Ears Tense Up in Reaction to Certain Sounds: Is This Hyperacusis?

Discussion in 'Support' started by AaronArchon, Mar 22, 2024.

    1. AaronArchon
      Depressed

      AaronArchon Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Long term exposure to loud sounds (headphones)
      First of all, hi. This is my first post here after being a long-time lurker.

      I just wanted to throw this question out there to anyone who might be able to help, since I can't find anything conclusive on Google.

      In December, my family and I decided to go see Godzilla Minus One in the theater. I've been to this theater before so I didn't feel the need to wear ear protection, since I haven't needed it in the past (the last movie I saw was in 2022). But during the movie I noticed it was unbelievably loud, I couldn't stand it, I had to plug my ears.

      I was fine leaving the theater, but a week later, I woke up with what I assumed was hyperacusis, but it didn't match what I read online. Everything sounds the same, my voice isn't distorted, everything is the same volume, but my ears "tense up" to certain sounds, like my keyboard clicking, tapping a pen on my glass desk. They feel full, if that makes sense.

      Since this happened so long after the movie, I've been wondering if it's not related. I have high blood pressure, and I'm likely diabetic, and I've heard those can cause problems with the ears.

      It's really scaring me, to be honest, I'd like to hear some opinions :(
       
    2. AverageJoe12

      AverageJoe12 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Washington DC, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2023
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      A night club in Feb ‘23, drummer since 15 years old
      The tension can be tonic tensor tympani syndrome (TTTS). Unchecked tension can lead to a whole host of nasty symptoms like the fullness you describe. You can try a muscle relaxer or a high dose of Magnesium Glycinate and see if that gives you some relief.
       
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    3. RunningMan
      Stressed

      RunningMan Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      HiFrq ~2000, Increased 2022, LoFrq ~2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise - clubs, stereos, cycles, headphones, engines,etc
      Yes, it sounds like TTTS. I experience that with fluttering or thumping of the eardrum in one ear at a time, sometimes to sounds like voices and typing, sometimes spontaneous thumps without a sound stimulus.

      There's some discussion about TTTS in this newer thread:

      My Journey from Tinnitus to Hyperacusis to now TTTS
       
      • Like Like x 2
    4. momus

      momus Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/1998
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      antibiotics
      Yes, super loud theaters are probably responsible for people getting tinnitus and hyperacusis. They really should warn people, and I'm surprised they don't get sued because the EPA and OSHA do have mandated legal limits to sound exposure that businesses must adhere to.

      Just don't do anything to add to your present state. If noise somewhere is too loud, leave until you can return w/ ear protection. If it means not going to see a band or hear music somewhere, that's fine, don't go. You have to take charge of the sound levels around you.

      A few years ago the wife and I went to Bourbon St in New Orleans, and the music was so loud in the bars and clubs that we couldn't go to any of them. I used to live there and knew of a place that had acoustic jazz, so that turned out to be tolerable. The hard part was staying up to 2-3 AM to hear it because that was what time they started :-]
       
      • Agree Agree x 3
    5. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Hi @AaronArchon.

      Welcome to Tinnitus Talk. I am sorry to know that you are having a difficult time with hyperacusis at the moment.

      I see that you have had noise-induced tinnitus since 2015. This type of tinnitus will usually improve with time, but a lot depends on its initial severity and whether or not you have had treatment for it and the hyperacusis. Equally important is the lifestyle one chooses to follow after developing noise-induced tinnitus.

      Many people do not realize that exposure to loud noise and noise-induced tinnitus, with or without hyperacusis, do not go well together. If you have been listening to audio through headphones, earbuds, headsets, noise-canceling, or bone-conduction headphones, even at low volume, then this could be an indication of why your tinnitus and, particularly, the hyperacusis is giving you problems.

      I understand your reasons for wanting to go out with the family to watch a movie at the theatre. However, such an environment for someone with noise-induced tinnitus can be risky, even when wearing earplugs. If the external sound is loud enough, it will pass through the head, transfer to the inner ear, and spike the tinnitus. The effects may not be immediate but could become noticeable over the course of a few days or a week or two. Believe me, I know whereof I speak because this has happened to me and to people I have corresponded with and counseled with noise-induced tinnitus.

      In a movie theatre, one has to remember that the sound is often loud, and it reflects off the walls, ceiling, and floor. One is really putting oneself at risk of their tinnitus and hyperacusis worsening. Sorry to sound so sobering.

      Based on my experience with noise-induced tinnitus and hyperacusis, I believe your problems stem from exposure to loud sounds that you haven't been aware of. If you have been listening to audio through any type of headphones, then this reinforces my suspicions.

      I advise you to try and stop reading about tinnitus and hyperacusis online. More about this is explained in my thread: Keeping Things Simple with Tinnitus, which I advise you to print.

      All is not lost. There is a way through this and you can improve. For this to happen, you will have to change your lifestyle, and you may need to seek professional treatment with an audiologist that specializes in tinnitus and hyperacusis management, although self-help may suffice. Please go to my started threads and print, then take your time and read the posts below:

      New to Tinnitus, What to Do? Will My Tinnitus Get Worse? Can I Habituate to Variable Tinnitus? How to Habituate to Tinnitus, The Habituation Process, Hyperacusis, as I See It.

      All the best,
      Michael

      Keeping Things Simple with Tinnitus | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
       
    6. Jupiterman

      Jupiterman Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sudden loud noise
      May I ask why you have given this advice?
       
      • Good Question Good Question x 1
    7. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Indeed you may @Jupiterman.

      I have given a full explanation of the reasons why I believe it's not good to read too much information online about tinnitus and hyperacusis in my thread: Keeping Things Simple with Tinnitus. I will give you a brief synopsis.

      Tinnitus, and to some extent hyperacusis, are an integral part of a person's mental and emotional well-being and cannot be separated from it. Stress can make these conditions worse; tinnitus and hyperacusis can make stress worse. If one isn't careful, one can easily find oneself slipping into a vortex of confusion and discontent from reading too much information online about tinnitus and hyperacusis because a lot of it is not only misleading but also negative, which, again, isn't good for a person's mental health.

      This can be particularly damaging when a person is new to tinnitus and hyperacusis, or is receiving treatment for these conditions. Reading the wrong kind of information can delay or completely stop the habituation process if one isn't careful. I have often read posts where an individual is convinced there is no hope for them and their future is one of pure doom and gloom.

      In addition, there is the tendency for an individual to self-diagnose without being examined by an ENT. In my view, such a practice can be highly detrimental to a person's mental and emotional well-being.

      Please read: Keeping Things Simple with Tinnitus.

      Michael
       
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    8. Audigo

      Audigo Member

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2023
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stress
      That's how my hyperacusis and tinnitus started, and I still do not know what exactly happened to me or my ears.

      It all started with muscle contractions in my middle ear to some sounds—coins, keys, dishes, etc. In the beginning, there was no tinnitus or hyperacusis. In the following weeks, everything got incredibly worse, to the point that I needed ear protection for everything.

      Many tinnitus tones appeared in both ears—some of them super weird (one sounded like a frog, another like a pigeon singing). The muscles in my ears reacted heavily to everything. Tapping on my phone was unbearable.

      After 2-3 months, I improved drastically in 10 days. Most of the tinnitus tones disappeared completely, but 1-2 stayed and got 90% lower in volume. Since then, I have had many ups and downs, but they are always manageable.

      Until today, I had no clue if things really sounded louder to me or if the muscle reactions to every little sound were so strong that I couldn't stand them.

      Distraction and well-being have always had a big influence on my symptoms. On some sunny days in the summer, I was so distracted from my ears that the symptoms magically disappeared. It sounds weird, but that's what happened.

      My theory is—and I'm definitely not sure about that—that the muscles in the middle ear can become so overactive that they cause symptoms that feel like hyperacusis without a problem in the inner ear.

      What backs up my theory is that I found evidence on the Internet that a tenotomy of those muscles completely cured people’s hyperacusis.
       
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    9. Travis Henry
      Cynical

      Travis Henry Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Dallas,TX
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      1 Moderna Vac, Noise and stress I guess, its killing me
      Dude, you are a troll. Please do something with your life instead of spouting off bullshit sound therapy & advice.

      Please start telling anyone who has unstable tinnitus to retreat to quiet and stop all sound exposure.

      Reading your bullshit advice helped send me to the grave. Thanks. You have blood all over your hands, along with other drug and sound therapy pushers.
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
    10. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Please do not address me as dude. I answer to the name Michael Leigh on the Internet. I would also appreciate it if you refrain from using profanity or any bad language should you alert me again. If you do, then I will not respond.

      I am sorry to hear about your discomfort, but I am not to blame for that. I have received positive feedback from the many people I have helped with noise-induced tinnitus and hyperacusis. This is the same advice that most audiologists and hearing therapists give to tinnitus patients with or without hyperacusis.

      While I welcome any advance in research and treatments for tinnitus, the fact is that most treatments for noise-induced tinnitus and hyperacusis are hearing aids and sound therapy, which can include white noise generators, medication, and counseling. A person can have one or a combination of these treatments.

      Good day,
      Michael
       
      • Funny Funny x 3
      • Like Like x 1
    11. AnthonyMcDonald
      Confused

      AnthonyMcDonald Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      For every person you've helped you've damaged at least 10 more. Following your advice in the beginning was what led to my catastrophic worsening. I honestly don't know why you are allowed to post here.
       
      • Agree Agree x 3
    12. Travis Henry
      Cynical

      Travis Henry Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Dallas,TX
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      1 Moderna Vac, Noise and stress I guess, its killing me
      Yeah, you push all the same shit that worthless ENTs push. The same old "keep walking on a broken leg to fix it" bull corn.

      Do you realize tinnitus has no limit? And that you shouldn't put more sound into a damaged auditory system? Do you realize that time, quiet, and rest are best, especially for a freshly damaged auditory system?

      If you welcomed advances, you would be listening to the patients who have lost more of their lives or committed suicide because of TRT, hearing aid, and benzo pushers like yourself.

      Are you Jastreboff himself? Do you think people who don't get better are just doing it for attention and money like he does?

      Why are you allowed to preach such damaging advice? If anyone new is reading this, please don't listen to @Michael Leigh. Rest your ears.

      There is blood on your hands. You and @R. David Case are classic cases of mild cases giving stupid, damaging advice.
       
      • Agree Agree x 3
    13. Pinhead
      Dead

      Pinhead Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I would definitely avoid loud noise. Don't overexpose. Rest and eat well.

      I've also had bouts of this exact thing, and it's happened after movies or concerts. It's like the muscles are overworked.
       
    14. HighleyTall
      In pain

      HighleyTall Member

      Location:
      Belgium
      Tinnitus Since:
      5/2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      monitor noise trauma at gig
      Normal sounds are harmless, they said. Maybe for healthy ears, definitely not for broken ears. Whenever you feel uncomfortable with a sound, you went over the limit, and damage is done. I'm pretty sure of this after 20 years of 'experience'.

      I read a study some time ago in which sound levels were measured in a dentist's cabinet. They didn't seem to exceed 80 dB (considered safe), but the dentist still had tinnitus.

      Besides, how do you measure the level for the patient? In his mouth? It is not possible.

      I was a wreck after a dentist's visit.
       
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