Ear Issues After Stupidly Mixing Music with Earbuds

Discussion in 'Support' started by James S., Dec 14, 2018.

    1. James S.

      James S. Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Mixing Music
      I'm a musician. I don't regularly mix music but did so three months ago with a pair of Apple Earbuds (I couldn't find my over ear headphones). It wasn't a long mixing session (maybe 2.5 hours?) but I was sweeping frequencies and listening at a decent level. That night my ears hurt (even felt some drainage) and I was beginning to develop a fullness sensation. It's been three months and I have a range of issues. The biggest symptom is aural fullness (accompanied by a moderate achiness) which seems to be triggered by listening to music. When this happens I also lose ability to hear detail in the music, everything sounds mushy and annoying. I have some degree of hyperacusis (environmental sounds like cars, horns, sirens, brakes, all sound like nails on a chalkboard). I have some crackling, popping when swallowing (seemingly eustachian tube related). I also have some very mild tinnitus in my left ear (It's very faint and it could be psychological).

      I've consulted an ENT who thinks it could be related to the tiny muscles in the ear overreacting. I did a trial of Sudafed with no luck. About to try Flonase unless someone here advises against it.

      Perhaps someone has had a similar experience and could shed some light. Surely I'm not the only moron who decided to mix music with earbuds!
       
    2. Contrast
      No Mood

      Contrast Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      in a better place
      Tinnitus Since:
      late 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise injury
      Did you get tested for hearing loss?
       
    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      James S.

      James S. Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Mixing Music
      @Contrast I have not. Just the thought of doing a hearing test sounds painful at this point. Is there any utility in doing one in the acute phase of ear problems?
       
    4. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Ears take forever to heal. Your aural fullness ought to be gone sometimes in the next two years.
       
    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      James S.

      James S. Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Mixing Music
      @Bill Bauer thanks for chiming in. That makes sense. When listening to music the fullness sensation feels more pronounced (pretty similar to ordinary "audio fatigue"). In my case it is accompanied by some slight pain, almost like an ear ache (which could be psychological all things considered). I guess my question would be am I doing harm by listening to music and tolerating the discomfort? Or should I just avoid the things that are causing symptoms? thx
       
    6. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      My policy has always been to listen to the signals given to me by my body. If someone breaks their arm and some activity hurts their arm, they will likely stop the activity. Why would we treat the injury to the ear any differently? Having said that, it all comes down to comparing expected costs to expected benefits. I know that some people had "worked through the pain" and ended up being ok (others were not so fortunate). So if you are trying to decide whether to walk away from your career as a musician, you might consider taking the risk that you will mess up your ears even more. What I would do in that case is I would "work through the pain" for say 10 minutes, and then wait a couple of days to see whether the symptoms get worse. If nothing happens, you could try increasing the time by another 5 minutes, etc. If you notice the symptoms getting worse, you really ought to consider listening to the signals from your own body, and acting accordingly...
       
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    7. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      James S.

      James S. Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Mixing Music
      @Bill Bauer makes a lot of sense. Wisdom from a hall of famer is much appreciated! I will try and update this thread when/if I see progress.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    8. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      James S.

      James S. Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Mixing Music
      Update: nearing a month since my last post. Sensitivity to sounds decreasing. Phew. Still have tube issues (some improvement however): popping, feeling full, crackling. Still feels low-grade ear infection which probably means my ears are still inflamed. In quiet space I can hear ringing and moving my jaw can make the ringing more pronounced.

      Note: Of all the remedies I've tried for the tube issues (quite a few), I believe steaming and neti-pot have been the most effective.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    9. Contrast
      No Mood

      Contrast Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      in a better place
      Tinnitus Since:
      late 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise injury
      it's not psychological, it's cochlear noiception due to a damaged inner ear. The trigerminal nerve and auditory nerve are acting out the pain signals, thats why you feel pain in your ear and face.

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4664349/

      if any audiologist or GP is ignorant enough to consider "noise induced pain" after an acoustic truama to be psychological they should loose their medical license.It's a real thing and the research proves it. Before 2013 pain hyperacusis was basically considered a "all in your head issue" now it's actually getting the justified bio-medical research it deserves to find treatment.

      upload_2019-1-7_15-32-25.png
       
      • Like Like x 1
    10. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      James S.

      James S. Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Mixing Music
      Good info. Actually that was my own assessment. No dr. told me it was psychological.
       
    11. MSF

      MSF Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Music events/drums
      I am also an electronic music and a few years ago I started experiencing what you are describing from my music equipment. None of it was loud, but higher frequencies seemed to cause ear fatigue in minutes sometimes. This was well before I knew what hyperacusis was and I was perplexed, particularly as it wasn't recorded music that was doing it, but "live" studio equipment like synthesizers. In any case, I was also drumming a lot at that time without earplugs and that clearly was the cause of a lot of subsequent issues.

      Thankfully the ear fatigue thing from music, recording or live, that has mostly diminished while my H sensitivity to loud sounds and accompanying ear ache has increased quite a bit, ironically. The latter created quite a large psychological wall because when my ears were feeling full/aching, I felt as if I simply couldn't enjoy music anymore. Some days are still worse than others, but now I have decided to just push through and listen to the music however I am hearing it that day, even if ears are feeling full, frequencies out weird, etc. I am also SUPER conscious of volume levels now and never listen to anything in the studio louder than about 70 dB peak. That definitely allows me to listen to stuff for longer periods of time without the previous fatigue when I need to, thought it still happens eventually if going for multiple hours. If I do get fatigued from a session, I usually give myself a few days break to regain hearing acuity.
       
    12. Contrast
      No Mood

      Contrast Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      in a better place
      Tinnitus Since:
      late 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise injury
      What do you mean fatigued, pain, aching, swelling, ear fullness?

      Do you expect it to ever go away entirely, are you familar with the concept of 'noise induced pain" and the early research going on at Mass Eye and Ear? You would benefit heavily from supporting them, I once had noise induced pain and it took 10 months or so to go away 99%. I still worry it could come back
       
    13. MSF

      MSF Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Music events/drums
      Exactly as I describe--with increasing listening time, the ears start to feel tired, like they can't hear all frequencies as clearly. This happens to anyone, but happens more frequently for me over much shorter times periods.

      I'm not sure. I was also in a loud work situation for a few months that I think exacerbated things and so I am now recovering from that, but other things like loud baby sounds are unavoidable, so there's never going to be perfect "healing" environment. I do know though that the pain is only temporary though, so that is reassurance enough for the most part.

      yes, I think everyone who has H is familiar with this!

      How does one support them? That's great to hear that you have been able to reduce your noise-pain!
       
    14. Contrast
      No Mood

      Contrast Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      in a better place
      Tinnitus Since:
      late 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise injury
      no some people call noises sounding "too loud" as hyperacusis, but they don't experience pain.

      The two conditions or subtypes get confused as one.

      https://www.masseyeandear.org/online-donation-form
      and mention in the comment hyperacusis with pain in the Donations options comments box


      Also one more thing when your pain hyperacusis started was it much worse on onset?
       
    15. MSF

      MSF Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Music events/drums
      Ah, ok. Yes, I forget that they are separate symptoms.

      Yes, I think the pain was initially worse. These days it doesn't seem quite as bad but I also have become used to it so the relative pain level might seem less even if it's the same. I have also noticed that even quieter sounds are more likely to create minor ache now. In general though, and as a musician, I am more conscious/aware of the "full ear" feeling since that is when my actual hearing feels altered.
       
    16. Contrast
      No Mood

      Contrast Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      in a better place
      Tinnitus Since:
      late 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise injury
      you noticed worsening here.

      That wasn't my case, sorry about your issue.

      I'm trying to figure out why some hyperacusis cases get better and others don't.
       
    17. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      James S.

      James S. Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Mixing Music
      Figured I'd post an update.

      Early March I noticed a pretty big improvement of my symptoms. The faint ringing went away and sounds weren't bothering me anymore. Back to normal? No. I still have eustachian tube issues: occasional crackling when moving jaw etc. And still have dull pain that comes and goes. I can listen to music with headphones but I haven't tried for prolonged periods.

      One strange thing I discovered is when I get out of shower and am drying my ears if I pull on by ear it makes a cracking sound (which turns out to be a popping sound when heard by someone else). I starting doing this regularly because it sort of felt like it relieved my ears but I have since stopped because it didn't feel like a natural thing to do. Maybe someone knows what this is? Here's a video of what's happening if anyone's curious (NOT me in the video).
       
    18. Digital Doc

      Digital Doc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise induced
      I do not know what that is in the video.

      However, thanks for the update, and glad you are doing better.
       
    19. JohnAdams
      Festive

      JohnAdams Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Vatican
      Tinnitus Since:
      May 1st 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Aspirin Toxicity/Possibly Noise
      music sucks.
       
    20. fade2black244
      Inspired

      fade2black244 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      TX
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/24/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced
      Instruments suck too.
       
    21. Strife_84
      Energetic

      Strife_84 Member

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Mixing music for long hours and too loud I guess.
      I damaged my hearing in the same way as you did. I mixed music with headphones too long. It probably was the high frequency content that did my ears, mixing and eq:ing synths and hihats. Of course there has been too much volume, but I also did long hours.

      Now I've been almost month without music. No headphones, not even from speakers.

      I have very similar symptoms what you described. It feels like my ears are fatigued, tired, dull and lifeless and certain Frequencies really feel bad to my ear.

      In the future, if I can make music again, I will do everything differently...

      And most likely give up mixing my own tracks. It sucks because I actually like mixing and learning new techniques. That's why I busted my ears. I got some new plugins, and was super excited working with them and then I suddenly noticed that there is ringing in my ears. I lost myself into the world of music...
       
    22. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      James S.

      James S. Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Mixing Music
      @Strife_84 how are you progressing?

      I was hoping I wouldn't have to visit this forum again but unfortunately I had a pretty nasty setback recently. In early August I was feeling nearly back to 100% although I was still being quite careful about noise exposure. In late Sep to mid Oct I guess I subjected myself to a series noise insults (wearing headphones for music production, going to a concert with shitty ear protection, loud bars). I'm not sure what is wrong with me because it doesn't quite fit the box of hyperacusis, although I suspect that's probably what it is. My ears (one is worse) is just in constant pain, tightness, achey etc. It feels like an old fashioned ear ache but concentrated deep in the ear. I suppose I'm sensitive to certain sounds (high pitched sounds like car brakes, etc.) but generally speaking sounds aren't really bothering me. It's just this constant PAIN. It feels like there must be a stretch or maneuver that could release all this pain (but I haven't discovered it). It doesn't feel like eustachian tube issue which I've had before.

      I'm trying to take my mind off of it and relax but the pain is pretty nasty. My worse ear has a bit of tinnitus too, faint but there. Tylenol helps a bit but pain not going away. It's been about 3-4 weeks of this.

      Anyone have any thoughts? I am making another ENT appointment with low-non existent expectations.
       
    23. Juan

      Juan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      If you continue exposing your ears to concerts, loud bars, etc you will end up with chronic hearing problems, and maybe hyperacusis and constant tinnitus.
       

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