Dealing with Tinnitus as a Musician/Audiophile

Discussion in 'Support' started by Martinf, Jun 9, 2021.

    1. Martinf
      Balanced

      Martinf Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      Any musicians or audiophiles here who have had tinnitus for a few years? I know, as music/audio lovers, our ears are very important as it is our only organ to detect sound.

      How is your hearing a few years after your tinnitus onset? Did it stabilize or has it got progressively worse?

      I have reached out to many musicians who experience noise induced tinnitus and have been monitoring their hearing loss throughout the years. 70% said the hearing loss remained the same (one of them said their hearing loss remained stable 20 years after the tinnitus onset which is cool). 30% said their hearing loss got progressively worse for every year that goes by.

      Please don't hesitate to share your experience.

      I live in the fear of losing more hearing. Only audiophiles and music enthusiasts will truly understand what I mean. Thank you.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    2. Ken219
      Frustrated

      Ken219 Member

      Location:
      New York Area
      Tinnitus Since:
      Summer of 1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure?
      I see musicians wearing some kind of ear protection, sometimes with wires. Do these earplugs protect them from the loud music?
       
    3. Juan

      Juan Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      I am not a musician but I love music. My hearing got progressively worse after years of hyperacusis and tinnitus.

      Hyperacusis is specially tricky, since a single noise insult may worsen it suddenly, making hearing deteriorate quite fast, in terms of reception and also of quality. This means there is progressive hearing loss and the sounds perceived are also of poorer quality. You hear less and what you hear has less quality, sounds mix, one cannot tell one instrument from the other, some tones, or layers of sound from a composition are missing etc.
       
    4. kingsfan
      Mellow

      kingsfan Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Southern California
      Tinnitus Since:
      9-17-20 / 10-20-20 / 3-31-21 / 5-23-21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      turning everything up to 11
      Those are probably in-ear monitors. They are custom molded like custom ear plugs, but have either balanced armatures or dynamic drivers and is fed the house PA mix. This allows each musician to have their own personalized mix rather than relying on stage monitors and can also have a click track to keep the band in-time. It also "protects" your hearing as much as you can be protected from earphone audio. It at least protects you against the loudness of the venue.
       
    5. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      I enjoy music immensely and consider myself a serious audiophile. Please click on the link below and read my post: Does your system sing? My advice is not to use any type of headphones even at low volume and keep away from overly loud sounds, if you don't want to risk your tinnitus getting worse.

      Unfortunately, playing loud music in a band can present difficulties for some people with noise induced tinnitus. Depending on the level of sound one is subjecting their ears to in a band, it is only a matter of time before the tinnitus increases to a point where it is so debilitating the person will have to stop what they are doing. Some musicians that have tinnitus and are quite content playing loud music. Each person is different so what one person's auditory system is able to tolerate doesn't mean the same for everyone.

      However, the rule of thumb remains the same regardless. If a person subjects their ears to too much loud noise, the tinnitus will get worse and it's unlikely to reduce. Do not put your faith in earplugs. If external sound is loud enough it will pass through the head and transfer to the inner ear by bone conduction. This can make pre-existing tinnitus worse or cause the condition to develop.

      Michael

      Does Your Hi-Fi System Sing? | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
      Will My Tinnitus Get Worse? | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
       
    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Martinf
      Balanced

      Martinf Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      I'm sorry for that. I don't think the hyperacusis is causing the hearing loss though, maybe genetics. I've been told that in many cases NIHL will hit a plateau where hearing thresholds will remain mostly steady.
       
    7. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Martinf
      Balanced

      Martinf Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      I'm aware of hearing protection and I take it very religiously.

      May I ask if your hearing has remained the same since your tinnitus onset? Or has your hearing got worse? Knowing that you have good knowledge on hearing protection, I would like to know.
       
    8. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      When I was first seen at ENT 25 years ago, six months after the onset of tinnitus, the doctor said my hearing was above normal and asked if I had been taking anything? On the advice of a herbalist that was very knowledgeable about noise induced tinnitus, I was advised to take Gingko Biloba and Magnesium tablets. The doctor said it was good advice and was something he advises his tinnitus patients to take.

      Over the years I have had numerous tests at ENT and my hearing has remained the same. Use hearing protection when it is required and not to suppress normal everyday sounds, as you risk lowering the loudness threshold of your auditory system, which will make it more sensitive to sound. More is explained in my post: Hyperacusis, As I see it.

      Michael

      Hyperacusis, As I See It | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
       
      • Like Like x 1
    9. Greg Clarke

      Greg Clarke Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Wicklow, Ireland
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2006
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma, Live Music
      Musician and Audiophile. I’ve had tinnitus for 15 years. I’m 41 now.

      I still play, rehearse, record and attend quite a lot of concerts. I don’t believe my hearing deteriorates at any rate other than what’s normal. Tinnitus largely remained the same, I’d one jump in level around 2014, found that very tough but attribute the increase to stress.

      I still listen to my vinyl records on headphones most evenings. I genuinely think if you’re sensible you can still enjoy doing what you love.

      Parhelia - Olympus Mons
       
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      • Agree Agree x 1
    10. Sam Bridge

      Sam Bridge Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music/gigs probably
      I've had tinnitus for about 6 years. My tinnitus is generally the same unless I'm stressed. I did play bass in a band about 15 years ago. My tinnitus is like a soft shhhh sound which isn't too bad to deal with.

      I did take an 18 month break from attending concerts but after that have been to a few arena shows. They have had no effect on my tinnitus.

      During COVID-19 lockdown I started learning electric guitar and it's been great fun and I've made a lot of progress.

      At the time of getting tinnitus, I had a hearing test. My tinnitus ear (right) has 30 dB dip at around 3-4 kHz and then rises back to the normal zone after. I haven't had a hearing test for about 5 years but nothing seems to have changed.
       
    11. Juan

      Juan Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      That's what I hoped for years ago, that my hearing would remain stable after developing some hearing loss. My experience so far is that hearing loss progresses on and on... obviously noise sensitivity diminishes, as I cannot hear certain sounds and the hearing loss takes the edge of nasty sounds like dishes, cutlery, etc. impact sounds at medium volume mostly.

      The really loud sounds (scooter, or very loud bike, like a Harley, power tools, firecrackers etc) are still a total killer for my ears, even wearing hearing protection.

      So my personal experience is hyperacusis changes and morphs into other hearing disorders or a combination or hearing disorders, but the problem never goes away, just changes over time.
       
    12. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Martinf
      Balanced

      Martinf Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      I'm sorry for that. Have you been doing hearing tests and comparing results each time?

      May I ask how old are you? Many audiologists told me that my hearing would remain the same and not get worse if I don't expose myself to harmful sounds. One thing being an exception which nobody can avoid: age-related hearing loss.
       
    13. kingsfan
      Mellow

      kingsfan Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Southern California
      Tinnitus Since:
      9-17-20 / 10-20-20 / 3-31-21 / 5-23-21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      turning everything up to 11
      We are in a unique position where we aren't sure what types of sounds are actually harmful to us. We have compromised OHCs, IHCs, Synapses, etc. Any of those could be standing on their last leg and some normal sound that most would normally withstand now sweeps that last leg from under it and we are left with a worsening of our condition.
       
    14. Foamearplugssuck
      Angry

      Foamearplugssuck Member

      Location:
      new dorp new york
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/26/19
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Doing concert photography
      Yo, what's up. I got permanent tinnitus the second week of my first internship. I was doing concert photography, which I don't even like that much anyways. I want to be a songwriter/performer/producer, so we'll see how that goes. lol. I finished out my internship and while my tinnitus didn't get better, it didn't get worse. Granted, I was really serious about protecting my hearing and would wear earmuffs on top of musician's plugs. But honestly, the hardest part about dealing with tinnitus for me is not being able to use headphones. I'd give up my first born child to just listen to music and tune the world out. I miss that so, so much. So many of my favorite memories involve me just listening to music on my headphones, and I get seriously depressed from knowing I'll never be able to experience that joy again.
       
    15. kingsfan
      Mellow

      kingsfan Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Southern California
      Tinnitus Since:
      9-17-20 / 10-20-20 / 3-31-21 / 5-23-21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      turning everything up to 11
      What about listening to music on a nice pair of studio monitors? Probably the best sound in the world.
       
    16. Simon85

      Simon85 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Nov 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably noise exposure, but unknown.
      I’m playing very lightly after the 6+ month mark to test the waters. I’m only playing a few songs at a time as my ears, while slowly getting better, are still very sensitive.

      My ground rules at the moment - acoustic instruments only while wearing musicians earplugs and only practicing solo to have control over the volume. My distortions are getting better, but still there lightly. I’ve also started to listen to music again (previously heavily distorted) at very low volumes on external speakers.

      I’m hoping I’ll make further improvements by the 1-2 year mark. I wish you all a speedy recovery.
       
    17. Tau
      In pain

      Tau Member

      Location:
      Europe
      Tinnitus Since:
      2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2019-Concert, 2021-headphones/acoustic trauma at 110dB,16kHz
      It's only been a few weeks for me, but I cannot listen to music at all as it's all distorted. I exposed myself to high frequency sound while doing a frequency sweep. I am an audiophile and this is absolute hell. I would listen to music and trade stocks or prepare for tutorials.

      Hoping it improves or otherwise I will have no will to live.
       
    18. Foamearplugssuck
      Angry

      Foamearplugssuck Member

      Location:
      new dorp new york
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/26/19
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Doing concert photography
      Eh, not the same for me. I can't really bring stereo monitors on a train or in a car. Plus, when I'm home with my parents, I can't really use my monitors to play music. It just feels like there's no privacy and everyone is listening to my music. Part of what I really liked about headphones was the closeness they provided, which ironically is what makes them so bad for my tinnitus.
       
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