myself?
      • Am I crazy?
      • Are there any other avenues I could use to help myself out with this?
      I want this to be over. I have learned my lesson tenfold and I will never ever go to a concert again without protection. I want to believe the doctors but it is so hard. I broke my ankle and did not get in nearly as close of a depressive state as this. If any of you can help ease my mind or educate me, I would really really appreciate it.

      Thank you if you got this far and thank you if you leave a comment. :thankyousign:
       
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    2. Mister Muso
      No Mood

      Mister Muso Member

      Location:
      Scotland
      Tinnitus Since:
      2011 / April 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      Hi, sorry to hear you're going through this. Your story sounds similar to mine, except it took a few decades of abusing my ears. In the end the concert that tipped me over the edge wasn't even that loud. I had been using headphones at high volume for several months as well though.

      Three years on and I'm pretty much used to the ups and downs of my tinnitus. The worst thing though has been my hyperacusis, which I believe I got from attending another concert after the one that gave me permanent tinnitus. Although I used earplugs, I just felt something "break" in my hearing towards the end of the show.

      I suggest you take a complete break from all but the quietest music for about 3 months, and also don't use headphones. After 3 months you may be able to gradually expand what you can listen to.

      My hyperacusis has eased off around 20 percent each year over the past 3 years, so I no longer need earplugs if I'm just popping out to local shops. But I do still need them for washing up pots and pans etc.

      I can now enjoy most of the music I love but at reduced volume. I have no plans to go to a rock concert any time soon. However a friend of mine who had worse tinnitus than me including Meniere's disease has subsequently recovered and been able to see AC/DC and Iron Maiden. Not saying I recommend that, but your mileage may vary.
       
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    3. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Hi DavidKent,

      One of the most common causes of tinnitus is exposure to loud noise. Since you have regularly attended concerts where loud music has been played, it makes me believe you have developed noise induced tinnitus. The advice given by your two ENTs and audiologist is correct but only for some people. With time you could make a full recovery but there is no guarantee the tinnitus will completely go away. However, it is more likely the tinnitus will reduce to a very low level and you will habituate providing you take action now, otherwise you risk the tinnitus getting worse and that is something you don't want to happen, believe me.

      I advise you not to attend concerts for at least 3 to 6 months or preferably until the tinnitus reduces to a low level and you habituate. This can take 6 to 18 months. Do not listen to audio through headphones even at low volume. This includes earbuds, AirPods, headsets, noise cancelling and bone conduction headphones, as there's the risk of making the tinnitus worse.

      Start using low level sound enrichment especially at night. More about this is explained in my post in the link below titled: New to Tinnitus, What to Do? Please also read Tinnitus, A Personal View.

      Go to my started threads and print the articles mentioned below. Take your time and read them rather than reading on your phone or computer monitor. This way you will absorb and understand what noise induced tinnitus is all about, how to prevent it getting worse and how to habituate to it. I explain about hyperacusis, a condition that often accompanies noise induced tinnitus - it causes oversensitivity to sound and sometimes pain is experienced in the ears.

      The Habituation Process, How to Habituate to Tinnitus, Will My Tinnitus Get Worse? Tinnitus and the Negative Mindset, Acquiring a Positive Mindset, Hyperacusis, as I See It, Can I Habituate to Variable Tinnitus?

      If you are able to attend concerts in the future, always wear noise reducing earplugs. Please note, even if you wear the best earplugs available, if the sound is too loud, the earplugs will not stop tinnitus getting worse, because it will pass through your head and transfer to the inner ear by bone conduction.

      This could spike the tinnitus and increase it to a new permanent level so you need to be careful.

      I wish you well,
      Michael

      New to Tinnitus, What to Do? | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
      Tinnitus, A Personal View | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
       
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    4. makeyourownluck
      Vegged out

      makeyourownluck Member

      Location:
      Scotland
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Maybe.
      Download a tinnitus app and make a custom sound that helps mask your tinnitus. This way you can listen to it at very low volume. Don’t mask it fully though.

      Also, for me Diazepam really helped. I regret not taking it earlier.
      Tinnitus is a big deal for some, not for others. Either way it’s good to try relax and hope for the best. You’re in the very early stages.
      Yes, of course, mistakes happen.
      No, at 3.5 weeks I was barely capable of making a piece of toast. You seem quite put together.
      There are a few supplements you could try. Nicotinamide riboside, Magnesium, Omega 3, Curcumin, NAC.

      I’ve found massages help me relax which helps me ignore my tinnitus a little better. I also drink a s**t tonne of nettle tea, it helps a little, and it’s tasty.
       
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    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      DavidKent
      Wishful

      DavidKent Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Noise
      Thanks for the reply. I already plan on canceling any concerts for the remainder of the year to be safe and I have been doing my best to protect my ears. I keep avoiding saying I have tinnitus since I have basically no ringing/phantom noises. Idk. It's just something I'm struggling to grasp.
       
    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      DavidKent
      Wishful

      DavidKent Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Noise
      Hey thanks for the reply. I have been having a hard time pin pointing exactly what I'm experiencing since I am not really experiencing your more common tinnitus symptoms.

      So is this textbook tinnitus (aka the pressure and slight difference in my ear)? The static is no really a huge deal. Either way I'm putting a hold on all concerts for the remainder of the year.

      Also, not to rebut what you suggested, but one of the ENTs did say over the ear headphones at a low volume should be safe. Idk. I'm just trying to figure this stuff out.

      Either way, I appreciate the reply.
       
    7. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      No two people experience tinnitus the same. Based on my experience which spans 26 years, your symptoms relate to noise induced tinnitus which is likely to get worse if you do not listen to the advice @Mister Muso and I have given you.
      ENT doctors are physicians and treat underlying medical problems within the auditory system that cause tinnitus but they do not treat tinnitus. Most (but not all) know very little about tinnitus because this is not their area of expertise.

      Please click in the search box at the top of this page and type headphones. Read the many posts from people that have noise induced tinnitus and continued to use headphones. Some of them have followed the advice of the ENT; as long as the volume is low the tinnitus will not get worse. Unfortunately, many of them have noticed their tinnitus has increased even when using the headphones at low volume and will not reduce. You are perfectly in your rights to "to figure this stuff out".

      Just remember, if your tinnitus gets worse because of headphone use and doesn't reduce, you were warned.

      I wish you well,
      Michael
       
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    8. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      DavidKent
      Wishful

      DavidKent Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Noise
      What I meant by "figure this stuff out" was the overall situation and what is best, not to throw caution into the wind. I apologize if it came off that way. I just want to do whatever I can to recover the best I can. No shade toward your suggestion or anyone else on this forum. I have been trying to listen to doctors since they're the professionals and not just a rando on the internet (again not to discredit your thoughts). There is just little information for me to go off of and anything to help me navigate this is more than appreciated. I hope for yours and anyone's personal experience will help me better understand what is going on since I am so limited in useful information elsewhere. I plan on taking doctor and personal experience together.

      With that being said, in the mean time I plan on reducing my use of headphones and I already completely cut out my earbuds which I only used at half volume at all times prior to this bigger issue. I may need to use the headphones for work, but besides that they will surely be limited in use. I want the best chances and if not using them will help, then that is what I'll do! Trying to keep the positivity over here and hope for the best :)

      And in all seriousness, thanks again for the advice and leads! Much appreciated.
       
    9. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      I accept your apology and realise the things you are experiencing at the moment is all new to you. I agree with you that doctors are the professionals knowing all about the anatomy of the auditory system and the ear. And treating underlying medical problems that cause the tinnitus. However, they are not tinnitus professionals because most of them have never experienced the condition. Those that may have it, probably it is mild, nothing like the many people that have experience of it being severe and live with it.

      Your tinnitus may be mild to moderate at the moment but if you don't follow the advice you have been given, it has the potential to increase to a level you wouldn't believe is possible. The tinnitus professionals are right here in this forum and you will get the best advice here, so there is no need to go and look on the Internet, although one can always learn more. Whilst some of the information is good, a lot of it is bad and will instil negative thinking and make you feel worse.

      Take care and I wish you well.

      Michael
       
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    10. Mister Muso
      No Mood

      Mister Muso Member

      Location:
      Scotland
      Tinnitus Since:
      2011 / April 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      ENT doctors don't know a thing about tinnitus, at least neither of the two I've seen did. Audiologists are more likely to have personal experience of it. But I've learned far more from this forum on the subject than from any doctor.

      That said, there are people on this forum whose experience and opinions differ widely, so try to find those whose story rings true to you, and always err on the safe side if you wish to promote your potential recovery.
       
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    11. Leila
      Torn

      Leila Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      1 chiropractic treatment, 2 and 3 no cause
      I'm sorry to hear about your tinnitus, @DavidKent. If you haven't come across it yet, you may want to check out @Vassili's thread "On My Way to Recovery from Tinnitus and Hyperacusis". Your story reminded me a bit about what he wrote about his tinnitus, so maybe you can benefit from his experiences and the things he's tried out.

      All the best,
      Leila
       
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    12. Johan001

      Johan001 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Medication
      Michael is right, it’s a natural thought to assume that doctors are the authority, but in case of tinnitus, and, other conditions for that matter they are not. So, always double check what they say.

      I cut out all use of headphones, no matter the volume and it helps. I truly don’t understand why some people would still want to risk their tinnitus by using them albeit at low volume. Unless you are somehow forced into it. It’s not only the volume that’s so damaging but also the direction of the sound getting right into the ear.

      I have regular Zoom calls for work but I just put the laptop on speaker when taking them. It’s much more comfortable that way also. If I’m in the office and I need to take a call, I just go to a meeting room and put it on speaker there.
       
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    13. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      DavidKent
      Wishful

      DavidKent Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Noise
      Thanks for everyone's thoughts! I really am going to try my best to not use my headphones. And again, I apologize if I'm having a hard time grasping things but I just am not hearing any phantom noises except in one circumstance and it's just an occasional pressure feeling and there being no "pop" in my left ear. That's really the best description I can give.

      And @Leila, I did check that guy out and the onset situation is similar. I just want something more to go off of. I feel like I'm on an island and the symptoms I'm feeling are 100% unique. I'm going to follow all advice here since you all have experiences. If anyone though is going through what I may be, I would love to pick their brain so please direct me to them or them to here. I keep having gradual improvement every week or so, so hopefully good things keep coming in the next few weeks!
       
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    14. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      DavidKent
      Wishful

      DavidKent Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Noise
      Update:

      Yesterday I wore an earplug in my left ear the majority of the day and it really helped not noticing the differences in my ears since I knew the source and had control over it. Likely going to continue this until things improve to basically normal.

      I'm hoping the fluctuations of ear fullness goes away eventually and the added protection will help my ear return to the same sensitivity as before due to the added protection and support. That is probably the biggest issue at the moment. Vibrations seem to be a little subdued but it has definitely brightened up in the past two weeks, albeit slightly. As stated in my initial post, things are about equal in hearing quality/level in both ears, just waiting for the "crispness and pop" to return. Hopefully things keep improving!
       
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